Tired of scratching in your quest for a spot to play some serious pool? Chalk that cue and head to Corner Pocket Billiards on Oakland Park Boulevard. The place boasts 10 pool tables and three billiards tables, beer, wine, and cheap rates and specials. It' s spacious, clean, and well-lit, and the professional tables have plenty of room between them for pool sharks to circle. On a weekday afternoon, Corner Pocket is a great place to pick up a trick or two from the scores of old gentlemen who look like they know what they're doing, but any time is a good time to have a drink, flaunt your jargon, and play a few games to try to prove you're the best ball-breaker in town.
The poolside bar might be one of the greatest inventions ever — what better place to imbibe than with the dripping wet and scantily clad? And there's something sexy, seductive, and sneaky about invading high-class resorts for an afternoon of luxury. As poolside bars go, Cascades is all that and a bag of chips. Chill with half-naked tourists around a massive pool, groove to island music while bartenders whip up strong concoctions, or grab a table on the boardwalk and enjoy a stunning ocean view. The bar also serves burgers and salads to enjoy alongside your fruity umbrella drink. Treat yourself to poolside margaritas and enjoy eyeful after spectacular eyeful of beach and bikini. You'll never go back to your neighborhood dive.
A pint of Guinness should be a little shorter and a little thicker than your forearm. If you're in England, it should be a little cooler than room temperature. In America it should be much colder, but still a little warmer than the other beers at the table. The beer should not appear creamy — the foam and the brew should be cleanly separated, with the foam forming a neat little corona, a little over an inch thick, at the very top of the glass. It is acceptable if some of this stuff should ooze over the glass's edge and soak your napkin. This is a sign of bounty, and it should be appreciated. In our experience, nobody can pour a Guinness as quickly, consistently, and perfectly as the fine folks at Maguire's.
It's hot, loud, and way too crowded. But would you expect anything less from a rock club? The Culture Room books an eclectic mix of bands. On any given week they might have David Allan Coe, the Misfits, Johnny Winter, a local group of hardcore rockers, and northern Europe's meanest-sounding death metal makers. What sets the Culture Room apart from the other hot and sweaty clubs around, though, isn't necessarily what goes on atop the large stage; it's the nice, refreshing atmosphere just outside the main concert room. If you don't care so much about seeing your favorite rock stars up close, in the flesh, you can still rock out a few feet away, under the beautiful Florida sky — and watch a video projection of the show while you sip a beer. Or if you're really hardcore, as you pound Jägermeister and break the bottle over your own head.
Hotels near the freeway aren't normally hot spots for salsa. But Coco Locos, on the second floor of the Ramada Inn on Marina Mile Boulevard, makes short work of skeptics. The Caribbean sounds that blare from the DJ booth can turn the shy footloose, and by midnight, everyone's on the hardwood dance floor under the raspberry- and lime-toned strobe light. Señoritas get in free before 11; those looking to learn salsa moves will find obliging gentlemen. And should you have too much to drink, or wish to have your next dance horizontal, you're already at a hotel.
A sports bar cannot be built on plasma TV screens alone, and the weight of its success cannot be shouldered by girls in orange short-shorts. Merely serving wings won't ensure success any more than kegs of Bud will. To be the best sports bar you need added value, maybe by mixing the sports with a lingerie show, or Wednesday night Wii competitions, or live music from bands such as Knuckle Busters and Rug Burn. Connolly's does all that, plus it offers darts and pool leagues four nights a week, serves the requisite bar food, and always has the game — NASCAR, baseball, whatever — on its 20 TVs. We also love that it's independently owned — by a chick, no less. A word to the wise in football season: At Connolly's, it helps to be a Steelers fan.
This Irish pub has lots going for it, with full-bodied beers like Guinness on tap and a full menu with comfort food like shepherd's pie. Drink enough pints while sitting in one of its dark corners and you might actually feel like you're visiting the Emerald Isle. But the real action is outside, on Waxy's covered front patio, where yachties — the captains and crews of those multi-million-dollar floating exuberances — hang when ashore. Why Waxy's? It's just always been that way, since the place opened in 1997. Its proximity to Port Everglades and several large marinas likely helps draw the international boat-hand crowd. Rugby and football matches on the telly help, too. And the breezy front porch is sailor heaven.
On Friday evenings starting at 5:30, the portholes at Wreck Bar in the Sheraton Yankee Clipper (91140 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale), become inhabited by a half-woman, half-fish named Marina. For 30 minutes at a time, she glides through the pool, eyes open, with perfect grace, a marvelous feat considering she's holding her breath and being assaulted by swimming pool chemicals. In the earthbound world, she's known as Marina Duran-Anderson.
NT: Where did this phenomenon of mermaids swimming over the bar come from?
It was popular in the '50s and '60s to have mermaids in a restaurant. It was this gimmick during the golden age of tourism. It's fallen out of fashion, but I'm a pop culture enthusiast. I love all things retro and kitsch.
So you decided you would bring back the mermaid?
Yes. I went [to Wreck Bar] and it was beautiful. It was untouched. I asked the manager, 'Do you have any mermaids?' He said 'No.' And I said, 'Have you considered it, because I would love to swim through those portholes.' He looked at me like I had a third eye, but he said, 'Go ahead.' What could I do? It had to be done.
Why aren't there any mermaids in B-movies?
There are! There are some really funky mermaids. She Creature came out in the '60s, I think, and it was recently re-released by Stan Winston, the famous special effects guy. But he took some artistic license, recreated the mermaid as a monster. She was nasty — like mermaid meets werewolf. She's kidnapped by these carnies who want to make money by showing her to people, but she whacks their heads off with her tail.