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Broward County Music & Nightlife
550 S. Rosemary Ave., No 244 West Palm Beach 33401; Tel. 561.835.8601
The chi-chi atmosphere at this CityPlace nightspot simply oozes hip. The toasty faux fire in the fireplace, recessed ceilings set off with red and blue indirect lighting, marble-lit bar tops, and live jazz in the background provide a perfect stage for the martini to cut loose and show off. Mr. Jenkins, the suit-wearing Tanqueray poster boy, would definitely give his nod to the sleek watering hole. Among the more popular of the 20 varieties of imbibable treats at the prime people-watching locale: The Masterpiece Martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives, the Chocolate Martini, a Sex and the City martini, and, of course, the bar's namesake drink.
52 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach FL 33444; Tel. 561.330.3232
The excitement of watching a live band tear it up in someone's cozy living room is usually isolated to hazy, half-remembered high-school nostalgia. But the owners of Dada, a renovated quasi-Victorian home that serves as a restaurant/bar/performance space, have been taking their ginkgo biloba and remember that intimacy with perfect clarity. It's not a bad place for a preshow nosh session, either: the baked brie is more addictive than crack. This well-appointed portal to bohemia in downtown Delray Beach is a much-needed retreat from the stifling homogeneity of strip-mall concert halls that South Floridians have come to expect. If you're looking for small, low-key shows that keep it among friends but still pack the room, it can't be bettered. Dada's comfy confines have provided an unassuming, down-home setting for indigenous favorites like A Kite Is a Victim, Remember the Ocean, and Pank Shovel.
16 E. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach FL 33444; Tel. 561.297.4792
Made-up gals with lip gloss in full display populate the dance floor, which resembles an upscale living room, with draperies, mirrors, and sleek seating. Sexy house music pulsates in the minimalist modern venue. Miniature shade lamps dimly light the black bar in the main room, teeming with clubgoers as if they've been coming here for years. Beautiful people ease into comfortable chatter, keeping the carafes and bottles tipping as they recline on the bed-like seating in the VIP section of the outdoor area. The fashion-savvy crowd of 20-somethings sports designer duds. More are cued up outside, 20 deep sometimes, waiting to cross the velvet rope into the so-South Beach atmospherics, minus the cover charge and the attitude. No Doubt partied at the Delray Beach club after performing last year at Sunfest. Frontwoman Gwen Stefani requested reggae. The club's diverse musical offering each night appeals to even the nonelectronica types with hip-hop, reggae, and retro. (Review: New Times Broward Palm Beach)
Lumonics Light Museum
3017 NW 60th St., Fort Lauderdale 33309; Tel. 954.979.3161
Anyone who was old enough to experience the first round of rave culture and still young enough to give a damn, do you remember PLUR? You know: Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect? That was the motto behind raves when they first started, before the atrocious morph into the disgusting, cooler-than-thou mentality that now occupies clubs from South Beach to Los Angeles. When raves moved to a professional atmosphere, it was only a matter of time before the moneyed few distorted everything. Thanks, guys. But a few places still hang on to the good-vibe mode of thought, and Lumonics is one of them. Each weekend, for about $12 to $15, a spectacular light-and-sound show is followed by a dance party with some of the finest DJs around today. It's sort of like being at Level, only without all the jerks.
3051 NE 32nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale FL 33308; Tel. 954.566.9686
Enter the tent of white sailcloth and gauze. Supreme Beings of Leisure play on the stereo, which is apropos, as leisure reigns supreme here. Proceed to the marble-top bar and order a drink, which will be ready in approximately the amount of time it takes to cast your lazy gaze across the Intracoastal. It's all trendy white upholstery in here, like a J.Lo video, but somehow you're too chilled out to care. Perhaps you could be bothered to amble into the dark-wood lounge, where the music's louder, the light is darker, and candles flicker in the fireplace. You are feeling... supremely languorous. Nevis. Rhymes with bliss.
Pompano Beach Amphitheatre
1801 NE Sixth St., Pompano Beach FL 33060 ; Tel. 954.946.2402
Considering that many South Floridians wisely take advantage of the environmental niceties our climate offers -- at swimming pools and in convertibles, for instance -- you'd think outdoor music venues would be on durn near every street corner. They aren't. But there are a few choices. For an experience that can be duplicated at any massive, corporate-monikered shed in the country, you can make the journey to MARS in far west West Palm Beach. Or you can choose to investigate downtown Pompano's wonderfully intimate and unpretentious outdoor theater, which recently hosted performances by Cake, Tenacious D., the Cult, and String Cheese Incident. The venue could very well be expanded and start booking acts on a more regular basis, but then someone would have to move the bedrooms of this bedroom community -- which are so close that shows here must begin and end quite early. You know, come to think of it, this place is perfect just the way it is.
The Culture Room
3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale FL 33306; Tel. 954.564.1074
Sometimes, it's hard to profess love for the Culture Room because, well, it's a Fort Lauderdale institution, which usually means a place is tacky. But that's exactly why we love the Room, a '70s throwback that nonetheless hosts a never-ending procession of local and national acts -- more than any other live music venue in the area, come to think of it. The retro point of view manifests itself with a wide assortment of bands from the hard-rock side of the spectrum, but what makes the Culture Room this year's clear winner is its commitment to diversity: Colorado-based hippies the Yonder Mountain String Band paid a recent visit, as did worldly dance sensation the Tom Tom Club, New Wave mascara victims Gene Loves Jezebel, metal refugees Blue Oyster Cult, nearly forgotten rockers Richie Havens and Savoy Brown, local arena-rock hopefuls Big Sky, punk legends the Damned and the Misfits, prodigal son Hank Williams III, one-hit-wonders Modern English, and many, many more -- with nary a cover band in sight. Maybe it's not such a Fort Lauderdale institution, thank goodness.
The Poor House
110 SW 3rd Ave., Fort Lauderdale FL 33301; Tel. 954.522.5145
There is no bastion of cool like the Poor House. Located in an ostensibly historic district (whose anchor is a new $65 million, pastel-shaded mall) in the center of a town bent on cannibalizing its own past, the rough wooden interior of the Poor House is as impervious to change as it is to termites. With no wet-T-shirt contests, frozen and microwaved artificial cheese sticks, displaced Abercrombie & Fitch models, or any of the other insufferable indignities other watering holes foist upon us, the Poor House specializes in a late-night ambience that isn't manufactured by a frat-boy focus group. It features actual live music, not Sublime cover songs. Its taps dispense real beer and microbrewed ales. It is bereft of pretense, and for that reason alone, it will remain Broward's best place to grab a beer or five.
300 SW First St., #201, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301; Tel. 954.467.8787
The sought-after super-VIP seats in front of the DJ booth are filled with Miami Dolphin players every other week. A seat in the high-profile section comes with use of the Sony Playstation, DVD player -- and bragging rights. A petite woman in leopard hotpants, bikini-type top, and high boots creates her own spectacle in the cage to the high-speed pulse of dance music. College-age coeds sandwich one another to Nelly's Hot in Herre, and girls take to the platforms and bust out grind moves. The other VIP area is spread out over three velvety sofas separated by sheer drapes and garnished with flat-screen TVs and vases of flowers. Slow down your groove to Buddha Bar-type beats in the lounge, complete with leopard-print décor, bar, and high-top service and TVs. (Review: New Times Broward Palm Beach)
Excerpts from the New Times Broward Palm Beach are ©2002 New Times Broward Palm Beach and republished with publisher's permission.
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