Quarterdeck's Fort Lauderdale Location Is Closing and Relocating After 53 Years

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Longstanding Fort Lauderdale restaurant and bar, Quarterdeck, will close its Cordova Road location after more than 50 years in business. The longtime South Florida haunt, recognizable by its kitschy decor including 100 fishing mounts, deep sea diving pictures, and antique ship models, estimates it's served more than 1.5 million dolphin sandwiches and one million full rib rack dinners over the years.

But this isn't the end for the beloved Broward watering hole: After the restaurant shutters on Sunday, April 21, it will move to a new space at 1035 SE 17th St.in Fort Lauderdale. Paul Flanigan — founder of the locally-based Old School Hospitality — says he tried to buy the Quarterdeck building but was not able to make the purchase. Instead, he bought the new location just over two years ago in preparation for the move.

Quarterdeck first appeared on the scene with the opening of the Big Daddy's Liquor Store and Lounge on Cordova Road in October 1966. The lounge was nicknamed the Quarterdeck, which stuck through Flanigan's purchase of the establishment in 1986. He opened a second location on Fort Lauderdale Beach in 1995 and later partnered with Frank Zaffere to open six additional Quarterdeck restaurants in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties from 1997 through 2004.

Flanigan says he has mixed emotions on the move. "I took over the business in 1985 and kept trying to buy the building, and over the years it's just become more and more run down. The sad part is the history, but we've made every effort to pay homage to the old location, bringing over the photos, wall decor, even the original booths. When you walk into the new Quarterdeck it still has the same look and feel."

Some of the biggest changes: the new 4,000-square-foot space will offer a new happy hour, lower price points for a number of dishes, and a few new menu additions.

Despite its long history on Cordova Road, Flanigan says he isn't upset. Instead, he encourages everyone to party like it's 1966. A weekend-long farewell party begins on Friday, April 19. The parking lot will transform into a celebratory space for cornhole, beer pong, Jenga, and other games. Several DJs will make an appearance over the three-day affair, including Lucian White, DJ WellFed Boy, and Marcus Amaya.

It's worth a stop by the original location before it's gone for good. The establishment has become a landmark of sorts and houses dozens of years of memories. Many had their first dates, anniversaries, birthdays, and special occasion dinners at the Cordova Road location. Others may remember the disco ball, DJ booth, dance floor, and the fire truck — all the unique things that made this restaurant so memorable.

"I can't tell you how many people have told me that they met their spouse at the Quarterdeck or that we have sponsored their class reunions," says Flanigan. "Fifty years is a long time. We now hire some high school students whose parents worked the Quarterdeck when they were young. Now it's time to make new memories."

Quarterdeck Closing Celebration. Friday, April 19, through Sunday, April 21, at 541 Cordova Rd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-524-6163; quarterdeckrestaurants.com.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.