Night Watch: Southport Raw Bar

Southport Raw Bar
1536 Cordova Road, Fort Lauderdale
Call 954-525-CLAM, or visit southportrawbar.com

There are portholes on the doors and a map of the Gulf of Mexico on the booth in front of me. Southport Raw Bar celebrates all the grit of the oyster-shucking, hard-drinking boating culture. The place has musty green carpet; ancient ceiling tiles with advertisements painted on them; a long, chipped bar; ratty booths; and is covered in kitsch (beach scenes painted on driftwood and mounted on the walls; flickering neon beer ads; "Old Florida" surfer décor).

Its saving grace is its mesmerizing waterfront view and comfortable

environment: In the days before the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, "Sweet

Home Alabama" played over the 'Port's speakers, bartenders served up a

plethora of tried-and-true brews (Yuengling, Stella Artois, Dos Equis,

Amstel, to name a few) and a crowd of boaters, babes, and bad-asses made

small talk. It seemed to be the perfect place for aspiring yachtie

groupies to hang out, so after a few moments I docked myself at the bar.

Lonnie, the on-duty manager, wore glasses and a crisp shirt.

"Boats dock here all the time," he told me hurriedly.

"Are you anticipating a big crowd during the boat show?" I asked.

"After the boat show," he assured me. "Everyone will be here."

Well, that wasn't good enough. I turned to a passing waitress.

"Hey, say someone wanted to hook up with a boat captain," I said. She gave me a look that
was possibly one of judgment.

"That shouldn't be hard here," she said over her shoulder. "But a word of warning: They won't be the best looking."

Curiosity

piqued, I wandered outside to the waterfront patio. A few fishing boats

were docked nearby. Blue lights illuminated the diverse crowd drinking

at the scattered wooden tables. I breathed in the thick, salty air

before darting back inside and nearly running into Amanda, a hot

bartender chick who had elaborate, beautiful tattoos winding up and down

her arms.

"If I wanted to hook up with a boat captain," I said. "Would that be possible?"

Amanda didn't miss a beat. She whipped out her phone.

"I can call one right now," she said, her tongue ring flickering in the low light.

"No ... OK, thanks, but ..." I stammered. "Well, is he good-looking?"

Her eyes flashed and she hesitated. "Uh..."

"No, huh?" I asked.

"I'm not a good liar," she admitted.

She was at least happy to indulge me in a guided tour of her tattoos.

"My

boyfriend does them," she told me, exhibiting a plethora of hues,

patterns, and an unfinished sketch of a female face. "Some aren't done

yet," she added before lifting her shirt slightly to reveal a black

widow spider sitting in a web, looking about as adorable as a deadly

insect ever could.

"We have matching ones," she said, grabbing the

arm of Damean, a nearby patron, and turning his wrist to reveal an inky

black tattoo of a big, venemous spider. Damean had dark, closely cropped

hair and sported a chinstrap-style beard.

"I know some captains too," he said. "But they're, like, $300,000 a year captains. They...don't hang out here."

He smiled a little.

"Whoa," I said. "Are those ones hot?"

"None

of them are hot," he said. "Look, captains are not hot. Maybe you'll

find a hot steward or something. What they do is, they hire a bunch of

hot chicks with big tits to crew. They're hot."

Before I could speak, he quickly added: "Don't get offended. That's nothing against women. It's just that, sex sells."

I

rolled my eyes. "I work for New Times. We have a half-naked chick on

the cover every week. It's unfortunate, but you're right."

"Oh,

another thing," Amanda added. "If you do meet a guy who wants to take

you back to his boat, make sure he owns the boat. Once I went with a guy

to 'his' boat and it turned out later that he was just chartering it."

She thought for a second. "But that one was cute. Most of 'em are

missing a few teeth."

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