SOBEWFF 2017: Drink Fort Lauderdale and the Art of Tiki Are Friday-Night Bacchanals

Bottoms up, Fort Lauderdale.
Bottoms up, Fort Lauderdale.
Aleksandrs Muiznieks / Shutterstock.com
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Ever wondered what a speakeasy was like during Prohibition or wanted to sample the martini Sinatra used to drink? You can at SOBEWFF's Fort Lauderdale event, Drink.

The time machine-inspired cocktail party is one of the latest to be added to the festival's expanding Broward County lineup. It will be held at FATVillage, a quiet artists' enclave just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

According to SOBEWFF creator Lee Brian Schrager, the idea is simple: Give attendees an old-fashioned, experiential night of imbibing.

It's all part of the 16-year-old festival's continuing expansion into Broward. Until 2015, Miami-Dade's northern neighbors had to travel to South Beach to enjoy the fest's food and libations. Last year, the festival added the Taste Fort Lauderdale series, which included six events, from intimate, celebrity-hosted dinners to a 500-person fete.

This year, Giovanny Gutierrez, the brains behind Chat Chow TV, a popular video podcast dedicated to all things food and drink, has gotten involved. "I've participated and attended the festival for the past five years, so when the organizers came up to us asking to do something cocktail-related, we jumped on it and came up with Drink," says Gutierrez, who grew up in Fort Lauderdale. "With this event, you'll be able to time-travel across the decades via cocktails."

Gutierrez and his team will take guests for a ride on a cocktail time machine, beginning with the early 1900s and continuing through an imagined future. The idea, he says, is based on his success with Drink Miami, a similar series held at the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach.

The Fort Lauderdale event will take place in a reimagined FATVillage, where guests can travel through a custom-curated space complete with graffiti murals while sampling drinks from a dozen Broward and Miami-Dade bars.

"There will be everything from the 1900s French 75 to cool, futuristic molecular stuff," Gutierrez says. "But best of all, you'll also get to experience a never-before-seen collaboration between Broward and Miami-Dade bars and bartenders. This event will connect the bar industry in a way no one has before."

It's not all about the cocktails, he emphasizes. During the event, streets will be closed for a block party complete with food trucks curated by popular social media personality Sef Gonzalez, AKA Burger Beast. Plans to incorporate the adjacent FATVillage galleries and stores into the event are in the works.

"You'll not only be able to drink whatever you want but also eat whatever you want," Gutierrez says. "It's guaranteed to be one of the best SOBEWFF events of the year."

At the same time, Miamians can experience a bit of island time at the Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown. Food Network star Robert Irvine will host an evening of Polynesian flair with tiki-inspired cocktails from across the nation at the fashionable boutique hotel the Surfcomber. The event will feature some of the best bartenders from the most highly coveted tiki joints in America. There will be a tête-à-tête cocktail competition while guests sample all of the creations and enjoy light Polynesian-inspired bites.

Drink Fort Lauderdale: Cocktail Time Machine Experience, Part of the Taste Fort Lauderdale Series
10 p.m. to midnight Friday, February 24, at FATVillage, 521 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $95 via sobefest.com.

The Art of Tiki: A Cocktail Showdown Hosted by Robert Irvine
10 p.m. to midnight, Friday, February 24, at the Surfcomber Hotel, 1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $95 via sobefest.com.

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