Dive Bar Explorer: Bimini Bay Bar in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is known for having a dodgy past. Strip-clubs galore, topless donut shops, topless car washes, the bar that invented the body shot, and the notorious Bimini Bay Bar. Voted as 2012 Best Bar to Scare Visiting Friends and 2011 Best Hole in the Wall, we figured it would be the best first stop on any South Florida dive bar tour.
Unfortunately, like the rest of the city, the dive has cleaned up a bit from its old Fort Lauderdale past, but, for the most part, it's still as divey as ever.
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For years, Bimini Bay Bar was way off the Fort Lauderdale drinking path. Hidden in an industrial area just off Andrews Ave., it was a truly insider's dive: no sign and a peephole in the door. For years, we heard rumors of ping pong balls--yes, of the sex show variety--old strippers picking up beer cans and dollar bills with their breasts, and all things nefarious.
We arrived on a Tuesday night, with out-of-towners and first-timers in tow: two Swedes, an Irishman, two American women. Only myself and an American male friend had any idea what was in store. Upon entering the dark smoke-filled bar, one could not help but notice the visuals on the TV's--porn, lots of porn. Jaws dropped, the first-timers couldn't figure out whether to look away or embrace it.
We ordered some beer. The spiritless bar has upped its offering to include wine and sake: recent improvements to the former beer only collection. However, credit cards are still off limits. As we sat chatting away, one of the Swedes awkwardly stared at the T.V. screens--the draw of the three women with donning strap-ons too distracting to turn away. The rest of us tried to engage in semi-normal conversation, while purposely making intense direct eye-contact.
Our bartender Brittany, referred to as "hottie" by one of the regulars, attentively kept an eye on our beers and bantered back and forth. She was so friendly and attractive, my male American friend, who had played many times before was too embarrassed to ask her about Cooter Ball: the game in which bartenders place an ash-tray between their legs and allow patrons to throw crumpled up dollar bills in for a chance at a free beer. Instead he asked another guy behind the bar, "No more Cooter Ball," he said, "They're not allowed."
My friend claimed that years ago, when he asked to play, the bartender walked into the bathroom, put on a fake vagina, and sat down with an ashtray between her legs. According to him, "The fake vagina looked realistic for as dark as it always is and as drunk as everyone was." At that time the same guy--possibly the owner--excitedly explained that because it was a fake vagina, "They can't shut us down." Apparently, even fake vaginas are off limits these days.
Brittany's shift was just about over. As the next bartender came on, Brittany said goodbye to the bar, and pulled out her breasts.Finally -- at least there was a slight semblance of the old Bimini Bay Bar. She came over to our group and bought the girls a round of sake shots, saying, "Cheers!"
Hey, where else can you get a friendly smile and some jaw-dropping sights?
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