What Makes for the Perfect Bar? An Excuse to Drink Helps.

Categories: Booze Hound
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There were a legions of lousy bars in my hometown in Washington, D.C., in contrast to the library of great ones in South Florida. "The Perfect Bar" in this month's Garden and Gun notes that the South nurtures them because it encourages so many excuses to drink:

The South has produced such excellent establishments in which to drink "with somebody" because we have created such a cornucopia of fine, local, organically grown reasons to drink. Here are a few: Fishing. No fishing. Summer. Failing summer, Mardi Gras. Weeklong cotillions and/or "telephone book" weddings. Recovery from weeklong cotillions and/or "telephone book" weddings. SEC football championship, won. SEC football championship, lost. Cotton crop, good. Cotton crop, bad... The bars of the South have been designed to cradle and nurture this universe of infinite possibility.
For a bar to be perfect requires some vetting. On the one hand, it may be on the edge of something big. Lorelei in the Keys is cited as an example, the edge of civilization. Perhaps a spot on the ocean or the Intracoastal will do.

Or it's an absolute fire-trap shithole with great music: "Junior's has since burned to the ground as a result of what we might call terminal juke-joint-ness--meaning, the unholy combination of frayed 1930s wiring in a sharecropper's house and moonshine in the larder."

The common factor is that no one tries too hard. "Junior's effortlessly accomplished that stripped-down thing that often occurs in great Southern bars: It dove for the low end with such force and velocity that it punched through the bottom and came out on top."

I'm still exploring from Palm Beach to the Keys and continue to find great ones, though I haven't yet found mine. Got some nominees for South Florida's perfect bar? If so, leave them in the comments.


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8 comments
ted anthony inserra
ted anthony inserra

this is easy, thee greatest bar of all time==MAC'S CLUB DEUCE, in South Beach, on 14th between Collins and Washington, the oldest liquior in Miami Beach, great juke box, and large square shaped bar with bartender in middle, so you cas see and talk to everyone at the bar, a 7am happy hour, the early crowd is a mix of locals going to the beach, people still out clubbing and know THE DEUCE is still open, actually talked to a very drunk Eddie Vedder ,all alone, at the bar, pool table, and great neon signs, i ask==WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED, when i go there, it is like Norm walking into Cheers!!

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

I have to say that I'm partial to Maguire's Hill 16 because I've been going there forever. When I walk in I feel like I'm in the Ft. Lauderdale version of Cheers. Everyone knows my name...because it's carved in the bathroom stall (kidding, or am I?).

I'm also fond of Poorhouse for the same reason. I'm Norm, in case you were wondering but  after a few drinks, I turn into Fraiser. 

Misha Grosvenor
Misha Grosvenor

Sounds good, let's do it! I love that place. The food is pretty good too!

John L.
John L.

Do you mean football? :-P

John L.
John L.

Yeah, I mean it's terribly standard, but to echo Misha I'd have to say Maguire's. They pack up during matches so the place takes on a pretty lively feel. Kalahari Bar near Smitty's is probably a good place to watch, too. 

Melissamccart
Melissamccart

Yeah, that. (: Any other recs for closer football bars, John?

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