Just got back from 4 days of doing nothing in Florida but sitting around reading, drinking, and looking at co-eds down for Spring Break. The Spring Break part wasn't planned; the trip was originally supposed to go off last week, but one of the guys going down on the trip couldn't make last weekend, so we rescheduled.
I did follow the local sports teams as best as I could down there, but I did refuse to bring my laptop; it's not getting away if you bring civilization with you. I was happy to see that both of the winter sports teams are still in the mix, playoff-wise, for their respective sports and was even pretty much OK with the decision to let Takeo Spikes go (especially if it's a precursor to a bigger move to get a WR).
A couple of things I did manage to do in South Florida was to hit a couple of bars with a local flavor:
1.) Pat Croce's Rum Barrel: In Key West, towards the Mallory Square end of Duval Street, you make a right onto Front Street (very appropriate) and on the corner of Front and Simonton, you find a bit of Philadelphia in Pat Croce's Rum Barrel bar. It is adjacent to a Pirate museum that Pat set up down there that I was lucky enough to visit a couple of years ago.
I would imagine it is sort of tough to find a niche in the Key West bar scene; there are alot of legendary places to visit such as Sloppy Joe's, the Green Parrot, and Rick's/Durty Harry's. But Pat's place, just off of the beaten path has good potential to hang around for awhile.
As you enter the place, there is a pretty large bar on the left and table seating on the right. The pirate motif is everywhere; even on an Eagles shirt that the bar sells.
When I went (about 8pm or so), there didn't seem to be much of a crowd. They had the Sixers-Sonics game on one of the TVs and yes, they had plenty of pictures of Philadelphia athletes (a couple of weird ones too.....Terry Harmon, Greg Gross.....such odd selections).
I and my friends ate at the bar; one of my buddies had the jerk chicken wings ($8.95.....he liked them) and I had the cajun shrimp po' boy with extra hot sauce ($9.50......good sandwich with plenty of shrimp). The prices were reasonable (for Key West, that is) and the portions were pretty good.
There were two highlights of this visit:
- The discovery of their signature drink, the Rum Barrel. Pretty good good drink (can't remember the price) served in a pint glass and contained Bacardi Select, Bacardi Gold, Bacardi 151 with cranberry, pineapple, and OJ with a splash of grenadine. Had about 5 of these things and they knocked me on my ass.
- The first floor (thankfully) wasn't the extent of the place. They had an upstairs bar called the Quarterdeck, which was an outside deck that had another bar and live entertainment. The atmosphere was lively (it was Spring Break) and when we discovered this part of the place, we ended up sticking around for awhile.
While it is not one of the legendary Key West bars, Pat Croce's Rum Barrel is definitely worth a visit and who knows? You sure have a better shot of seeing Pat Croce in Key West than you do Jimmy Buffett.
2.) The Parrot Lounge (Ft. Lauderdale, FL): For some reason, I have never considered going to Ft. Lauderdale for any sort of vacation. I might have to reconsider as there seems to be much more to do than I ever expected there (again, it was Spring Break, so maybe it was just the timing of my visit).
The Parrot Lounge was a place I had heard about in news reports and read about in the papers, but I finally was able to visit. There are two rooms in this place. Where you enter, there is a medium sized bar with a ton of televisions. Now, I had heard about this place as a great "Eagles" bar, but I have to say, I was unimpressed by what I saw upon initial entry.
The second room in the place is off to the left and that allowed me to see what made this some great Eagles bar. There was an entire wall painted with Philly sports logos. There were old Sports Illustrated covers of Philly athletes and a ton of old pictures of players of all the 4 major Philly sports teams. I was pleasantly surprised, as a Penn State alum, to see plenty of PSU stuff as well. It looked like my memorabilia collection threw up in their bar.
Now, after 4 straight days of drinking like Nic Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas", I couldn't force down another alcoholic drink. They did have a good selection of beers (BTW: you can get Yuengling in Florida rather easily). Our group did manage to grab a bite to eat. Their menu had a touch of Philly with the ubiquitous cheesesteak and even soft pretzels (listed under "snacks"). My buddies had the wings and a double-cheeseburger, respectively. Both enjoyed their meal. The best I could force down? A bowl of wedding soup, which was also pretty good.
The place did not appear as if it could support live music, but appeared to be a typical Irish pub type establishment. If you're in Ft. Lauderdale, I definitely recommend this place; this bar and the area around looks like a lot of fun at night. Ideally, you'd hit this place during football season during an Eagles game. The bar is also only a block off of the beach, so it's location is pretty good too.