Best Bartender 2016 | Randy Rapposelli | Arts & Entertainment | South Florida

What qualifies someone as a great bartender? Is it someone who can make the perfect martini? A barkeep that can spot you walking through the door and have your favorite drink waiting before you even sit down? Or is it that person with so many followers, his or her bar is packed with loyal regulars? Brule Bistro's Randy Rapposelli scores on all of the above. This drink-slinger has been manning the bar at this beloved Delray Beach hotspot for the past four years, when the former gourmet market and lunch spot swapped to a more sophisticated full-service restaurant complete with a full bar in 2012. Now, whether crafting the perfect Old Fashioned, mixing up margaritas, stirring up an ice-cold martini, or offering the perfect wine pairing for your meal, this is one bartender that knows his stuff — and serves a little friendly banter along with it.

Readers' choice: Brett Robertson at Kapow!

Christina Mendenhall

What is it about sassy and fabulous waitresses, frozen cosmos, and a drag show that attracts groups of single women in droves? A popular destination for bachelorette parties, Lips gives the perfect combo of alcohol, glitz, and no-holds-barred humor during their dinner and drag show. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone in a grumpy mood at Lips. The waitresses ooze contagious confidence as they strut around in various glamorous outfits throughout the night. This combined with a few cocktails perfectly primes any single women in the dining room for flirty conversation.

Photo by Kristin Bjornsen

The Heat are up by only two points with 35 seconds left in the game and you can feel the tension reverberate around the bar. High off of all the testosterone in the air and a little tipsy from the bucket of Mich Ultras, you can't help but smile every time you make eye contact with him. He's got shoulders that make you totally okay with cut-sleeve shirts and enough scruff on his jawline to make you call "dibs" to your girls. But you can't call dibs... because you've already called it on three other guys since walking in 30 minutes ago. This place is swarming with guys making flirty eye contact! Whether it's the beer bucket specials, endless TVs, hot waitresses, or a combo of all three, Tilted Kilt has a way of bringing in the bros. They have 21 beers on tap and ample seating for your large squad to get rowdy together, so throw on your hot new outfit and get there. Happy hunting.

Michael McElroy
Grape martini

You've been talking to her for almost 30 minutes and she hasn't once taken a snapchat selfie or said "LOL" out loud. Well dressed in a Boston Proper tank top, fitted white jeans, and wedges, she's confident and has no problem buying her own cocktail. She's a South Florida cougar, and this place is crawling with women just like her. The level of class at Blue Martini Boca is higher than at your average city bar; nothing here is served in a solo cup. Partly for this reason, it has become a local watering hole for the sexy, mature woman. Seven days a week the bar's chic happy hour attracts people of all ages, but a fun-loving and flirty cougar is the signature patron. She rarely turns down an opportunity to talk to a hot youngster at the bar, so buy her a Mango Tango and drag her off the patio bar and inside because dancing with a cougar is never a bad time.

Our reputation precedes us. Combine South Florida's status as a destination for tourists from around the world with its claim to be the United States' leading playground for "the lifestyle," and bingo! A nightly stream of erotic adventurers from Europe and South America pack the dance floors and the clothing- and inhibition-optional back rooms of this Broward club, the region's longest-running swingers establishment. It's a pricey venue (entrance requires a membership fee, plus nightly user fees of $15 to $75) but to practice your Spanish or German with native speakers in the most intimate of situations, Trapeze can't be beaten (unless that's your thing).

Michele Eve Sandberg

For those of a certain age, it can take some doing to think of the Kennedy clan without Vietnam and that Bad Day in Dallas. But "Camelot" — the Kennedy mystique of sun-gold young men and women on sailboats, clam bakes on Cape Cod, touch football on autumn lawns — that lives on like a hazy summer dream. Football, touch or otherwise, at this downtown West Palm Beach boîte has so far been seen only on its large-screen TVs. But for clam bakes, sub the raw bar stocked with fresh mollusks daily, and for golden people, scope the stream of sophisticates who are tired of the rowdy end of Clematis Street and take refuge inside Camelot's nautical-themed confines. There's a dance floor and a revolving selection of live musical entertainment: jazz, nu disco, reggae, and the occasional pop-up show. Younger Palm Beach types venture here from their privileged island enclave. Are they drawn by the air of an age when noblesse had oblige?

Courtesy of Club Vixens

Certain rock songs have become so synonymous with strip clubs that one almost can't exist without the other. At this point, songs such as "Girls, Girls, Girls" by Mötley Crüe and "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry shouldn't even be legally allowed to be heard outside of a gentleman's club. Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" has become such a fixture in pop culture as a stripper song that the CW's iZombie recently titled one of its episodes "Pour Some Sugar, Zombie" after the main character eats an exotic dancer's brain. (Just roll with it.) Club Vixens in Davie is the hair-swinging, full-frontal unifying force that brings together the best of two hard-partying worlds. Just off the beaten track and tucked away behind a warehouse district, Club Vixens is a diamond-in-the-rough sort of place... if you're attracted to women named Diamond, that is. For those who can tear their eyes away from the erotic gymnasts peppered throughout the club, the walls are plastered with rock 'n' roll memorabilia. Best of all, Club Vixens is a full-blown concert venue. In addition to weekday happy hours that run from 12 to 8 p.m. and guest dancers from around the country, the club prides itself on bringing in national touring acts such Enuff Z'Nuff, Drowning Pool, and Puddle of Mudd. Club Vixens is a spot where you can come for the music and stay for the eye candy — or vice versa.

Readers' choice: Scarlett's Cabaret

Christina Mendenhall

Not all casinos are created equal; that's a known fact. Each has its positives and negatives, but what you really want — besides a giant jackpot — is an enjoyable experience, regardless of your luck. Coconut Creek Seminole Casino finds that sweet spot with easy parking, customer service, cleanliness, friendly dealers, and restaurants. The outdoor Sunset Grille tiki bar provides a beach bar experience far from the beach. The Nectar Lounge inside the casino provides great musical acts that can be heard within slot distance but also enjoyed close up. Blackjack and poker tables throughout the casino have some of the nicest, most outgoing dealers in the area, and the staff is always ready to diffuse tense situations in the fairest way possible. Overall, this place gives you what you want out of a casino experience: no fuss, just an easygoing test of your luck.

Despite the number of times people have heralded the death of rock 'n' roll, it not only lives, but thrives. The Flyers revere the past and rollick in the present. With a regular four-hour gig every Wednesday night at Johnnie Brown's and a busy touring schedule around the state, the band is made up of Patrick Farinas (guitar, vocals, keys), Jordan Richards (bass, vocals, guitar,) and Joe Beard (drums, vocals, guitar). These guys have independently released several albums of original material, but when they do tackle the classics, holy hell, is it a beautiful thing. Band members regularly switch instruments to show off their chops, scorching through jams by the Band, Jimi Hendrix, and Ray Charles. As far as local rock bands go, The Flyers are arguably the best — not only because they're amazing musicians, but because they're all of the musicians rolled up into one fun-loving trio of awesome.

Readers' choice: Raggy Monster

Spred the Dub started out as a jam band at the Boca Raton craft beer bar Funky Buddha Lounge, where singer Mick Swigert once manned the taps. What began in 2007 as a 12-piece getting together for weekly improvisational jams has now morphed into a six-man show offering its own unique dub sound. Today the band gigs from Stuart to Miami, offering a mashup of roots-style reggae, rockabilly, dub, ska, and punk. While the band has opened for big Jamaican acts like Yellowman and Eek-a-Mouse, the best place to catch Spred the Dub is at E. R. Bradley's Saloon in West Palm Beach during the ultimate jam session every Monday night from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Request the most popular songs — "Coming Home Drunk" or their cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" — and rest assured that good times will be had when all 250 or so weekly revelers start swaying and singing in unison.

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