Jesse's Xtreme Sports Bar
5442 W Atlantic Blvd., Margate
Call 954-917-2855, or visit jessessportsbar.com
"So, according to this bar's logo, 'Jesse' is a disgruntled blond hooligan in a backward hat," I said. "Is that the case?"
Deedee, the tongue-ringed bartender, laughed and leaned on the U-shaped, tiled bar. "Actually, he's pretty nice; not really disgruntled. Also, he has a shaved head."
"So what makes this bar 'xtreme'?" I pressed. "Is it more 'xtreme' than the other sports bars?"
Deedee smiled. Her hair had been plaited into braided pigtails, and her
hair looked glossy in the well-lit, immaculate bar. "Actually, Jesse
used to be really into extreme sports," she said. "It was a major hobby.
In fact, at our old location -- in Pompano -- we had a deal that if you
brought in a skateboard for us to use to decorate the bar, you got a
$20 bar tab."
"Do you do that here?" I asked.
"We don't need to now," she gestured around. Sure enough, the walls were replete with boldly colored boards. Some of them blinked.
Suddenly, a few guys entered through the door behind me. The regulars in the corner all started screaming.
"Looks like the short bus just pulled up!" one yelled.
Deedee rolled her eyes. "They're are always in here -- they call this bar their 'sandbox.'"
On one side of the bar, there are pool tables, and arcade machines. The other side has booths, dart boards, and framed posters depicting scenes from Scarface. Two octagonal tables near the pool tables have old Yankees paraphernalia set under the surface. Cute signs (a photo of a liquor cabinet with the caption, "in case of emergency, break glass")were ubiquitous.
It seemed to me that the place was perfectly divided in half -- the young folk on one side of the bar, the middle-aged blue collars on the other. On the young folks' side I met a was burly, very tall, and well-muscled. Also, he was awkward."I'm Dirt," he said with a grin. "I mean, old as dirt. Joe. Like that movie? Joe Dirt? My name's Joe."
"That guy's a regular," Paul said. "Oh, and please don't leave. If you do, he'll come back over here to talk to me."
I sat down. "What's your story?"
"I'm a marine biologist from North Carolina," he said. "I take care of aquariums."
The cook, Dani, a white-haired man with a ponytail, sauntered over. "We have a Wii bowling league. It's called Wii Be Bowling. You should join."
Bob, an Italian in a ball cap, and Myron, a portly fellow, were teasing the bartender from the far left side of the bar as she danced around to R. Kelly's "Bump N' Grind." "I moved to Florida from Boston in 1995," Bob said. "I didn't know nobody! But I'm a social person. An extrovert. I had to go meet people. And, ever since this place has been open, I've been coming here."
"And now you're Mr. Popular?" I asked.
"What exactly do you want to know?" he asked suspiciously.
"Life advice," I said sarcastically.
"You know what this bar means to me?" he asked rhetorically. "You know what the 'f' in LIFE stands for?"
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"Uhhh," I hesitated as my favorite 'f' word flashed through my mind.
"Fun," he said. "There's always gotta be fun in life. Or else, what have you got?"