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?
When new customers start to become regulars, Candy Mansfield has an unabashed way of remembering their names. She'll scrawl them on cocktail napkins, complete with short descriptions of what they drink and how they spend time in the bar. "You're Jerry's wife, right?" she asked a blond patron recently while referencing one of her napkin notes. "He drinks Sam Adams and plays pinball." Mansfield says she does it not because bartending at the rough-around-the-edges Coasters is her business but because it's her social life. "This is my Friday and Saturday night out. This is where I party," she says. The chronically friendly 52-year-old Mansfield grew up with bartending in the blood; her parents owned a bar in Illinois. She worked as a court clerk before taking the job pouring pitchers at Coasters three years ago. Her tips are helping to put a daughter through medical school, something that endears her to the Palm Beach Atlantic University kids who frequent Coasters. Aside from the cocktail napkin trick, Mansfield does something else pretty damned nice for regulars. If they request bottled beer enough, she'll order a keg of it. Now that's service.
You know the Bloody Mary drill. Sunday brunch. Hair of the dog. Tomato juice, vodka, spices, and a stalk of celery. You also know that, at a place with Mary in its name, they're going to take special measures to juice the thing up, to make it their own. At Hamburger Mary's, la cosa nostra comes supercharged, with the rim of the glass dipped in peppery red stuff. The vodka is Absolut. The spices are black and white pepper, Worcestershire sauce, clam juice, lemon juice, celery, lime and lemon wedges, and an olive, and it'll fire up your engines like the start of a NASCAR rumble. If you're around on the alleged Day of Rest, there's an all-day "Sunday: Bloody Sunday" policy, which means Bloody Marys are $3 a pop.
The first time the foot falls inside the Field, you get the feeling of having entered a large, 100-year-old Irish house. Once you drop a Guinness, Bass, or Strongbow Irish Cider down the neck, you begin to feel the warm effects of the dark wood and dim-lit interior. From the massive, deep barrel booth in the back to the brick fireplace in the center of the room, the bar creates an atmosphere that transports you to a wee little land across the sea. The spell is complete when the Celtic Bridge Irish Band strikes up on Friday and Saturday nights. As for modern fun, Hot Rod, the local Rod Stewart impersonator, takes the stage every Wednesday at 8 p.m. The pub prepares the belly for floods of Harp with an extensive menu that includes Donegal mussels ($9.95), the Kilkenny sandwich ($7.95), and shepherd's pie ($8.95). Seating is provided indoors and out, where tobacco fiends can lean back in a swinging table and light up a smoke.
Precocious youth perhaps won us over, but to be fair, this 19-year-old Fort Lauderdale native's got the skills to back it up. In just two years, Matt Cash has graduated from the back rooms of Broward Brit pubs to wowing hipsters ten years his senior at mainstay Miami nightspots like Poplife and the District. There are those half-assed, pseudo DJs who are content to rely on auto-cues and cross faders, but Cash's sets are on-the-fly mash-up mixes that splice Moving Units into Weezer into Trick Daddy, recalling the likes of 2ManyDJs. While Miami's Design District is where Cash calls home these days, the lad has left his mark with the 18-to-25 demographic in Lauderdale after various residencies, including Crush and Deck. If you see him, ask him for his new mix and you'll know what we're talking about.
Self-deprecation is a dying art. And so, any strip joint with the wit and chutzpah to make fun of the Mobbed-up reputation of titty bars deserves a nod. Even better is the fact that Bada Bing, one of the newest additions to South Florida's T&A scene, deserves the recognition. A classy place near Dixie Highway, Bada Bing prides itself on breaking the strip-club mold: The girls are not only pretty but friendly, the disc jockey's one-liners are actually funny, and the drinks aren't watered down. Best yet, the drink specials are as follows: $15 open bar for premium drinks Sunday through Thursday from 8 to 11 p.m. And 2 for 1 drinks seven days until 8 p.m.
As many Gen-Y kids grow bored with the stuffy, hectic, downtown Liquordale scene, they now gravitate to neighborhood pubs to clink mugs and dance with like-minded music geeks. In the past year, Crush has grown from a whispered-about Thursday night to arguably the week's preeminent outlet for DJ-led decadence. With its third -- and hopefully final -- venue change to Lauderhill's Rose & Crown, the 18-plus fete now lasts until 4 a.m., with indoor and outdoor DJs hustling everything from three-chord rowdiness to electrobeats. Though its attendees are fairly diverse, Crush tends to draw a younger crowd due to its lenient age limits and cheap cover. While Maguire's Sunday Night Boogie is hotly nipping on its heels, Crush continues to reel in both the nubile faction ready to shake it and the jaded scenesters who pretend they're only there for the drink specials.
Almost as new as the year itself, Gryphon nightclub has redirected late-night, Miami-bound traffic to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The large dance club with a sunken dance floor and comfortable seating all around offers an environment where you can take in the company of the upbeat, sassy crowd that's drawn by resident DJs who include Friday night's Ivano Bellini and Southside and Saturday night's nextgeneration. Miami promotion company Aqua Booty's monthly mix-in of DJs like Osunlade and Neil Aline sharpens the edge. Kitschily clad dancers on blocks around the floor lead partiers in all the right moves. Between paying the cover and covering your bar tab, one night of partying can easily cost $100. For big spenders, there's the VIP room with large, double-sided couches that can accommodate your whole party. This select room is Broward's hottest place to see and be seen.
The Village Pump has one hell of a story. Opened in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea in 1949, 15 years before the Commercial Boulevard bridge connected the barrier island to the mainland, the pub built a reputation as a place where locals and tourists alike could sit back, drink a beer, and converse like neighbors. Even after a half-century of development, the Village Pump is in many ways the same: a laid-back bar with good service, friendly patrons, and reasonably priced pints (about $4 each). What's more, you can still hear the gentle crashing of the Atlantic Ocean, just as you could in 1949. The pub recently opened a stylish restaurant next door, the Village Grille, but thankfully, the Village Pump remains as relaxing and enticing as ever.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®