Cristian Costea

Walking through the doors of the Seminole Hard Rock is like stepping inside a little piece of Las Vegas that's been shipped over to South Florida. The big-roller vibe is ever-present. Classic rock blasts from the speakers, undercut by the constant electronic chirping of slot machines and video poker. The Hard Rock's numbers alone are hard to beat: The 140,000-square-foot casino space holds nearly 100 table games and 2,500 slot machines. But serious players — people making weekly stops to casinos to try their luck — know that the key element to any gaming experience is the rewards program. Because let's be honest: Every time you drop that money into a slot machine, you're basically dousing it with gas and sparking a match. Pros say the Hard Rock's Wild Card rewards program wins top honors among the local options. You earn points each time you play, win or lose. Play enough and you can be looking at free tickets to shows, reduced hotel rates, free valet, and other juicy perks.

Sometimes, you just gotta shake off the shackles of your Range Rover-driving, Lacoste-wearing, martini-drinking bourgeois life and let your freak flag fly. It's times like these when you'll want to head behind the proverbial curtain at the Green Room's Black Fridays. There, you'll find everything from tutu'd dudes in platform dominatrix boots to ponytailed goths with horns and face tattoos. Hello Kitty bondage gear? Cosplay makeup? Furries? Whatever you're into, it's probably here. On the dance floor, the black-leather-clad crew will be grooving to EDM and postpunk tunes. Anything goes. Everyone's moving to the beat of his or her own drum, so whip out those interpretive dance moves and shed your self-consciousness. If there's any place to let loose, it's here. Whatever you do, better leave your judgments at the door. Here, everyone's free to be. So go in with one key rule in mind: Don't rule anything out. YOLO, baby.

What's the best thing about a strip club? (*Checks watch.* How much time do we have in these best-of blurbs?) Is it all the titties? Yes, it is. But by definition, all strip clubs have that. So what makes Booby Trap different from most strip clubs writhing in the urban sprawl of South Florida? The intimacy. If you like the giant amphitheater strip clubs, don't come here. But if you want to see girls get respect — and make a buck or two in the process — then Booby Trap is your place. The girls here come in all shapes and sizes. This isn't the domain of Barbie doll, South Beach gals — but of ladies who pack spunk and bedazzle. Sometimes, a strip-club patron isn't looking for the most beautiful girls but someone who can make him feel special for a night.

Nestled between the Calder Race track and a strip mall sits the coolest sports bar you've probably never heard of. Upper Deck is the place to get your sports, food, and booze groove on. The restaurant features more than 50 flat-screen televisions and three huge projection screens showing all manner of sports events, games, and matches. Upper Deck also has a pair of billiards tables you can hit up when your team's game hasn't started yet and a kid-friendly Mega Touch game to keep them occupied while you watch the Dolphins game. There are two full-liquor bars, but probably the best place to catch a game — particularly on NFL Sunday — is out on the 1,000-square-foot deck with overhead TVs, tables, and couches. The deck is covered with a screen, so you can still enjoy the sunshine without burning or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Upper Deck features daily lunch specials, starting at $5.99, Monday through Friday. Happy hour runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekends. There's also Karaoke Night on Friday, and Wednesday is live-music night. While other sports bars are packed and keep you waiting, only to trot you into a dark dining area, Upper Deck gets you a seat quickly and your food and drink quicker and provides a place to watch the big game while chillin' in the South Florida afternoon beach breeze.

There's a time for lounging poolside, sipping a frozen beverage, and cozying up with the latest issue of Star magazine whilst taking in the wonderful combination of hot sun and cool breeze. There's also a time for raging poolside, which is what happens every weekend at Fort Lauderdale Beach's Exit 66. Misting cabanas with bottle service; young, bikini-clad hotties bouncing around giant beach balls; DJs blasting Benny Benassi while bros fist-pump; and bartenders serving two-for-one drinks — is this a pool party, or have we been transported to heaven? At Exit 66, it's spring break all year 'round, and each Saturday and Sunday, the crew throws a daytime rager complete with a rotating roster of resident DJs, champagne bottle specials, and a crowd of young'uns who just wanna strip off their clothes and relish in the beachside paradise that is the pool at Exit 66. It's not a swimming pool full of liquor, but it's damned close, and we're diving in.

Kristin Bjornsen

If anyone knows about community, it's bikers. Not hipster fixed-gear cyclists but hard-ass, wind-blown, wanderlusting motorcyclists. Many communities find their center in bars, these places where you become part of something larger when you're there. Flossie's Bar and Grill is just that center for Broward County bikers. Sure, it's kind of a dive located in an apartment complex, but it's also a watering hole for old dog motorcycle enthusiasts in the savannah that is Fort Lauderdale. On Sundays, the lot out front becomes a sea of wheels and seats with metallic waves. The tiki huts add a bit of style to an otherwise unremarkable exterior. For entertainment, there are pool tables inside and room for bands to play out front. And no, that's not ZZ Top you see; it's merely a regular at this laid-back joint. If you've worked up an appetite after a joy ride around town, Flossie's serves breakfast starting at 7 a.m. Friday through Sunday and other chow, like wings soaked in gator sauce, throughout the day. Definitely the coolest thing about the place is that it gives back and loves beasts! Animals, that is, and to the music of Southpaw Raw, it uses raffles, a buffet, and a kissing booth to bring people in and get abandoned dogs and cats homes. The place also raises money for Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital with Thug Tug, a tug-of-war game day with music and plenty of beer. All of that smells like community and also a little like barbecue and Budweiser.

South Florida is definitely one of the gayest areas in the country. If that wasn't already apparent, we suggest you take a ride down Wilton Drive; enough said. However, as gay as this region may be, it caters to the men. Surprise, surprise — gender bias transcends even sexual orientation. Well, that's not the case at Beach Betty's: This place is for the ladies — mostly gay ladies — but also open to anyone else looking to have a good time. The Dania Beach tiki-themed bar is like any low-pressure neighborhood spot ­— pool tables, filled with smoke, friendly patrons, and bartender — kind of like the lesbian version of Cheers. If you're looking to play a game of pool, grab a quick beer, pick up another chick, or just hang with the Dania Beach locals, this spot has got you covered.

South Florida is littered with foreigners. We're certainly not complaining about that: makes 'em ripe for the picking, especially at Waxy O'Connor's. In addition to the superfine and (mostly) expat bar staff, the majority of the customers at this Irish pub has at least a twinge of an accent. Fort Lauderdale is America's boating capital ­— where yachts, superyachts, and megayachts are bought, sold, tricked-out, and repaired — and thus a busy hangout for yacht crews circling the globe. And Waxy's is their de facto clubhouse, so you should have no problem picking out some lonely, wayward sailors. Want to try a taste of South Africa? Yep. English biscuit? Got it. Thunder from Down Under? No problem. You get the gist. Ahoy!

According to Wikipedia, the cougar, also known as the puma, mountain lion, panther, or catamount, is a large cat of the family Felidae native to the Americas. While Florida panthers may be highly endangered, South Florida cougars proliferate. And they can frequently be found in large numbers at Blue Martini. This species has a distinct set of traits: highly visible cleavage, long manicured claws, and evidence of much time spent at spas. With a cosmo in hand, this Cougar stands waiting, searching for her prey. Possibly you, if you give her the chance. Just order a drink, throw your Beemer keys on the bar ­— if you don't own one, you can always rent — and wait. You're about to be prey — and probably have the time of your life.

Photo courtesy of American Social Bar

You know that adage, "God helps those who help themselves"? It may be true, because we've just found heaven in a glass at American Social. The Las Olas pub has something that no other South Florida establishment has — yet: taps at your table. Two tables are equipped with four taps where lucky patrons can help themselves to as much beer as they like (the portions are measured, and you pay as you pour). The taps are rotated on a regular basis from the 40 or so draft brews available, but there's always a good selection, since the restaurant owners strive to always have an IPA, a lager, a pale ale, and one other unique beer at the ready. There's also a "wall of taps" where you can help yourself — much like those frozen yogurt shops where you can get as much self-serve as you like... only this is beer we're talking about. Beer that we can pour ourselves as we see fit? We've just found religion. Could this be why they call a beer opener a "church key"?

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