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South Florida's Best Bars to Take Out-of-Towners

Here in South Florida, we're pretty damned good at drinking -- particularly in bars. When someone visits from out of town, it's only right to share some of this talent with your guest. Given that our region is home to some pretty out-of-the-ordinary drinking destinations, you've got extra motivation to load up the visitors and ferry them to something a bit more unusual than your local hole in the wall or sports bar. Below are five of South Florida's best bars to take out-of-towners. As always, please let us know your picks -- and why they belong on this list -- in the comments section.

Mai-Kai Restaurant and Polynesian Show

The full dinner and show experience at this ultra-kitschy restaurant and lounge can get pretty pricey, but your guest will probably be just as entertained if you forgo the main course for a round or two of showy cocktails. Try the rum-soaked happy hour at the Molokai Bar from 5 to 7 p.m. daily and get half off appetizers. Keep an eye out for young lovelies in midriff-baring island garb, and toast to the good life over behemoth tiki drinks.

Laser Wolf

Not everyone who visits from beyond Broward's borders is interested in barley waters on the beach and Jell-O shooters. If you've got a hip visitor who turns her nose at the thought of guzzling a Miller Lite in the company of tourists, steer the party to this craft-beer emporium, where wolf paraphernalia lines the walls and house DJs seem utterly unfamiliar with the Jimmy Buffett oeuvre. When you need to impress upon your buddies that not everything in FLA is palm trees and valet parking, this is the small, dark watering hole to do it.

The Wreck

Want to be a good ambassador for Florida? Introduce your visitors to MeduSirena and her gorgeous troupe of mermaids -- yes, mermaids -- who make their playground in the hotel pool adjacent to this bar. Portholes in the pool allow you to watch the lovely ladies bend and twist their colorful tails in an acrobatic ritual. It's sensual enough to cause jaws to hit the polished wood bar but PG enough to bring along the kids. The show is at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays. Arrive early to stake a claim at the bar and get a few rum cocktails in before indulging in the fantasy.

Cap's Place Island Restaurant

Part of your objective when entertaining guests is to show off your insider credentials -- your backstage pass, as it were, to all of the local curiosities that fall off the main drag. It doesn't get much more off the beaten path than the bar at Cap's Place. Take a ferry to an "island" (in theory, not in geography) for waterside boozing at one of Florida's most storied establishments. History buffs and adventurists alike will get a kick out of the joint's bootlegger roots and walls lined with old-Florida knickknacks and photographs.

Elbo Room

Sometimes you have to give the people what they want. When your guests crave beach views, booze that never seems to stop flowing, and the possibility of catching a glimpse of a wet T-shirt, this Fort Lauderdale institution is the ticket. Two floors and an open-air layout provide the ideal vantage point for people-watching both inside and out. For those who demand spring break every single day of the year.

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Tricia Woolfenden

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