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."
Broward County Main Library Theatre
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.
Yucatan Mexican Grill
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 Field Irish Pub & Eatery
Jessica Daly
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.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®