Restaurant Reviews

Chic, Upscale Tsukuro Is a Sign That Rowdy Fort Lauderdale Beach Is Ready to Grow Up

It's come a long way over the past couple of decades, but Fort Lauderdale Beach is still most widely known for its absurd spring-break antics from its heyday. Perms, short shorts, copious amounts of cheap booze: The beach was once a veritable frat house on steroids.

In the late '80s, that all started to change as the powers that be sought to discourage the rowdy riffraff and encourage better-behaved (and more lucrative) tourists. The strip is now interspersed with high-end resorts and eateries.

Even so, a fragment of the "glory days" still hangs on in the historic intersection of Las Olas Boulevard and A1A, with the ever-present Elbo Room and other bars clinging to cheap drinks and catering to tourists and local beach bums looking to get rowdy.

Tsukuro owner A.J. Yaari, who is the proprietor of many of the strip's bars and restaurants -- Spazio, Sangrias, Rock Bar, St. Barts Coffee Co., and the infamous watering hole Dirty Blondes -- has experienced the transitions firsthand; he started working on the beach making six bucks an hour at the tail end of the spring-break days.

"When the college students stopped coming, the business owners looked at it like a failure," says Yaari. "I saw an opportunity to start a business."

See also: Tsukuro on Fort Lauderdale Beach (Photos)

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Sara Ventiera