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Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop: Charitable Drinking Leads to Looney Mayhem On Saturday

The CDC defines binge drinking as a man consuming more than five drinks, and a woman four, in a span of two hours. Well, this past Saturday at Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop's third event of the year, some attendees boasted eight drinks in that time. But don't worry, the proceeds went to charity. This is one hangover everyone can feel good about.

It began early on Saturday night with well-mannered 30-something professionals at Blue Martini, but as the trolley continued its wayward path, the crowd got younger, drunker, and more libidinous.

With Bud Lights and vodka cranberries the drink of choice, the bus loop was not so much about trying signature concoctions as it was a circus, where bartenders and trolley drivers were left serving entitled drunks who forgot to tip. Stumbling across A1A, Las Olas, and Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard in search of the next booze trolley stop, the drunk led the even more drunk for a night of bibulous debauchery.

See also: Saturday Fort Lauderdale's Bus Loop Will Drive You To Drink

Fort Lauderdale's bus loop began in August 2007 and most riders on Saturday had already attended one before. However, it was this reporter's first. Seeing the daunting list of nine venues and the included drink on arrival, I parked opposite the commotion at the mall --there was an estimated 1,800 attending-- at a parking meter and pre-gamed with espresso shots at Starbucks. I was inducted into the charitable bar crawl with a fluorescent orange wristband and drink card at the entrance of the Galleria Mall.

8:05 p.m.: Blue Martini

Approximately 17 footsteps from the check-in table, Blue Martini was almost at capacity as a live band performed Top 40 favorites behind the neon-lit bar. No rowdy drunks yet, the crowd preferred to sing along with Shakira's Hips Don't Lie instead of dancing --it was after all only the first spot and no one wanted to risk spilling drinks on their outfits this early in the night. Service was quick as a bartender whipped up my vodka tonic without looking. Another drink card for after 11 p.m. was handed out on exit to lure bus loop riders back at the night's end.

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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson

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