Sunset Grill at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek

Just a few steps beyond the automated glass doors that exit the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek rests the tiki-bar-themed Sunset Grill, a much-appreciated breath of fresh air when one is looking to escape the bells, whistles, lights, loud announcements, and smoke-filled rooms that come with the usual casino experience. Here, bartender Kristal Fletcher will greet you with her smile and friendly demeanor, happy to see you, and genuinely interested in how your week is going. This place isn't about fancy garnishes, mango/tangerine/mint-infused cocktails, or dry-ice magic tricks. This is about good, old-fashioned, personable hospitality and great service, a rare commodity these days. Need to know what band is playing that night at the bar? She doesn't need to check a schedule, and she'll tell you honestly how they are. Never heard of a certain craft beer on tap? She'll let you know if it's worth a try. If there is something you need, she'll make that happen for you and not make you feel like you're being too needy. And most important, she makes a mean drink.

Two Georges at the Cove

Happy Hour used to mean something. It was a refuge, a place you could hide from the pressures of the outside world. A place you could get away from the wife, the husband, the kid, the boss, the dog... the world. But somewhere along the way, that all went to poop. Now, happy hour means half-priced appetizers in a stiff wooden booth, sandwiched between crying babies and coupon-wielding old ladies. But what if I told you that there's a place where Happy Hour still exists? What if I told you there's a place overlooking the deep-blue waters of the Intracoastal Waterway where you can get a beer for two bucks? What if I told you that if you ate a polar bear's liver, you'd die due to its toxic levels of vitamin A? Well, it's all true (even the polar bear stuff), and that place is called Two Georges at the Cove. Monday through Friday, from 4 to 7 p.m., the sun shines down on Two Georges' outdoor bar, and the boats come drifting in to dock. The eclectic crowd smiles, drinks, and inevitably drops their sunglasses in the water. I've never met either George, but I love them both as if they were my own George. From the bottom of our thirsty hearts, thanks, Georges.

Adam Foster expertly weaves together the finest deep house to beat its way through BroCo, and thus, he's also one of the busiest dudes in town. You could call him the king of the Las Olas dance scene. He's the overlord of sounds (i.e., entertainment director) for the Restaurant People who own S3, YOLO, Vibe, and O Lounge. In this capacity, he hosts a wild selection of blowouts for Halloween, New Year's, Carnival, even for Exxxotica and Maxim. As a DJ, he's busy ruling the road, playing gigs from San Diego to his hometown, Philly, to Grand Central Miami and Casa de Campo in the DR. Wearing his collaboration crown, he thrives as part of the Twilight Notes DJ collective that launched the popular night Dialect, once based out of the Museum of Art|Fort Lauderdale. He's a member of Prom Night with DJ Todd Stylez, crafting nü-disco and indie tracks, and works with the Urban Tribal Project and Luciano Stazzone on world-fusion, live electronica. In addition to working on really engaging mixes of his own, he's planning a traveling summertime pool party called Nightswim in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Whatever way you look at it, Adam Foster is the emperor of EDM as it comes to you from Fort Laudy.

The Black Rose Irish Pub

Boston has watering holes inspired by Irish drinkers, and Boca has a bar based on the boozing of Bostonians in the Black Rose Irish Pub. The place has the brick, it's got the green on St. Paddy's Day, it's got the wooden bar, it's got the name. It's a frat guy's dream with tons of flat-screen TVs for UFC fights, a cornhole court for fuck's sake, and darts. But the one thing that's absolutely perfect for everyone is the karaoke. Whether you believe in life after love or you're having a total eclipse of the heart, you can sing like a freaking champ or like a total dweeb at this Mizner Park-area gem. The room will cheer you on as you yelp and screech, because that's what friends at a Boston pub do when liquid courage allows you to act a fool while expressing your inner Frank Sinatra. Face it, people. There's nothing better than karaoke for a broken heart, a bachelorette party, or just a regular old Thursday night. Come after 10 p.m. with your pipes prepped.

You'd hope the band that plays songs titled "Negrodamus and His White Devils," "Crack Rock 'n' Roll," and "Headless Body Topless Bar" would bring some action to the stage. And you would be correct. Sandratz sweats out the filth of punk and smooths it over with the lighthearted strut of surf. Onstage, they whip the crowd into a frothy mess. The band consists of Ian Brown, Ryan J. Black, Jesus Arteaga, Casidy Moser, and Chuck Loose, who heads up Iron Forge Press and made your favorite local band T-shirt and that poster you got when the Dwarves played Churchill's. They're a South Florida outfit but based mostly out of Fort Laudy. They recently readied the crowd for the Dead Milkmen at Grand Central, disproving the who-gives-a-shit saying "Punk is dead." Punk's just a little older, and that makes it wiser in the ways of party and performance.

Culture Room
Photo by Monica McGivern

There's just something about the Culture Room that feels like home. It's not a particularly tiny venue, but it feels intimate whether the place is packed to the rafters or there are only 20 diehards out for a less popular show. But let's be real: When's the last time you saw Culture Room empty? Like never. Though you may not always be into the performers gracing its stage, there's certainly some people who are. And they've already bought tickets and are waiting in line outside. The tiki feel of the bar seems classic and not corny — which is a hard look to manage. And you can usually catch the show on an outdoor screen if you need to sneak a smoke or breathe fresh air. Seeing the stage from inside is rarely a problem since not much eclipses your view. More important, the sound system allows you to hear the acts the way they're meant to be heard. Culture Room welcomes touring acts like Built to Spill and Dick Dale and has talented locals, like Lavola and the Riot Act, open for the big dogs. It also offers tribute shows, including the darkness of Made of Metal's Tribute to Death, and stages performances by folks from around here who have crossed the threshold to the national stage. Here's to Culture Room lasting many more decades to come and providing us with plenty more quality shows.

The Monterey Club
Krista F Leger

To call Monterey Club the Best New Venue sounds asinine, right? The place is hardly new to Fort Lauderdale. But since it closed at the turn of 2012 and the lounge space adjacent to Kreepy Tiki Tattoos morphed into 5 Points Lounge and then that closed, Monterey, like Christ, has risen again. Now, it's bringing a bit of the divine to Federal Highway right by the airport. Rob Stannard reopened the live venue this year and has been booking the shit out of it with endless rockabilly, roots, metal, and punk shows, with both local and national acts. Stannard says he's made his mistakes and now he's ready to start anew again with business owner Jackson Valiente, and things are looking fine. It feels so good to have such great live music back in the 954 — and on almost a daily basis. Praise the almighty King... Elvis, that is.

The news that Miami's famed Pawn Shop club was reopening on Clematis Street got the blood of jealous 305 folk boiling but planted pleasant party smiles on the faces of folks in West Palm Beach. Trying to re-create a club that was actually in a pawn shop with an indoor school bus, an Airstream trailer, actual airplane seats, and the occasional half-pipe in the back seemed impossible. But the folks behind the new incarnation of the place managed to succeed at creating something new yet true to the old: a dance club with tons of character, an amusement park for big people, a floor that's begging to be hopped around on. The DJ booth is now set up in a Mack truck, a vintage Ferris wheel sits above one of the bars, there are pool tables, and yes, there's still a school bus. Less gritty than the old spot at the edge of Overtown, Pawn Shop now is a place where pretty people can get their butts moving in true style.

Pools halls are usually found in out-of-the-way locales. That corner slot in the strip mall? Billiards hall. Back room of that Mexican place? Pool hall. Space above tarot card parlor? A cue shooter's paradise. But breaking the trend, it's impossible to miss Mis-cue. The building in Oakland Park shouts out from the street in loud, golf-course green-and-white checked paint, with retro orange lettering spelling out the establishment's raison d'être: LOUNGE, BILLIARDS. Inside, it's all business: about a dozen pool tables pocketed inside the gloom under low ceilings. A well-scarred bar area upfront anchors the room, and this is a table top that's seen a lot of greasy elbows, spilled beers, and grease dripping off the chicken wings served from a nearby crock pot. A core corps of regulars makes up most of the Mis-cue's business, mostly pot-bellied old-timers with a serious jones for cue sports and a younger, tougher, and tattooed contingent. It can be intimidating for an outsider just strolling in for a game. But fear not.

No matter how many times you see The Big Lebowski, the classic comedy always leaves you with two urges. One of those desires you will have to travel to Washington, Colorado, or Amsterdam to fulfill, but in order to bowl, you need look no further than Davie. Sparez has a plethora of lanes to help your inner Lebowski abide. It's open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and doesn't close until 3 Friday and Saturday night. The longer hours on weekends are necessary, but weekdays usually provide no wait coupled with a discounted rate — an hour of bowling drops from $24 on weekends to $17.50. Leagues and specials are constantly rotating, so it helps to check the website for the best deals. Weekend late nights feature special-effects lighting and a live DJ from 99 Jamz who will never, ever play the Eagles.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of