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Exploring the Fort Lauderdale Bar Scene
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Exploring the Fort Lauderdale Bar Scene

Mar 30th, 2015

Miami’s size and reputation as a party destination may cast a shadow over the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. bar scene. But it shouldn’t.

From dance clubs to cheap neighborhood dives, the Venice of America is home to bars for all occasions. Are you taking advantage of all Fort Lauderdale has to offer? If not, explore some of these local bars.

America’s Backyard

Located less than a mile from AMLI Flagler Village in the Himmarshee part of Fort Lauderdale, America’s Backyard is an open-air nightclub that gets loud on certain nights but remains relatively tame on others. Known more for its cocktails than its beer, it generally attracts younger crowds. It offers discounts to college students on Thursday nights, free drinks for ladies on Friday nights, and specials on bucket drinks and specialty cocktails on Saturday nights.

American Social

Equal parts retro and modern, American Social on Las Olas Boulevard has broad appeal. Exposed brick walls adorned with retro Life Magazine covers are perhaps the hangout’s most defining design feature, but even they are only a small part of the experience.

American Social’s outdoor seating area is divine in pleasant weather. An extensive around-the-world dining menu is underscored by a high-quality selection of draft beer. Claim one of the bar’s two self-serve beer tap tables, and top off your favorite craft brews on your own without having to crowd around the bar and vie for a bartender’s attention. All of this is located within walking and cycling distance of AMLI Flagler Village.

Culture Room

Fans of metal and grunge tend to congregate at this two-story live music venue, but not all of the music you hear here is on the heavy side. The Culture Room is a bit too hipster for some and a bit too gritty for others, but the only way to know whether or not it’s your scene is to check it out yourself.

Dicey Riley’s

A longtime favorite of Fort Lauderdale bargoers, Dicey Riley’s is great because it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. The Irish pub, located in the Himmarshee area, is cheap, loud, and unpretentious. If you want to enjoy a no-nonsense pint of Guinness or a Jameson without paying a high premium, this is the place to be.

Kim’s Alley Bar

A recipient of the New Times Broward-Palm Beach award for best neighborhood bar, this inexpensive dive offers a comfortable, jovial atmosphere for enjoying a drink. It may look like a bar designed by hipsters, for hipsters. But, at more than 50 years old, Kim’s Alley Bar is about as historic as Fort Lauderdale nightlife hotspots get.

The Laser Wolf

Where the American craft beer scene is concerned, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bar that can give The Laser Wolf a run for its money. Just a ten-minute walk north of AMLI Flagler Village, it consistently rotates the premium craft brews that flow through its dozen taps. In 2014, this Zagat-rated hangout was recognized as one of the 100 best beer bars in America by Draft Magazine. Complete with live music and a comfortable courtyard, The Laser Wolf boasts a cool, unpretentious vibe that many of its beer-loving patrons can’t get enough of.

Original Fat Cat’s

Another divey hangout featuring live, local talent and a large selection of cheap beer, Original Fat Cat’s is worthy of the attention it gets. The atmosphere is dark and the decor understated, but it’s got good beer and prices nobody can argue with. Original Fat Cat’s is located on Himmarshee, practically next door to American Social and less than a mile from AMLI Flagler Village.


Rounding out the dive bars is PoorHouse, a Himmarshee area hangout and bar scene institution. Live music, cheap beer, and a friendly (if boisterous) crowd make it a favorite dive bar for many locals.


Deviating from cheap dive bars, we close out this list by highlighting Stache, a 1920s-inspired drinking den. Another Fort Lauderdale bar located within walking distance of AMLI Flagler Village, Stache is the highest-rated cocktail bar in the area. Drinks are pricey, but satisfying. The fine spirits featured in the bar’s expertly mixed drinks match the library drinking room’s vintage atmosphere.

Las Olas and Himmarshee are two of Fort Lauderdale’s nightlife “hubs.” What are you waiting for? Get out and enjoy the gems of the lively and authentic Fort Lauderdale bar scene.

What are your favorite Fort Lauderdale bars? Shout out to them in the comments.

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