Night Watch: Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Night Watch: Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill

Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill
1555 SE 17th Street, Fort Lauderdale
Call 954-525-7400, or visit

"This place is frikken huge," I said to Beard, my friend and ever-present wingman, as we slunk in the main entrance to this gargantuan, immaculate restaurant and bar. Bimini was reminiscent of a giant white-trimmed house boat, or maybe a mansion in the Bahamas. Its interior was bedecked with wooden replicas of various marine life, framed paintings of boats, ivory stanchions wrapped in canvas, matching vinyl bar stools,  and porthole-like windows. Slow-moving fans -- with blades shaped like leaves -- cooled off bar patrons: pretty  women in pencil skirts and Red Stripe-drinking, suit-clad gentlemen. Out on the waterfront patio, couples dined intimately by candle light. Bahamian drum music played faintly through the establishment.

From behind

the bar, auburn-haired Shawna in her tight khaki shorts offered up a menu, which boasted a boatload of special

sweet-toothed concoctions, like exotic fruit-flavored mojitos,

daiquiris, rum runners, pina coladas, and martinis; more beers and wines

than you could shake a swabbie at; and mysterious tropical drinks with

names like Caipirinha and Caprioska.

Shawna informed me that the peach martini had been last month's "drink

of the month" but that they hadn't chosen a new one yet. I ordered the

peach martini. She informed me that the pear martini was sweeter. I

changed my order to the pear martini, which was composed of Absolut pear

vodka, Midori, sour mix, and melon liquor.

"So do you get a lot of yachtsfolk in here?" I asked.

"During our private parties we get all the yachties," Shawna said. "Last

year we had an entire crew in here for a Halloween party. It was all

young people. It got so crazy - they moved all the furniture and turned

the place into a dance floor."

"Awesome," I said. "Did any of them work on famous people's boats?"

"You know, it's sort of a code where they don't speak about who they

work for," Shawna said. She placed my neon-green martini in front of me.

The color reminded me of the ooze that turned four baby turtles into

the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course, that only made it more


"Why not?" I asked.

"Maybe they want to keep their jobs," said my friend Beard, in a cynical tone.

Shawna laughed. "Well, they sure do gossip when they quit working for them!"

I got up and went past the blue couches, glass tables, and a waterless

aquarium in the spirit of aimless wandering. Instead of finding a yacht

crew, I ran into a bunch of EMTs. All three were good-looking,

relatively young men. They were also consuming a boatloa--I mean, a lot

of alcohol. (I've already exceeded my quota on making boat-related


"We work for the neonatal unit," said Ryan, in his slightly unbuttoned

dress shirt and inebriated eyes. He was the most drunk and also talked

too much, two things which may or may not have been related. "We're from

Cleveland and we're here for a medical conference."

"I only work with them part-time," said Shawn, who was tall and toned

and told me he loved me when I guessed his age and purposely undershot

it by a good five years.

"He's a fire officer," said Ryan dismissively.

"Captain," corrected Chris quickly. "How could you forget that?!"

They laughed. 

"We're pure adrenaline junkies," said Chris, who had dark eyes and a

light beard. "They only drop us in when things are serious. We're in the

air unit."

"That's all pretty intense," I said. "Are you at least having a relaxing time here in Fort Lauderdale?"

The answer was a resounding yes.

"We get to sit here, drink, and look at boats on the water," said Ryan, gesturing out the window. "What could be better?"