Fort Lauderdale’s attackers are relentless: “It’s too sleepy. Too boring. Too cheesy. Not culinary enough. Not as mamacita-filled as a certain city 30 miles due south.”
These accusations can certainly be true — but only if you let them.
From craft beer to saner beaches, when you take a closer look, today’s (post-spring break) Fort Lauderdale can out-magic the Magic City any day of the week.
You just have to work a little harder to let it.
An no, we’re not high on flakka — to prove it, here are 10 ways Fort Lauderdale makes Miami look basic.
Despite Big Beer’s support of the draconian ban on growlers (64-oz. jugs) designed to keep Florida’s craft beer scene down, the Funky Buddha is alive and well.
Fittingly named, since no religious icon rocks a shameless beer belly quite like Siddhartha Gautama, this Boca-born craft brewery — now enjoying a 40,000-square-foot HQ in Oakland Park — is convinced it can replicate any flavor in beer form.
To wit: Their Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was named No. 1 porter in the world by ratebeer.com.
Catch a game in their taproom, sample the wares then tour the joint for half a sawbuck.
Central nervous system, schmentral nervous system. The countless jellies over at the W hotel’s Steak 954 restaurant don’t have time for them as they pulsate and dart about the restaurant’s 15-foot illuminated tank.
When they’re not invisibly stinging you out in the wild, nature’s discarded plastic bags are actually quite breathtaking indoors — especially after a couple of 151-proof-rum-infused Zombie cocktails (you can’t order more than two, by intergalactic law), when you’ll swear you’re right in there with them.
Technically this is a cafe, but this house of deep-sofa and board-game feng shui is all about the 550 kinds of craft beer it has occupying its many self-serve fridges and taps. Go beer for beer through the night, then count up your empties and pay up at the end — you’re on the honor system. Just time your visit right: Riverside’s Beer Bingo night is now the first Wednesday of each month.
More of a DIYer? Right across the street is the Craft Beer Cartel, which sells all sorts of gizmos, kegs and glassware to make your own beer at home (and, of course, ready-made beer). Noobs welcome, too, as the Cartel (so named because it’s a joint venture between a Native Brewing Company brewer and Riverside Market co-founders) frequently offers classes.
Better yet, you and 14 other dipsomaniacs can pedal around a gas-less, engine-less quadracycle on a pub crawl. You can drink onboard, as long as the alcohol A) is from the bars and restos visited along the route (i.e., not BYOB) and B) in a plastic cup. Otherwise, you’re good to go!
Cycle Party was conceived in 2012 by a couple of dreamers who wanted “to have fun and do no harm to anyone, including the environment.” See, booze might just be the key to stopping global warming.
Renting out a prime space on the ground floor of the Hilton Beach Resort, oceanfront S3 (sun, surf, sand), owned by the guys behind Fork & Balls, serves up wee plates of sushi, apps like mac and cheese and high-octane cocktails (don’t be fooled by their cutesy names) best enjoyed by the fire pits on their patio.
Wind up with a DUI as a souvenir on your last trip to Miami? In Fort Lauderdale — a k a the “Venice of America,” with its many waterways and canals — you can go hard all night and just Water Taxi back to your hotel, footloose and jail-free.
7. The pretty-people hotels are cheaper
If you’re prowling for sexy people sunbathing by guest-only pools, you have to shack up at the best hotels. In Miami, this cost can be astronomical. Not so in the Fort.
8. Alt.sports – http://www.strikers.com
Fort Lauderdale doesn’t claim a single top-division professional sports team — this is good news.
No jilted LeBron jersey-burning Heat fans. No pissed-off Marlins Park-subsidizing taxpayers. No sad-sack just-missed-the-playoffs Dolphins fans. No paradoxical Florida Panthers hockey fans who forget they live in the land of 80-degree winters. (Well, technically all those guys are here, but just less obnoxiously so than in Miami.)
The only pro-ish team in the city proper is the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a second-tier soccer team co-owned by Ronaldo, who encourages days out on the pitch with the fam/friends.
9. MIA is M.I.A.
Did we mention you don’t have to fly into Miami International?
10. Because we are the best!!!
#AndrewBarnett #Fortlauderdale #Ftlauderdale