Imagine, if you can, Respectable Street's goth crowd wearing smiles in contrast to black vinyl pants and hair dye. Meanwhile, out on Clematis Street, drunken Rotary Club types join the usual crowd of club kids, frat boys, and rockers while live music blasts from nearly every venue around. What is this -- Halloween? Well, almost. It's MoonFest, the enormous street party held every October in downtown West Palm Beach. Like the evil twin of SunFest, MoonFest transforms the city streets, bars, and clubs into an orgy of alcohol consumption, live bands, carnival rides, and loads of strange behavior. And, of course, Halloween costumes that would make Wes Craven blush: priests getting blowjobs from altar boys, Hawaiian transvestites, prosthetic genitalia, and girls with even skimpier outfits than is probably legal. 2004's celebration even featured a guest "get out the vote" speech by actor Mandy Patinkin of The Princess Bride fame (you remember -- Inigo Montoya, the guy who got stabbed 90 million times). With all that, it's no wonder the city's atmosphere is so upbeat. Well, for one night, at least.
Release makes no bones about the fact that most people are jonesin' for hip-hop and house. So this Clematis monster club split its 8,000-square-foot interior right down the line. And a fun-loving 20- and-30-ish crowd takes the bait. The blue room's DJs are on the ball throwing popular hip-hop and R&B hits that keep the crowd moving. The red room, where house rules, has hosted such illustrious DJs as Gabriel Fain, Ivano Bellini, and Edgar V. There is also a lounge where you can escape the pounding beats to drink and chat. Plenty of seating throughout makes this the kind of venue where you can dance your ass off, chill to recover, and then hit the floor again and again. Drink prices run from an affordable $5 to $8, and bottle service is in the $200 range.
You wouldn't be going on a second date if the first one hadn't gone well. And if you're going on a second, you're probably gunning for a third. And everybody knows that on the third date, you're supposed to have sex. (Oops, you thought that was on the first date?) Before you bump uglies with your new friend, you might want to know that diseases like herpes and genital warts just loooove hitchhiking back and forth along the nookie highway, and they can hop from person to person even when you're using condoms. Broward County has the second-highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the state, and lately, the local health department has taken to announcing, "Syphilis is back!" Spare yourself future problems by getting checked out for sexually transmitted diseases at one of the Broward Health Department's three STD testing centers. (The Sunrise Health Center has the best hours.) It's a cheap date too: For $15, we got tested for syphilis, HIV, gonorrhea, and chlamydia; saw a superfriendly doctor and three cheery nurses; got a pregnancy test; and walked away with free drugs to treat a urinary tract infection. Why, we scored better schwag than we ever did trick-or-treating! If you think waiting in a windowless room for three hours for treatment is boring, you haven't seen the Condom Lady entertain the crowd by playing a trivia game and showing you how to pinch and unroll a rubber! When she's done, help yourself to as many condoms as you can stuff in your pockets and go back to people-watching (seems there are a lot of regulars in the waiting room). It's good fun, really! And if the so-called person you are dating is too cool, squeamish, humorless, or disrespectful of your health to go through this with you, then he or she is not worth seeing anyway -- fuck 'em! Um, we mean, don't!
According to the dream dictionary on www.hyperdictionary.com, "Dreaming that you meet a person wearing epaulets means unwise attachments that may result in scandal." Hmm... sounds fun! There's something about stripes on a uniform that'll make you ask an otherwise regular guy to dock his boat in your slip! Willing accomplices can be found at any alcohol-dispensing establishment (Blondie's, the Elbo Room, the Treasure Trove, the Quarterdeck) along Fort Lauderdale Beach during Fleet Week (usually in April, so make a note), when a buttload of Navy and Coast Guard ships dock at Port Everglades. Navy flaks will tell you that Fleet Week "showcases the U.S. Navy's might and gives the public a glimpse of their hard-earned tax dollars at work as Navy sailors and their modern hardware and technology meld into one efficient fighting team." It shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on that modern hardware, considering that most of these sailors have been out at sea for months. You need only read a typical posting at www.militarysingles.com to see what's going through most of the enlisted men's minds: "I blew things up, shot things to pieces, called down 500-pound bombs, and managed mass destruction. Please help this fully equipped, clean-cut, above average, all-American boy turn from fighter to lover! I need just the right playmate to take me prisoner, so to speak." Go for it, girls! Support our troops!
There's nothing really groundbreaking about Capone's. Nothing original about its dark wood bar with neon accents, about the cheesy mural that covers one whole wall, or about the regular hot-body contests. But the funny thing about formulas is: They work. The 3-for-1 Happy Hour helps everyone say bye-bye to his or her inhibitions. The mainstream hip-hop and dance tunes get people dancing really close. And the standing invitation for girls to dance on the bar keeps the boys mesmerized down below. Once you've zoned in on a proper target, engage her in a little one-on-one competition at the pool tables in the back. Or sit her down at the martini bar on the side for some intimate conversation. If things get too hot inside, suggest spilling out to the tables on the sidewalk... or maybe all the way back to your pad. As one tomcat put it, "The ratio of girls is really good" -- especially on Wednesdays, when women drink free from 10 p.m. to closing. "They might not be the girls you want to introduce to your mom, but there's really no excuse for going home alone after a night at Capone's."
All right, stop the groaning, guys. You didn't really think you were going to find a brainy chick at that bimbo joint on the beach, did you? No, if you want to meet a woman who has more on her mind than her body, you have to seek out repositories of knowledge. Hence, the library's Center for the Book, which was established in 1984 as the first affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Relax. This can be a fun way to meet the ladies. The center has held a wide variety of get-togethers throughout the county during the past year, among them: "The Gastronomical You Writing Workshop," which turned "culinary history into art"; evenings with mystery writer Elaine Viets and maritime author Robert N. Macomber; presentations of the films Tortilla Soup, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Fried Green Tomatoes; and other author readings. Most events are free.
When stalking the concrete jungle for signs of intelligent male life, it is essential to arm yourself with the knowledge that smart men have patterns. To start with, the IQ-blessed have interests. An easy way to weed out the masses is to start at a place like O'Hara's, where live jazz, dance, and classic rock bands play seven nights a week. Smart men have opinions and a gene that makes them love jazz. But don't let the hissing high-hat fool you. A love of classic rock is critical. Scope the scene when the oft-lauded cover band Breeze plays, because if the man sitting across the room with bourbon on ice and a cigar is into Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, chances are good that he's nostalgic about his tripped-out college days, when he managed to get a hefty dose of surrealism and all of his term papers in on time. Finally, smart men enjoy company but spurn crowds. The headcount inside and out in this bar is just right for bumping into interesting people without getting squished.
This Himmarshee Irish joint has a veritable all-star crew of Guinness-slinging barkeeps -- Mike, Tommy, Noel, you know who you are -- but the most charismatic cat here is the man with the perpetual 10 o'clock shadow and a voice like a carnival barker. He succeeds in chatting shit, drawing drafts, tending change, and mixing martinis with calm aplomb. "You're a prude!" he yells at one familiar female patron whom he learned hitched a ride home from a male friend, then didn't so much as invite him inside. "Your problem is, you don't put out!" (It's less obnoxious in context.) Soon after, when a couple approaches his buzzing bar, he cocks his head and says, "Ketel One martini and a Miller Lite, right?" Yup. These feats are nothing spectacular, perhaps, but then, it's the rare bartender who on a weekday night, through sheer force of personality, inspires a crowd to sing his name to the tune of that "olé" soccer anthem: "Oh DAAAVE, oh DAVE oh DAVE oh DAAAVE! Oh DAAAVE! O-oh DAAAAVE!" The barkeep responds by honking the siren of the model fire truck that hangs above his bar. The lushes reply with further song. This, friends, is why you drink.
You know what you want in a margarita. We'll wager it has nothing to do with flavoring from some rare tropical fruit you can find only on the western shore of Tobago or with weird food coloring (like, ugh, Kelly green on St. Patrick's Day). You want a drink that will cool you down and give you a pleasant buzz, as if the furniture movers in your head finally straightened out the jumble up there. One sip and an ocean breeze is coming through the window and the party is getting under way. That's why you want to get to Yucatan. Their margaritas soften all those sharp tequila corners with Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and the restaurant's own sweet-and-sour mix. Our favorite is the restaurant's namesake, the Yucatan, which is loaded with Sauza Tres Generaciones, an añejo tequila ($6.50). There's also the Golden Margarita with Sauza Comemorativo ($6) and Yucatan's Original Margarita ($5.50). All are available at two-for-one during happy hour, 5 to 7 p.m. Bring a designated driver.
The yuppies sip mojitos and watch waves crash over at JB's on the Beach while listening to a nonauthentic "reggae" band play Lionel Richie covers, but those in the know walk their flip-flops across A1A to Kahuna's. The laid-back bartenders slide bottles across the bar past the bamboo walls and under the surfboards hanging from the ceiling. Girls squeeze into one of the booths while boys talk shit around the only pool table. You got your exquisite wasabi grouper ($12.95), you got your frozen daiquiri ($5.50) from the wall of daiquiri machines, you got some outdoor tables, and you got your singer-songwriters rocking most nights of the week (shoutout to Brian & Mike, who pack the place on Tuesdays). What else do you need?

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