Über-regulars set this joint apart from your usual hole-in-the-wall. (That and the fact that the place doesn't have a phone.) The faithful patrons of Geni-Lee's perch upon their barstools like moss on gravestones. They aren't even aware that the drink prices -- $1.50 for a bottle of Budweiser or a rail drink -- hearken to a time of leisure suits and disco music. In a building with all the exterior charm of a meat locker, this rectangular cave is self-contained, offering a short-order grill that serves $2.25 burgers. The pool table, which is centered on the barroom floor, and dart board clinging to the wall offer a little distraction, but the real delight is circled 'round the bar. A Vietnam-era veteran with shoulder-length hair and balding pate regales his neighbors with pointers about evading jury duty. ("Tell 'em you got a weak bladder.") Perched beside them, an old woman whose flushed face has turned in on itself from decades of sucking cigarettes puffs yet another.
A neighborhood joint on A1A in Fort Lauderdale may seem like an oxymoron, but the section that draws crowds from all around the area can be said to stop at Pusser's Rum, the south end of the beach strip. Beyond that stretches a line of hotels, convenience stores, and restaurants, before the commercial zone finally gives way to the upper-middle-class houses of Harbor Beach. Situated in this margin between housing and beach nightlife, Coconuts offers live entertainment and a deck area that provides ample opportunity to do a little boat watching. The clientele during the day consists primarily of boat owners and captains, though at night, the place becomes a lot more crowded as patrons who don't want to put up with the hectic pace of A1A arrive to mellow out over a few bottles of suds.
A neighborhood joint on A1A in Fort Lauderdale may seem like an oxymoron, but the section that draws crowds from all around the area can be said to stop at Pusser's Rum, the south end of the beach strip. Beyond that stretches a line of hotels, convenience stores, and restaurants, before the commercial zone finally gives way to the upper-middle-class houses of Harbor Beach. Situated in this margin between housing and beach nightlife, Coconuts offers live entertainment and a deck area that provides ample opportunity to do a little boat watching. The clientele during the day consists primarily of boat owners and captains, though at night, the place becomes a lot more crowded as patrons who don't want to put up with the hectic pace of A1A arrive to mellow out over a few bottles of suds.
Jacaranda Italian Family Restaurant & Pizzeria
It's blinding bright outside, but inside the Bar & Grill, a soothing darkness rests the eyes and welcomes the world-weary. The walls are painted a clubby forest green. Three television sets are tuned to sports news, sound off. During football season, Pittsburgh Steelers fans gather here for games. Tonight at the bar, a short guy with a big vocabulary is complaining loudly about his performance evaluation. He wants to know exactly how he can get all E's next time. He wants objectives, goals, measurable benchmarks. Jeez, you think, ordering a $1.35 Bud draft, he's much too caught up in this. You want to shout "Just Be!" or something at the guy. But it's too much fun to feel smugly superior that you're not so caught up in the machinations of "the man." The place begins to fill up. The fella next to you orders a meatball sandwich from the Jacaranda Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria next door. Rene the bartender leaves to get it for him. The phone rings. A patron answers it: "Jacaranda." Silence. "Even here, they hang up on me," she quips. You stare at a backlighted bottle of Grey Goose Vodka and let your mind drift. The two pool tables are empty. On Wednesday nights, a pool league has formed. Performance Evaluation is now telling Rene he wants to kiss her stomach. He says he's trying to be "communicative." She is the center that holds the place together -- blond layered hair to her shoulders, bee-stung lips, a deep tan. Every bar needs a babe, even if none of the patrons has a chance with her. They nurse their drinks, flirt, and dream.
It's blinding bright outside, but inside the Bar & Grill, a soothing darkness rests the eyes and welcomes the world-weary. The walls are painted a clubby forest green. Three television sets are tuned to sports news, sound off. During football season, Pittsburgh Steelers fans gather here for games. Tonight at the bar, a short guy with a big vocabulary is complaining loudly about his performance evaluation. He wants to know exactly how he can get all E's next time. He wants objectives, goals, measurable benchmarks. Jeez, you think, ordering a $1.35 Bud draft, he's much too caught up in this. You want to shout "Just Be!" or something at the guy. But it's too much fun to feel smugly superior that you're not so caught up in the machinations of "the man." The place begins to fill up. The fella next to you orders a meatball sandwich from the Jacaranda Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria next door. Rene the bartender leaves to get it for him. The phone rings. A patron answers it: "Jacaranda." Silence. "Even here, they hang up on me," she quips. You stare at a backlighted bottle of Grey Goose Vodka and let your mind drift. The two pool tables are empty. On Wednesday nights, a pool league has formed. Performance Evaluation is now telling Rene he wants to kiss her stomach. He says he's trying to be "communicative." She is the center that holds the place together -- blond layered hair to her shoulders, bee-stung lips, a deep tan. Every bar needs a babe, even if none of the patrons has a chance with her. They nurse their drinks, flirt, and dream.
Having celebrated its fifth anniversary in April, this joint rocks on. With its funky, Hawaiian-themed décor -- surfboards on the walls and television sets showing big-wave videos on a loop -- the Surf Café seems the perfect spot to hang ten -- or just hang out. (It also ain't bad for the FAU college crowd to take a breather from all those tests.) And you don't even have to wear a Quicksilver shirt or carry a Jensen backpack to enter. Secretaries, construction workers, and just folks come in after work for their happy-hour fix (served 4 through 8 p.m. daily, till 10 on Friday), which includes a variety of beer, shot, and wine specials. As evening progresses into night, there's no need to go elsewhere. On most Thursday through Sunday evenings, the café transforms into a nightclub, with local rock, reggae, and alternative bands as well as electronic, hip-hop, and underground DJs. The place also offers a grill, three pool tables, homey couches and sofas, a small stage for the bands/DJs, and plenty of seating so you can kick back and enjoy the show.
Having celebrated its fifth anniversary in April, this joint rocks on. With its funky, Hawaiian-themed décor -- surfboards on the walls and television sets showing big-wave videos on a loop -- the Surf Café seems the perfect spot to hang ten -- or just hang out. (It also ain't bad for the FAU college crowd to take a breather from all those tests.) And you don't even have to wear a Quicksilver shirt or carry a Jensen backpack to enter. Secretaries, construction workers, and just folks come in after work for their happy-hour fix (served 4 through 8 p.m. daily, till 10 on Friday), which includes a variety of beer, shot, and wine specials. As evening progresses into night, there's no need to go elsewhere. On most Thursday through Sunday evenings, the café transforms into a nightclub, with local rock, reggae, and alternative bands as well as electronic, hip-hop, and underground DJs. The place also offers a grill, three pool tables, homey couches and sofas, a small stage for the bands/DJs, and plenty of seating so you can kick back and enjoy the show.
The Avenging Lawnmowers of Justice's succinct, silly, and unimaginably catchy songs (about worms, weirdos, weed, unpaid bills, alien abduction, and other important concerns) have been collected on a self-titled disc and another, soon-to-be-released offering. But your best bet is to catch the 'Mowers trimming their turf on-stage. That's where the band's offbeat humor is best appreciated and where gangly, bespectacled bandleader Chris DeAngelis is likely to end the show by writhing like an insect on his back as he squeezes out bass melodies that'd make McCartney jealous. However, it must be duly noted that Sir Paul is much too mature to pen a ditty called "Your Sister Stole My Girlfriend." The 'Vengers call themselves "Florida's very own musical crusading crime fighters of crap," and if that's not worth a prize, what is?
The Avenging Lawnmowers of Justice's succinct, silly, and unimaginably catchy songs (about worms, weirdos, weed, unpaid bills, alien abduction, and other important concerns) have been collected on a self-titled disc and another, soon-to-be-released offering. But your best bet is to catch the 'Mowers trimming their turf on-stage. That's where the band's offbeat humor is best appreciated and where gangly, bespectacled bandleader Chris DeAngelis is likely to end the show by writhing like an insect on his back as he squeezes out bass melodies that'd make McCartney jealous. However, it must be duly noted that Sir Paul is much too mature to pen a ditty called "Your Sister Stole My Girlfriend." The 'Vengers call themselves "Florida's very own musical crusading crime fighters of crap," and if that's not worth a prize, what is?
The bar scene in South Florida leaves much to be desired. You spend the entire night competing for the attention of the harried bartender. You repeat the mantra, "Make eye contact, make eye contact, and maybe he'll notice me," but to no avail. By the time you place your order, happy hour has ended, and instead of the double Bombay G&T you waited all day to sip, you settle for a Miller Lite on draft. Bummer. Don't despair. Instead, make a beeline for the one place where the bartender knows your name: Legends Pub. On any given Friday night, Ty Fenton, with his 1000-megawatt smile and crew cut, is a regular guy in a world of Cocktail-esque drink slingers. He's a young man but old school in spirit -- he actually listens while you cry in your beer and doesn't seem to mind when drunken regulars start impromptu but friendly wrestling matches in the middle of the bar. (Beats a couch trip any day.)

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