When the weather is shitty, your boss is pissed, your dog dies, and no one seems to understand, there's only one thing to do: Stop being a pain. Life is pain, Princess. And the only way to survive it is by going to your happy place. My happy place exists in the form of booze-dispensing joints, which I frequent almost constantly. Behold! The following is an account of my journey through the happiest bars in South Florida.
Rosie's Bar & Grill: Rosie's (no affiliation to Ms. MacDonald, one flamboyant bartender pointed out) is perpetually busy and quintessentially Florida. Pink spotlights bathe the nightspot's surrounding palm trees; its booming bass is audible for miles; the patio is packed every single night of the week.
My two wingmen and I opted for patio seating and were led past a glass case full of Rosie's T-shirts (including one with this Sapphic message: "You have a kind face — the kind I like to sit on!"). Sexy pop-music videos flashed across the flat-screen TVs; photos of starlets, old movie posters, and vanity license plates ("PRINCESS") spattered the pink walls. Random decoration: a small Cruella de Vil doll poised within the confines of an oversized, red-sequined, high-heeled shoe. The white rafters were adorned with tiki masks, framed photos, and stuffed animals. The clientele was diverse: Rosie's has beauties and beasts, geezers and youngsters, intimate couples and rowdy groups. All are dispersed among the high tables, booths, and barstools.
Outside on the patio, under a ceiling of colored paper lanterns and fairy lights, my wingmen — Beard, my facial-hair-sporting drinking partner, and Shaun, his best friend and former frat brother — scoped out the variety of drink and snack selections and listened in as the two dudes behind us discussed Brad Pitt at length. The menu featured a cartoon drawing of a plump brunet on the front. She was pictured in heavenly voluptuous glory, wearing a black dress and white feather boa and seated atop a white bulldog with pink polished toenails. A beach scene stretched across the background.
"Rosie's buxom," Beard observed, tracing her bulky cleavage with his index finger.
"Certainly curvaceous," I said, pointing at her chunky calves.
"She's luscious," Shaun said.
I've always been all hips and lankiness my entire life; Rosie's goddess-like figure evoked slight jealousy deep in my bony core. Definitely a lush; not quite luscious.
Looking for a bit more entertainment, I sauntered indoors — to an uptempo remix of Kim Wilde's "Keep Me Hangin' On" — and hopped up to the bar. Ron, the slight, tanned bartender, was drying glasses and happy to recommend a Rosie's mojito, bloody mary, or piña colada (their most-requested drinks).
"Who's Rosie?" I asked.
"Rosie is... very fun-loving, confident," he said. "She loves traveling... has a big, loving family, but she's always off vacationing somewhere new."
"The place used to be called Hamburger Mary's," he continued. "The owners wanted to keep everything feminine-themed, but they're two gay guys."
"So Rosie doesn't exist," I said, a little disappointed.
"Well, she's actually based on one of the waitresses here," he said, pointing across the room. "Danielle! The one with the ta-tas!"
Sure enough, a plump, buxom babe with cropped dark hair was carrying a tray of hamburgers across the room. She dropped off the plates and stopped by to see what Ron was yelling about.
"You're Rosie," I said.
"Yup, there I am on the menu," said Danielle, pointing. "Large calves and all."
On my way back outside, I noticed a large group of women who were loudly celebrating and sipping fruity drinks.
"What's going on?" I asked a girl wearing an off-the-shoulder green sweater and heavy matching eye shadow.
"We're celebrating two birthdays today," she informed me.
"Woo! Twice the drinking!" I said.
"I'm one of the birthday girls!" said a girl behind me. She was tall and sturdy, with sparkly makeup, long blond hair, and a perfect doll face.
"You barely look like you're turning old enough to drink," I said in a predatory quasilesbian way. "What's this, your 23rd?"
"I'm sorry, I don't know you," she said, catching me up in a gleeful hug, "but I like you. I'm actually turning 28!"
I didn't know if she was drunk, but I like hugs from hot girls. I made my way back out to the patio, ready to enjoy more beverages, flashing lights, and ultra-upbeat pop music. And if that's not happiness, I don't know what is.
The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery: The Funky Buddha is the ultimate happy place all the time, but especially lately — now that it's fixin' to open a microbrewery, has added kava to its menu (which already boasts coffee, shots, cappuccinos, teas, beers, mixed drinks, appetizers, and ales), and has moved to a new, bigger location. And it's also especially happy on Wednesday open-mic nights: Cover charge goes to charity, and the place gets slammed with Boca Raton's most talented amateurs.