No neon bar sign. No pool table. No TV. At Alligator Alley there's just sweet, sweet music rolling out of a state-of-the-art sound system as hot and clean as any you'll hear in Broward County. Proprietor Carl "Kilmo" Pacillo and a consortium of investors opened the 10,000-square-foot club early last October. Since then an encouraging bevy of local and national acts has kicked out the jams from atop the Alley's huge main stage, with Leon Russell, the Wailers, Maynard Ferguson, Parliament/Funkadelic, and the Rev. Billy C. Wirtz all recently performing in the otherwise dreary strip mall in the heart of suburban Sunrise. And if superior music night after night starts to wear you down, maybe you can buck up with something off the menu. We recommend the buffalo gator with the brutal hot sauce, but then, we're gluttons for gastrointestinal punishment.
No neon bar sign. No pool table. No TV. At Alligator Alley there's just sweet, sweet music rolling out of a state-of-the-art sound system as hot and clean as any you'll hear in Broward County. Proprietor Carl "Kilmo" Pacillo and a consortium of investors opened the 10,000-square-foot club early last October. Since then an encouraging bevy of local and national acts has kicked out the jams from atop the Alley's huge main stage, with Leon Russell, the Wailers, Maynard Ferguson, Parliament/Funkadelic, and the Rev. Billy C. Wirtz all recently performing in the otherwise dreary strip mall in the heart of suburban Sunrise. And if superior music night after night starts to wear you down, maybe you can buck up with something off the menu. We recommend the buffalo gator with the brutal hot sauce, but then, we're gluttons for gastrointestinal punishment. UPDATED: This location is now closed.
Bluesman Ernie Southern does it all: He plays a mean slide guitar, he wields a wailing ten-hole harp, and he sells a demo tape that just won't quit, especially when he delivers it personally in his purple Ford like a man (you guessed it) "on a mission from God." The line from the 1980 John Landis film, The Blues Brothers, fits Ernie Southern almost as well as it did Belushi and Aykroyd. When we heard Southern's incendiary cover "All Over Now," sung Delta-style on Nova Southeastern University's 88.5 FM Sunday-morning blues hour (the second-best blues hour in the Western world, behind the original King Biscuit Flour Hour out of Helena, Arkansas), we called him up. Two hours later he was handing us a tape of the song for $5, thrust through the window of his vehicle like contraband. Now that's a bluesman.

Bluesman Ernie Southern does it all: He plays a mean slide guitar, he wields a wailing ten-hole harp, and he sells a demo tape that just won't quit, especially when he delivers it personally in his purple Ford like a man (you guessed it) "on a mission from God." The line from the 1980 John Landis film, The Blues Brothers, fits Ernie Southern almost as well as it did Belushi and Aykroyd. When we heard Southern's incendiary cover "All Over Now," sung Delta-style on Nova Southeastern University's 88.5 FM Sunday-morning blues hour (the second-best blues hour in the Western world, behind the original King Biscuit Flour Hour out of Helena, Arkansas), we called him up. Two hours later he was handing us a tape of the song for $5, thrust through the window of his vehicle like contraband. Now that's a bluesman.

If you missed saxophonist extraordinaire Clarence Clemons when his boss -- the Boss, Bruce Springsteen -- came to town with his E Street Band, don't worry. This Palm Beach County resident has put together his own local band, and when the Big Man wants a band, the best players around are at his beck and call. Of course he knows how to pick 'em, too. This six-piece metro-rock group is clearly a celebration of the communion of sax, guitar, violin, bass, keyboard, and drums. And getting to see Clemons and the band perform in such intimate settings as the Monkeyclub in West Palm Beach makes you believe in the power of rock 'n' roll all over again. And when the Springsteen tour ends this summer and Clemons returns to his condo on the beach, there'll be a lot more local appearances.
If you missed saxophonist extraordinaire Clarence Clemons when his boss -- the Boss, Bruce Springsteen -- came to town with his E Street Band, don't worry. This Palm Beach County resident has put together his own local band, and when the Big Man wants a band, the best players around are at his beck and call. Of course he knows how to pick 'em, too. This six-piece metro-rock group is clearly a celebration of the communion of sax, guitar, violin, bass, keyboard, and drums. And getting to see Clemons and the band perform in such intimate settings as the Monkeyclub in West Palm Beach makes you believe in the power of rock 'n' roll all over again. And when the Springsteen tour ends this summer and Clemons returns to his condo on the beach, there'll be a lot more local appearances.
In ever-transient South Florida, it doesn't take much to qualify as a local institution. Kim's Alley Bar, with roots back to 1959, undoubtedly makes the cut. And Laurrie Pood, who has been manning the bottles for seven years at Kim's, almost qualifies herself. Laurrie is the den mother of the mahogany front bar, serving up equal parts liquid anesthesia and emotional solace. She has a smile, a hug, and a drink for just about every weary soul who wanders into the place. You might momentarily feel like you're in Mom's kitchen waiting for the Sunday-evening pot roast to be served, except that the pot roast comes with ice cubes, doesn't give you heartburn, and magically lifts away your troubles, at least for the moment. Laurrie's benevolence extends beyond the bar as well. In March she traveled to Hawaii for a Leukemia Society of America marathon. She and a friend raised more than $5000 through fundraisers, begging, and hard work -- and they somehow actually ran 26 miles. Be wary, however, of Laurrie's advice when it comes to drinks. Her self-concocted specialty is the Drunken Monkey: Stoli strawberry vodka, banana liqueur, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite. "It's one of those things," she notes, "where people say, 'Make me something sweet that will kick my butt.'" Thanks, but we'll stick with her martinis.
In ever-transient South Florida, it doesn't take much to qualify as a local institution. Kim's Alley Bar, with roots back to 1959, undoubtedly makes the cut. And Laurrie Pood, who has been manning the bottles for seven years at Kim's, almost qualifies herself. Laurrie is the den mother of the mahogany front bar, serving up equal parts liquid anesthesia and emotional solace. She has a smile, a hug, and a drink for just about every weary soul who wanders into the place. You might momentarily feel like you're in Mom's kitchen waiting for the Sunday-evening pot roast to be served, except that the pot roast comes with ice cubes, doesn't give you heartburn, and magically lifts away your troubles, at least for the moment. Laurrie's benevolence extends beyond the bar as well. In March she traveled to Hawaii for a Leukemia Society of America marathon. She and a friend raised more than $5000 through fundraisers, begging, and hard work -- and they somehow actually ran 26 miles. Be wary, however, of Laurrie's advice when it comes to drinks. Her self-concocted specialty is the Drunken Monkey: Stoli strawberry vodka, banana liqueur, cranberry juice, pineapple juice, and Sprite. "It's one of those things," she notes, "where people say, 'Make me something sweet that will kick my butt.'" Thanks, but we'll stick with her martinis.
The last place you'd want to hear "Gimme Three Steps" or "Free Bird" is some faux upscale bar resplendent with oak, brass, and forest green Boltaflex. Bleeeecch. If one has to endure Lynyrd Skynyrd (a sad but unavoidable truth in the South), one should be very, very drunk. One should also be surrounded by toothless fishermen, dust-caked construction workers, and other hard-drinking locals downing shots of Jack and gobbling greasy onion rings. That's exactly what you get at this joint. And don't let the crowd's woo-hooing debauchery fool you into thinking the lone pool table's an easy score. There's always a game going on, even if the players are nowhere near the felt. Usually they're somewhere by the dance floor waggin' ass or bellowing at the band to play yet another Skynyrd tune. Sneakers offers patrons the kind of gritty old Hollywood ambiance you ain't gonna find on nearby trendy Harrison Street. Thank God.
The last place you'd want to hear "Gimme Three Steps" or "Free Bird" is some faux upscale bar resplendent with oak, brass, and forest green Boltaflex. Bleeeecch. If one has to endure Lynyrd Skynyrd (a sad but unavoidable truth in the South), one should be very, very drunk. One should also be surrounded by toothless fishermen, dust-caked construction workers, and other hard-drinking locals downing shots of Jack and gobbling greasy onion rings. That's exactly what you get at this joint. And don't let the crowd's woo-hooing debauchery fool you into thinking the lone pool table's an easy score. There's always a game going on, even if the players are nowhere near the felt. Usually they're somewhere by the dance floor waggin' ass or bellowing at the band to play yet another Skynyrd tune. Sneakers offers patrons the kind of gritty old Hollywood ambiance you ain't gonna find on nearby trendy Harrison Street. Thank God.

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