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Night Watch: Lulu's Bait Shack

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Lulu's Bait Shack
17th S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.,
Ste. 212,
Fort Lauderdale.
Call 954-463-7425, visit here.

Lulu's is an unadulterated year-round spring-break joint where

barely legals sip Technicolor liquor from giant fish bowls and a cover

band blasts Blink-182 hits in the background. Photos of bikini-clad,

sun-bronzed beach bunnies and New Orleans-style art cover the chipped,

dingy walls; everyone and their grandma has carved names and dirty words

into the wooden tables; giant vats of slushy frozen drinks churn behind

the bar.

As I wandered the restaurant, looking for an empty spot (there weren't

many), I passed a slew of skinny bartenders in short-shorts, a

tattoo-covered girl dipping fries at a table alone, and an

intimate-looking couple sharing a cigarette over Heineken. I paused at a

packed table of boys in ball caps and chicks in camis.

"How's the fish bowl?" I asked Jeremy, who had a shaved head and wore a tank top.

"It's called Tropical Ecstasy," he said, tearing his mouth from the long yellow straw. "It's very good - but very alcoholic." Erin, the dark-haired girl sitting beside him, gave me a blank, heavy-lidded look.

"You should order one," Jeremy advised.

In search of a menu, I circled back around and encountered Lara, a petite bartender with dark, slick hair.

"Are you guys worried about competition from Da Big Kahuna?" I asked.

"Nah," Lara said. "We have fishbowls and a view overlooking the water. Plus, that new lounge we opened in February."

"What?" I asked.

She pointed, past their racks of self-promotional T-shirts.

Lulu's most recent development is brilliant. It's a chill-zone, mostly occupied by older folks who want to consume mass amounts of liquor but do it far away from a spring-break-type crowd. The best part: It's got full air-conditioning, and the music (I walked in to "Cooler Than Me," by Mike Posner) isn't deafening. I walked past picnic-style benches, a photo booth,the U-shaped bar,and two creepy/hot mannequins (both had crisp hair, pouty lips, and prominent nipples poking through their T-shirts).

Nearby, Tonni, Katie, and Brandon, a trio of good-looking regulars, were consuming a few margaritas and chit-chatting.

"How's LuLu's treating you tonight?" I asked.

"Oh, we're regulars," said Brandon. "We like this quieter new section; nice people, good drinks."

"Ever had a fishbowl?" I asked.

"The fishbowl is a good time," said Katie. "I can't tell you much else though, since I don't remember most of my fishbowl-related experiences."

Finally, I got my hands on a menu and studied the options. With names like "Banana colada," "Pirate's ecstacy," "Sexy Monkey" and more pina coladas, hurricanes, and mojitos than you could shake a bus-full of springbreakers at, I couldn't imagine how anybody ever made up their minds. The fishbowls were 84 ounces, and came in flavors such as "Purple Jester" and "Gator Bite." An enticing rumrunner called "Pain in the Ass" boasted that its ½ pina colada, ½ rum-runner blend is a Florida Keys tradition. Clearly I was going to have to go to the experts.
I approached two idle servers.

"Ladies, what should I order to drink here?"

"I'm not 21 yet, so I wouldn't know," said the brunet, with shifty eyes.

"Well, what do you like?" the blonde asked.

"Strength," I clarified.

"Oh, Tropical Ecstasy or Purple Jester fishbowl," she said. "Both are topped off with 151, which will mess you up."

Sold.

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