Best Salsa Club 2005 | Spice Resto-Lounge | Nightlife | South Florida
As long as Hollywood doesn't roll back the hours of operation for downtown clubs, house band Exito will continue to bring in feverishly dancing crowds each and every night until 4 a.m. And we're talking crowds as in crowded -- unlike Zombie, the space's former occupant, Spice is anything but comatose. Especially on weekends, when the room threatens to ignite turbo-thrusters and blast off into outer space. Owner Artie Batista has decorated the, uh, resto-lounge with a dimly lighted, romantic flair that could get the place mistaken for the set of a lingerie or perfume commercial. The VIP lounge is pretty unnecessary (this ain't South Beach), though it's more affordable than its hipper counterparts. But you don't need to be a VIP to grab a mojito and stare at the delectable assortment of gorgeous Latina hotties in flattering eveningwear. After all, everyone else is doing it.
Though Miami practically dictates the electronic scene with labels like Schematic and acts like Phoenicia and Push Button Objects, Fort Lauderdale now has a more diversified imprint to level the playing field. Audio Thrift Shop Records, the brainchild of Broward native Jasper Delaini, echoes the eclectic tastes and leftfield impetus of its founder. A pop culture-fed b-boy indebted to Sonic Youth as much as Stetasonic, the 24-year-old Delaini has put together a roster that veers from the alt hip-hop of his own Secondhand Outfit to Hoor Paar Kraat, artist Anthony Mangicapra's noise collage project. With recent signings like punk stylists the Leftoverz, along with the new showcase night Rock Bottom at the Fort Lauderdale Saloon, Audio Thrift Shop continues to indulge Delaini's freeform ways while proving his artistic aptitude. Keep up the dirty work, Jasper.
So the WASPY fastidiousness of Palm Beach doesn't exactly add up to a Wonderland for your down-the-rabbit-hole psychedelic adventures. That just makes the Peace Tree all the trippier. Situated behind the Sea Gull Cottage -- Palm Beach's oldest house, built in 1886 -- just south of the Flagler Museum, the Peace Tree stretches to 50 feet overhead, shading the Lake Trail and the nearby shores of the Intracoastal. One look at the funky foliage will send herbally stimulated heads spinning: bulbous, sinewy, and surreally shaped, it looks as if it might've dropped from a passing meteor and landed where it stands with a gushy splat. Or it could've erupted from the earth like a pulpy volcano, freezing in this alien-tentacled formation over the course of a zillion years. Either way, the tree is really big and very, very weird. (For the record, it's called a kapok tree, and it's at least 115 years old.) Take a seat on the bench beneath its undulating branches, gaze out over the water, make sure no PBPD are nearby, and get peaceful. And pass that shit this way, bro.
You gotta love a bar that has a "Banshee Room." Brogue's not only has one but uses it to host private parties as well as community functions like mayoral debates. Brogue's is the place you go, sunburnt and happy, on the way back from the beach to kill a drunken afternoon. It's the place you go because your friend's band is playing its third gig ever in the window. It's the place you hit when you crave a hearty shepherd's pie or just want to meet your buddies, sit at an outside table, and shoot the breeze on a balmy night. The clean, high-ceilinged, wood-paneled drinking establishment starts showing international soccer games at 9:30 a.m. Sundays and serves a mean pint ($4 for a Guinness before 7 p.m., $5.25 after) any time. There's no cover and no need to explain how to get here -- just look for the crowd spilling out onto Lake Worth's main drag.
Posh Lounge is a full-service liquor and wine bar that sits in the lobby of the Waverly building. The Charlie Chaplin Martini, like some of its other signature cocktails, is named after the dog of one of the residents. The tall glass holds part Stoli Razberri vodka, part Godiva White, and part Chambord, with a splash of cream. The light-pink concoction looks like a thin milkshake. But beware. It clouds your senses with each delicate sip. This heady sensation whets the appetite for fun, which could lead you to puff a hookah at a table near the bar or relax outdoors, where the barkeeps sometimes light a fire. Chaplin costs $13.
You need a place where everybody knows your name... and they say it in an endearing British accent. This cozy pub draws a random crowd of old Brits, indie rockers, surfers, and dirty athletes who just finished playing rugby. Got an obscure beer you love? The friendly staff will order it for ya. (They sell only one domestic -- a $2 Imperial; imports cost $3.85 for a 20-ounce draft.) Got a CD you want to hear? They'll put it on. Got a dog? He can come with you and hang at the outside table. Marty Crompton, the landlady (that's a female-connotated term for proprietor) chose the Lion & Eagle as mascots to represent the U.K. and the U.S. Last month, she was inviting everybody she talked to during a road trip to Cape Canaveral to watch the space shuttle launch to visit the Lion & Eagle and celebrate her birthday. She is careful to point out, "It's not a bar. It's a pub. That's an abbreviation for public house -- and I'm opening my house to you."

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of