A bar without $12 cocktails, iPads, or valet parking is a rarity these days in South Florida. So Grady’s Bar and Grill — a family-owned Fort Lauderdale watering hole that hasn't gotten fancy since opening 76 years ago — is special. But as the Real Deal reported yesterday, the bar and surrounding property (which includes three commercial buildings on four parcels) have been sold to developers.
Steve Hyatt of Berger Commercial Realty represented the sellers. He told New Times that the new owners intended to "renovate the bar and come up with a new concept to appeal to the 3,500 new people moving
But don't worry, says Toula Lazarou-
“I own restaurants, not condos,”
But the name must change.
“It will be Bar and Grill,"
The Sun Sentinel reports that Grady Copeland had hitchhiked from Georgia to Fort Lauderdale on the back of a vegetable truck in 1933 and bought the property on which Grady's
Copeland has since died. So has his son, William, so now Copeland’s daughter Judy More runs the business. As rents increased and new luxury condos sprouted up downtown, Grady’s became a refuge, a tiny piece of old Fort Lauderdale seemingly immune to the times.
Grady’s is simple, a no-frills dive with the most interesting patrons — typically with a weathered Fort Lauderdale look, lost under a cloud of Marlboro smoke and sipping on a Bud Lite. Bartenders are on a first-name basis with most people curled around the bar. It has a wooden porch, drop ceilings, fake-wood paneling, and cigarette machines. Its jukebox has songs that haven’t aired on the radio in decades. It's unpretentious, and no one is afraid to break out dancing by the pool table. It's dingy but clean, affordable —and endearingly, cash only.
We crowned the place best neighborhood bar in Fort Lauderdale back in 2006. When we went on the hunt for a one-dollar beer in South Florida in 2013, we were surprised not to find it at Grady’s. But we did find some of the most interesting folks in South Florida — the types who would never dream of setting foot in a luxury condo or retail shop.
It’s hard not to meet anyone from Fort Lauderdale who doesn’t have a Grady’s story.
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On Facebook this morning, Max Woods wrote upon hearing the news: “I literally saw a guy get killed in this place. I'll never forget it. Other than that... One of the true dive bars in Ft Lauderdale. Ahhh the memories. Lol.”
John Duffy wrote: “I made an emergency
Debra Anne Fender called it her “Home away from home.”
RIP, Grady's. Welcome, Bar and Grill.