The bars in Fort Lauderdale are vast and varied, and there are unique bars for different walks of life practically anywhere you go. From Irish-style pubs and beach hide-aways to swank speakeasies and dive bars, the bars in Fort Lauderdale are as multi-cultural, unique, and multi-dimensional as the inhabitants of the city itself - both locals and tourists. Fort Lauderdale is a great drinking city - full of unique, stylish bars, numerous pub crawls that connect the best of them, and a fascinatingly fun nightlife.
So, if you're looking for a couple of great places to have a drink in Fort Lauderdale, meet with a friend, or scope out where the locals like to avoid the herd, here are a few of the best bars in Fort Lauderdale!
One of our favorites, Apothecary 330 is a speakeasy style bar in downtown Fort Lauderdale, located on the main drag known as Himmarshee. It's a low light, casual, and era-appropriate in a way that many speakeasy replicas forget. The best part? Apothecary 330 has some of the best cocktails in town.
Original artifacts adorn the walls, which you'll study while sitting on plush velvet and leather furniture, all while watching talented mixologists climb the bar ladder to get you what you need to make your favorite drink. It's small, secretive, and a place that you'll most likely miss unless you get the word from a local!
Who this bar is best for is the discriminating drinker that enjoys the classics with a twist. It's the kind of place that great mixologists from other cities probably visit first when they come to Fort Lauderdale - that always tells you something. Plus, while it can get very busy on Friday and Saturday nights, Apothecary 330 still has a laid back vibe that's welcoming for a "gentleman drinker" who is looking to have a few sips of a truly great creation. It's also a great date night spot in Fort Lauderdale, and one of our favorites!
Rhythm and Vine
Admittedly not as refined or casual as Apothecary, Rhythm and Vine also isn't trying to be. The half-indoor, half-outdoor bar features a beautiful faux lawn area where they serve everything from basic bottles to crafted creations out of an old-school Airstream van - trust me, it's awesome, and something you have to see to love.
If you're a single lad or lass coming through Fort Lauderdale, this might not be such a bad place to hang out. Rhythm and Vine is a young, hip, high energy bar that features dancing and music both inside and out, and is one of the most in-demand bars in Fort Lauderdale for locals that live in the downtown Fort Lauderdale area.
Rhythm and Vine is best for the mixer, the person who loves meeting new people, working up a sweat dancing, and letting themselves have a great time. Also, Rhythm and Vine is one of the few great dance bars in Fort Lauderdale that also offers food, as they very frequently bring in local food truck entrepreneurs to serve their guests! (Our favorite is D-Land, a mixture of Detroit and Cleveland culinary classics).
Fox and Hounds
Fox and Hounds in Fort Lauderdale is a true British Pub located just north of downtown Fort Lauderdale. It's one of our favorite places to visit when we're back home, because it's a way to step inside and feel like you've been swept away to one of our favorite places - England.
Fox and Hounds is a classic pub - there's no frills, just great beer that comes straight from the U.K. It's also a very popular location for British and Irish expats living in South Florida, and one of the best places to watch a football/soccer match.
No game on? No problem, as Fox and Hounds is a great place in Fort Lauderdale to have a Guinness and shoot some pool, or maybe get crushed by a Brit in a game of darts. It's the perfect place for anyone who has a genuine respect for U.K. culture, who has traveled to England and misses it, and of course expats or tourists from overseas who find themselves in Fort Lauderdale (and maybe want to find a little slice of home).
Undoubtedly the most famous bar in Fort Lauderdale, and the beach location featured in the 1960 film Where The Boys Are that put Fort Lauderdale on the map as a Spring Break destination, Elbo Room is still as popular as when it opened 1938. I mean, seriously, how many bars have their own Wikipedia page?
Today, Elbo Room is constantly busy. The history is a big part of the reason for this, but so is the location. It's the definition of a "beach bar", facing the Atlantic Ocean and one of the first places reddened tourists stumble to after the sun has burned them to a crisp (did I mention it's hot here?). Elbo Room commonly features great local acoustic artists, bands, cover artists, and the beer flows constantly. Don't forget, however, that Elbo Room is cash only and doesn't take cards.
This bar is perfect for the beach-goer here on holiday that wants an affordable drink, a touch of Fort Lauderdale history, and one of the most relaxed environments you'll find anywhere. Do keep in mind that Elbo Room is nearly always busy, and a place where you'll have plenty of time to meet locals, strike up a conversation, and get to know a diverse, beach-loving crowd.
Park & Ocean
We love Park & Ocean! This bar, located in the interior of Hugh Birch State Park on Fort Lauderdale Beach, is a beach-facing establishment within the park that speaks to everything we love about Fort Lauderdale. There's an element of nature, music, great food, great drinks, and a casual, outdoor atmosphere that is exemplary of the reason people visit Fort Lauderdale.
It's an open-air establishment that is really more a function of the part and located near the check-out area for excursions within the park such as kayaking and paddle-boarding. Living only a few miles from here, we like to ride our bikes here, grab a beer and a bite of food, and use the park-only access to the beach, where it's much less crowded and incredibly nice.
Speaking of food, did we mention that the food here is healthy and delicious? It's actually ridiculously good - ranging from great sandwiches and salads, to simple dishes like chicken salad with chia seed and avocado. It's one of our favorite, lesser-known places that we always take friends when they come to Fort Lauderdale!
You should go too!
So, if you're in Fort Lauderdale for a few days and looking for a place to grab a drink, pick one of these spots. No matter what you're into whether it's your love for the outdoors or the appreciation of a finely crafted cocktail, there's something everyone will love.
Useful Travel Resources for Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale Map – Plan your trip around Fort Lauderdale with this handy map
RentalCars.com – Great site for comparing rental car prices
Skyscanner.net – Our favorite place to book cheap airline flights
Expedia.com – Book affordable accommodation or bundle flights and hotels in Fort Lauderdale.
Recommended Guidebook: Fodor's South Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and The Keys
Suggested Reading: Fort Lauderdale: Playground of the Stars