The Boca community, known worldwide for its early-bird specials and upscale lifestyles, hasn't offered drinkers and dancers too much in the way of late-night hard partying. That is, not until Baja Beach Club opened its doors last Friday night. Taking over the Club Boca location, Baja is open all hours (till 5 a.m.) from Wednesday to Saturday and has a somewhat modified energy from its "surf's up" feel of yesteryear as a Jersey Shore-type hot spot in the 1990s.
Best-known for serving the original body shots at its Fort Lauderdale location, Baja had eight venues around South Florida. None in Boca, though. Its spring-break spirit made it the place to go to lick whipped cream off buff, shirtless bartenders' nipples as they poured booze on their chests.
Fast forward to 2012. Baja's comeback looks like the stepchild of
yesteryear's wild child. Housed in a 12,000-square-foot space, created
by design impresario Callin Fortis of Big Time Design Studios, the opening party was packed with babes,
baby boomers, and a few seniors. Many were dressed to the nines in club wear
and others in laid-back beach attire. No hipsters were spotted. Perhaps the mainstream pop pumping out of the speakers scared them away? And the crowd didn't order a ton of body shots as we'd seen in the
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past, perhaps Boca doesn't care for "blow
The scene was festive as a crew of 20 staffers
intermittently took to various stages throughout the club for
choreographed dance sessions. Clad in bedazzled bikinis, cowboy gear, and
surf shorts, they revved up the crowd, packed like sardines, to LMFAO's "Sexy and
I Know It" and David Guetta's "Sexy Chick." As much as the staff serves
as eye candy, its spunk and friendliness foster a welcoming vibe,
something a bit refreshing to uncover in Boca Raton.
Outside the main dance room, there's the terrace bar, which is enclosed in fish
netting, where fish and shark fixtures hang from the ceiling. Buff
bartenders aside, the most amusing character in the club is the huge mechanical shark (instead of a bull). Grab those fins and take a ride. One drunk man tried
and fell to the floor, but in a fun way.
At the outside bar,
Tim, a former bartender at the Fort Lauderdale Baja, was there as part of the
150-staff reunion. He reminisced of his debauchery days back in the '90s
at the club. "Girls would ask for a light, and we would light our
crotch on fire."
"mountain climber," in which women patrons would paint their chests with
whipped cream and male bartenders would slide across the bar with a cherry
clenched in their teeth to deliver and lap up the puffy white substance. That's
one way to make a drink.
Back inside at a corner bar,
the first body shot of the night was spotted. A middle-aged blond was
busy with a face full of creamed-up booze, mopping it off of a tatted-up dude's
chest. He blew his whistle, and onlookers cheered. My friend still didn't jump at the suggestion of getting into that sort of activity just yet. The party was warming up, but it wasn't nearly as rowdy as those nights back in the '90s.
DJ played "Cotton Eye Joe," and the dancing crew was back on. It was time to leave. As we walked through the entryway, a
Pamela Anderson lookalike serving drinks inside a speed boat waved us
It was past midnight, and the line was still
long with clubbers ready to get their game on. Would the place get crazy as the night goes on? Certainly.
A couple of dudes
on motorcycles in the parking lot looked bored and were
about to leave. We had one question we thought Mr. Motorcycle Man would
know. "Have you ever been to the old Baja? Wasn't it a bit crazier than
tonight?" I asked.
"Yeah, it was tame tonight," he said. And then he summed it
all up, "It's Boca, not Fort Liquordale."
Baja Beach Club, 7000 W. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton. Call 561-362-7000, or visit bajaboca.com.