Best Dance Club 2005 | MIA Lounge | Nightlife | South Florida
Hitting the dance floor on a Monday night is a pleasure akin to eating dessert before dinner. It's naughty, and you're not really supposed to do it, but that's part of what makes the weekly party at MIA Lounge so much fun. Yes, only part of a recipe that includes free dinner for women and, of course, the house and trance sounds of resident DJ Edgar V., who opens for Paul Van Dyke when the famous East German DJ drops by. As Monday night progresses, MIA Lounge transforms from a restaurant with a happy hour atmosphere to a full-blown dance club where the crowd, dressed in crisp shirts and short skirts, moves the party to the dance floor upstairs. And that's not all. There's hip-hop in the adjoining Sushi Room.
The lyrics "A singer in a smoky room/A smell of wine and cheap perfume" from Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" offer an appropriate description of what you'll find at the foot of the large stage on a Monday or Tuesday night at Boom nightclub. Long, black curtains frame the wall-sized mirror behind the stage that reflects the fleeting glory of karaoke-obsessed clubgoers. From the gifted to the talent-free, sign up to perform with flair, belting lyrics that are projected on walls around the room. You can sing along if you're so inclined, or you can jump over to the bar for a little drinkie or five -- whatever it takes to get you up on that stage. And what a selection of karaoke ops! You can choose anything from the "Brick House" standard fare to select tunes like Duran Duran's "Girls on Film," 50 Cent's "P.I.M.P," Reba McEntire's "Fancy," and even Radiohead's "Go to Sleep."
Location, location, location. Oh yeah, and a few other things, like live Latin music and $6 mojitos make Samba Room the hot spot in which to unwind after a long day of white-collar work. The restaurant and lounge with inviting patio furniture in the heart of Fort Lauderdale's downtown cuts its already reasonable drink prices in half between 4 and 7 p.m. What that means is Sangria for $2.50, a Melon Drop with Ketel One Citroen Vodka for $3.75, or a Key Lime Margarita with Sauza Gold Tequila and Key West lime juice for $3.75. Wednesday night is "Ladies Night Out," when women drink free from 6 to 7:30 p.m. It's a small window but well worth squeezing into.
Bradley's is kind of like a fraternity house for guys who've been out of college for ten years. The beer still flows, and the hot chicks still stop by. The only difference is that now these former slackers have a few bucks to blow, and blow it they do, on happy-hour specials from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. each weekday. A complimentary buffet and Intracoastal water views make this a sweet hangout and a prime place to bust out your toga.
Las Olas' popular bar and eatery Big City Tavern is a moody establishment where it's engaging to sip a cocktail and mingle. But as the night wears on, even though you've made new friends, your stomach starts to scream for nourishment. Not to worry, Big City Tavern offers up the likes of spinach salad with grilled chicken, warm bacon vinaigrette, Gruyère, red potatoes, and red onion for $11.50. If that doesn't hit the spot, try grilled chicken, bamboo skewered, with salsa and tortilla chips for $8.95. Pizza Salsice with sausage, tomato, and mozzarella for $10.95 will stave off the ill effects of your boozing. Or you could go for just the plain old Big City Burger with fries and cole slaw for $9.95. Once you've recollected your senses, you have the option of heightening them with the Tavern Chocolate Cake served with whipped cream, créme anglaise, and fresh fruit for $7.
Some guy named Sonny -- who's rockin' a silver pompadour -- owns and runs this honky-tonk joint. It has old country songs on the jukebox, including tunes from Sonny's old band (which used to open for Patsy Cline and Rod Stewart). They have a guard rail along the dance floor in case the line dancers get too outta hand, and they're starting to book rock shows once a month. They don't carry draft beer, but a bottle of Bud is a fair $2.75. If you're real nice to Sonny, you can keep that bottle cold by borrowing one of the koozies he keeps under the bar.
No, not that kind of head, wishful reader. We're talking suds, hops, brew, ale, lager, the nectar of life. But as for that other kind, Sofa Kings isn't the worst place to dream of it. It's a place where testosterone is free to roam and a man can, for one shining moment, still be a man. This place is a fantasy come true for every dirty, boorish, superior, lecherous, sports-watching man. The Everyman, as it were. Picture it: You sit on a big leather sofa, watch your favorite team on about 50 televisions, drink three-dollar drafts to your heart's content, play pool, and, oh yeah, watch young women in short, plaid, Catholic-school-girl skirts shake their moneymakers in your face. And when they aren't dancing for you, they might just start grinding it with each other. This isn't a bar; it's freakin' nirvana, working-class style. But if you're looking for a real good time, fuhgeddaboudit. As the owners of the place describe it, Sofa Kings is R-rated, not Triple X. After a lot of beer, a good game, and a few dollars placed in willing G-strings, the Everyman may be ready for a little more. It don't happen, folks, but a guy can dream.
A quick three-step guide to first dating: First and foremost, you're going to have to face the fact that you're not getting laid, so just scratch those devious thoughts from your raunchy little mind. Next, if there is any hope, nothing is going to lubricate the gears of love faster then a few adult beverages, so start drinking heavily. And most important, despite what you've been led to believe, you're really not all that interesting -- in fact, you're most likely downright boring. So you're going to need to find an activity that doesn't require you to actually talk. That's what makes Dave and Buster's the perfect place to spend time with someone who's most likely never going to talk to you again. First, you can try their signature drink, the Million Dollar Margarita, which actually costs only $8. After that, dine from a diverse menu that includes dishes like a hearty mesquite peppered rib-eye steak for $18.99 and Huli Huli salmon for $13.48. Then you can head down to the Million Dollar Midway to entertain your date with cutting-edge and classic video games, virtual reality simulators, or one of more than 60 games of skill. Each game costs as much as $2.25, so it can get a little pricey. But that's OK. Who knows what the future holds. The place is open until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, so you'll have plenty of time to work the mojo.
It's a late Tuesday evening, and there's a vague apocalyptic feeling to this place, which hunkers on the edge of the cane fields. It's on the edge of nowhere. It invites disconnection. An over-the-hill cowboy, dressed in white hat, spangled belt and jeans, is massacring a George Jones song at the karaoke machine. He's in full beer-weave, and his voice sounds like he flossed his throat with barbed wire. A winsome blond watches with her man at a nearby table. She slips her hand up the back of his shirt. He does likewise to her. They sip whiskey Cokes with their free hands. It's men's night, as it always is on Tuesdays, which means two-for-one mixed drinks, $1 drafts, and $5 pitchers all night long (maybe you should think about sleeping in the car tonight and avoiding that long, bleary drive home). But then, it's almost always happy hour at Boonies, with the same deal seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. And just for good measure, it's ladies' night on Mondays. "We're from the country, and we like it that way," sings a chubby, short guy now at the mic. The drunk cowboy has staggered back to the bar, tweaking the barmaid's bottom along the way. "He stopped lovin' her... today," he croaks. He burps loudly, then fetches a healthy pinch of snuff from his tin. Time stands still.
Two questions: Did you ever wonder about all those freaky old buildings along the New River? Have you ever had the dilemma of trying to figure out what to do when it's Friday night, happy hour is over, and you don't want to go home? Well, there's one answer to both questions, and that's the Ghosts, Mysteries, and Legends Tour, which is right around the corner from Fort Lauderdale's most popular drinking establishments. The well-researched 60- to 90-minute tour leaves from Sixth Avenue and Las Olas near Riverfront and gives you the skinny on the former inhabitants of the Stranahan House and the Cooley Hammock Massacre, among other topics. It's like a field trip for adults, and you're the sloshed class clown who's gonna jump out from behind the bushes to give everyone an extra scare. The tour leaves at 8 p.m. and costs $15 for adults and $10 for children, who should not drink beforehand.

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