It's got the posh bistro ambiance, and the bar looks like it was transported from the Sideways set, but don't worry: This place isn't just for wine snobs. The owner, Danish-born Per Jacobsen, makes sure of that. He's a first-rate host who knows his wine and is happy to impart his knowledge and vast selection of vino to all comers, whether they be Miles Raymond (the aficionado played by Paul Giamatti in the aforementioned flick) or Six Pack Joe. And when Per isn't there to guide you, the rest of the staff gives you that rare commodity in South Florida: fine service. As for the goods, well, the markups on the bottles aren't all that bad (you can get a bottle of 1997 Barolo that retails for about $35 for $59). But let's face it, when you're talking about wine bars, you have to be ready to plunk down some dough, especially if you plan to eat (first-rate cuisine) and drink until your soul is good and merry. And Vienna is the place to do that.
Five dollars an hour is the rate for quality pool at this downtown Fort Lauderdale hot spot. The joint has been open only since September, and the equipment has weathered well: cues straighter than the missionary position, balls yet to be pock-chipped with wear. The black felt carrying the huge Jack Daniels logo is so slick and debris-free that your shots feel almost too straight, too true, for bar tables. Rack 'em and crack 'em until late at night, when the striped-shirt hounds come to drool over swishing tail, the tables get covered with black tops, and zaftig, nubile, female bartenders grind atop them. As you take a free shot of liquor from between their bosoms, you may forgive yourself for being a letch instead of a sportsman, for while the billiards tables may be taken, there's always pocket pool.
Anyone with sniper-precise dart-throwing aim can tell you the three requirements needed for a good dart joint: cheap beer, a laid-back crowd, and a jukebox with tunes circa 1996. Jester's, a dark, unpretentious place with wood-paneled walls and leather barstools scuffed and worn with love, meets all three. You won't get any fancy imported beers here, but if 7-Eleven carries it, so does Jester's. The crowd is neighborly and relaxed. And if the jukebox is any indication, Chris Cornell still belts out lyrics for Soundgarden. Best yet, Jester's is open until 4 a.m. every night. Add to that mix a dozen traditional and electronic dart boards and you've got yourself one righteous place to hurl scalpel-sharp objects. The Jester's dart league plays Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. Ask for Rosie if you want to compete.
Blondie's is the kind of beachfront establishment where you could do a lot of things: You could meet some lonely out-of-towners looking for a one-night friend, you could strike up a game of pool on one of ten tables, you could even sit down for a long talk with a friend and both get drunk on beer or booze for less than 30 bucks. But, tucked away among the Ms. Pac-Man and the air hockey, a lone Monopoly pinball machine offers something unique. And, as gamers well know, pinball is pretty hard to come by. While you're pumping quarters and flipping nubs at the little metal ball, you might look up at the Monopoly sign and remember friends from days past with whom you played that game. You might recall how much you liked to be the shoe or the thimble, how nice it was to collect $200 as you passed go, or how hard you bilked your friends when they landed on your Park Place with a hotel. Ah, the good old days. Then you can amble back to the bar, crack a cold one, and wonder what they're doing now.
This wood-beamed bar in the lobby of the Yankee Clipper resembles the galley of a large ship. But the sea life that swims past the large window behind the bar is not the kind you'd find at the bottom of the ocean. Not even close. It's people, which is less shocking than, say, finding out that Soylent Green is people. But it's still pretty interesting to watch the human form wriggle in a foreign medium while you suck down one of the bar's daily signature cocktail specials ($5.50), like the Wreck Blue Waters with vodka, blue curacao, triple sec, and sour mix. The Wreck Bar is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and closes at 2:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Live Jimmy Buffett-style music Thursday through Saturday brings the chill, poolside ambience right over the top.
On the map of gay clubs in the Fort Lauderdale area, Chase is the new dot, but it's a little different. Though the atmosphere has the look of an upscale venue -- with large screens showing dance videos, the standard central bar, and DJs setting up and spinning in the back of the room -- the comfortable couches in the back entice the body to kick back with an almost bohemian flair as the scene swirls around you. And when we say "swirl," we mean Monday night's Brazilian Night Carnaval party with flashes of color, dancing, music, and men all mixed up in a kaleidoscope of party. Located next to Sage French restaurant, it's the perfect place to take drinks after dinner. With weekly specials like Wednesday night's $3 Absolut martinis and In the Biz specials most days of the week, Chase is sure to last.
You can watch a ball game anywhere, and sure, most places have drinks and vittles, but All Stars really knows how to blend. This establishment's two party locations have central bars with the kind of open conversation you'd find in a dive bar mixed with the kind of well-dressed, attractive crowd you'd find in a nightclub. They're creative with the bar food, offering mouth teasers like chicken satay ($6.95), grilled chicken skewers in peanut sauce, and buffalo shrimp ($11.95). Both locations have corners with comfortable couches where you can mingle on the clubs' Wednesday and Friday ladies' nights (women drink free). Saturday night is an all-out dance party. Sundays, it's time to get competitive with Ping-Pong tournaments and free pool all day long. And, oh yeah, the place is loaded with television sets that can be tuned to meet any sports lover's needs.
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.

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