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Fort Lauderdale Nightlife

Blue Martini
Galleria Mall
2432 E. Sunrise Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale , Florida
Tel: 954 653 2583

This burgeoning Florida chainlet of upscale lounges is stashed unprepossessingly on the ground level of the Galleria Mall. It's a shame about the location, because Blue Martini is a friendly, dressy setting for a drink or two; the martini list (half price daily from 4 to 7 p.m.) is heavy on sweet, exotic blends (try the Black Cherry Cosmo) and the snack menu offers finger food like jumbo-shrimp martinis or an assortment of sushi rolls. Among the dark wood and warm lighting, grab a table inside if you want to listen to the nightly live music show, usually light jazz or smoky vocals, or opt for one of the shaded patio spots if you'd rather chat.

Elbo Room
241 S. Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale , Florida
Tel: 954 463 4615

First opened in 1938, the Elbo Room hit headlines in the early 1960s when it became ground zero for the wholesome hipsters who flocked to Fort Lauderdale in its beach party heyday. The Elbo Room's popularity came down to one thing: the fab movie Where the Boys Are, in which the watering hole co-starred with Paula Prentiss and a young but already tanned George Hamilton (the less said about 1984's Lorna Luft-starring remake, though, the better). These days, the Elbo Room—now run by Miami's Penrod company, which created the tiki-themed Nikki Beach—is a firm frat-party favorite; unpretentious, beer-chugging, and flip-flop-friendly. Would dapper George approve?

Kalahari Bar
4446 N.E. 20 Avenue
Fort Lauderdale , Florida
Tel: 954 351 9371

Kalahari claims to be the only authentic South African bar in America; certainly, expat owners Hal and Dee Hofmeyr have managed to import a chunk of their homeland to an enthusiastic, slightly older South Florida clientele. The bar's decked out with zebra skins and African artifacts; expect the TV screens to regularly show homeland rugby games. The best time to stop by is Saturday, for karaoke; it's a reliable place to hang out, meet a few locals, and quaff South African beers like Castle and Windhock.

Pangaea & Gryphon
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel + Casino
5711 Seminole Way
Hollywood , Florida
Tel: 954 581 5454

Nightlife entrepreneur Michael Ault opened two spots simultaneously in South Florida last year—lured to the Hard Rock no doubt, by the chance of a 24-hour liquor license on Seminole land. Pangaea—a sibling to the New York City and Marbella spots—is a bar/lounge with a resident DJ (mostly hip-hop and heavy house); there's also an on-site musician who riffs along with the records using drums and maracas. The space adheres to an east African theme, with safari tent and African artifacts collected by Ault during his travels; the glossy twentysomethings here are on the hunt for two-legged rather than four-legged game. Gryphon is a louder, more frenzied nightclub with a sunken central dance floor and vaguely Cirque du Soleil atmosphere. Prime spot is the cordoned-off VIP area; open only for bottle service, it even has its own entrance (

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.