At a smoky pub on Powerline Road in Pompano Beach called Greenbrier Restaurant, there's a long-standing, much cherished tradition known only to the regulars and their servers: A patron stacks his cash tips in just such a way to cue the female bartender, who in a flash takes down her lingerie and scoops up the cash with her breasts.
These consenting adults did not, however, make bosom buddies out of Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti's office. Last month, investigators threatened to fine the dive bar if it persisted in what it deemed to be a lewd practice.
Granted, public exposure in an alcohol establishment not licensed for such things is against the law, technically. But bigger laws — the kind with actual victims — are happening elsewhere. Meanwhile, Greenbrier staff and customers executed an innocuous transaction: tit for tip.
"Who doesn't love boobs?" said a woman at the bar. Hearing no objections, she continued: "We, as customers, got to see some nice tits. And the bartenders all got big tips. It was win-win, and nobody was getting hurt."
Not wanting to incur any more special attention from the sheriff, managers at the bar declined to comment, though one bartender, dressed in a shiny pushup bra, a short skirt, and stockings, did say that the crackdown on top removals is a punch to her purse.
"People would be stacking dollar bills all night, just to watch us keep picking them up," she told me. "Some of us have seen our tips cut in half. It's really ridiculous. We've done this for years and nobody has ever complained. And if someone doesn't like it, this is the kind of place where nobody has a problem showing you the door."
Lamberti's office didn't respond to requests for comment.
Having assumed that the official objection was to exposed nipples, many of the bartenders wore pasties and continued picking up bills in their usual fashion. But that wasn't good enough. Officers insisted the women keep the whole breast covered.
With layoffs hitting every industry, with all the violent crime, the financial fraud, and the corrupt politicking around Broward, it's remarkable that BSO can find resources for a campaign of antimammary tyranny. But then, the breast has always been a polarizing force. And perhaps it's a comfort to some in the community — Puritans, for instance, or fugitives from Afghanistan's toppled Taliban regime — that they can roam through Broward free from the mortal danger of booby traps.