10 Lessons the Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop Taught Me
|Photo by Betsey Denberg|
A night on Fort Lauderdale's Bus Loop is like casual sex, you get in, sweat your ass off, and get off as quickly as possible.
Although the event officially started around 6 p.m., I decided it was best to wait until the sun went down to get the party started. I knew space was going to be limited and eventually my feet would be hurting, so I immediately went into party girl survival mode. I left the heels at home, ditched the over-sized purse, and ate lots of carbs for dinner.
8:25 p.m.: Check-in at the Galleria Mall. I thanked my lucky stars for purchasing tickets in advance because according to the girls behind the table, the event sold out. Clearly drinking for charity really does work.
8:30 p.m.: The line at Blue Martini looked unreasonably long, so we decided to wait for the next available trolley and head to the beach. After standing at the trolley stop for 15 minutes, we realized we were actually at the Sun Trolley stop and not the Bus Loop stop.
Note to future Bus Loop planners: You're dealing with drunk people, make this event as simple as possible.
8:45 p.m.: Check-in at Blue Martini. Decided it was on the way to the first trolley so why not cash in on the free drink. Plus the line was short enough to deal with. Two frat guys attempted to push ahead of me in line like this bar was the end all be all places to be. Cue eye-roll. The door guy checked our IDs...really? I'm on the bus loop, if I couldn't drink why else would I be on it?
Went with the free glass of wine, decided it was better than Skoals vodka with cranberry. Peeked at the two cougar's Bus Loop card's next to me, they already had 60 percent of the stops marked off and it wasn't even 9 o'clock. They were in it to win it. Tipped my imaginary hat to them, chugged my wine and ran to catch the trolley.
Lesson #1: Cougars love the bus loop, and they can out-drink you.
Complaint: Blue Martini, this is a charity event, you should have really put some of your specialty martinis on the free list.
9:00 p.m.: Barely got onto the trolley. Literally. The bus driver squeezed the doors on me while I was boarding. I was not drunk enough to deal with that, but quickly recovered after seeing how empty and cool the bus was.
9:08 p.m.: Attempt to check-in Michael's Restaurant. Yes, attempt. Why? They were fucking closed!
9:11 p.m.: Walked to Bluefish Cafe, only to find out that it's a mob scene. Headed around the corner to McSorley's instead.There is a guy wearing a beer bucket on his head.
Lesson #2: The Bus Loop brings out the animals.
9:15 p.m.: Check-in at McSorley's. Needed a drink so badly at this point I didn't care what I was getting. Surprisingly enough, the lovely folks at McSorley's are giving out Yuengling as the free beer. Squeezed through the insane crowd of spring breakers wearing wayfarer sunglasses and singing along to Bruno Mars to get to the outside patio bar. There was a 50-something woman wearing a hot pink birthday crown dancing to "Whip My Hair". Two cops were hanging out at the entry way to the bar, laughing and pointing at the drunk idiots who were so obviously unaware of their presence. "Teach Me How to Dougie" blasted through the speakers, resulting in cheers from the crowd and some drunk white guy attempting to "Dougie" his way onto the sidewalk.
Lesson #3: People love to dance in non-designated dance areas at any given moment.
9:40 p.m.: Check-in at Bluefish Cafe. It was shockingly quiet in there now compared to our initial attempt at getting inside. At this point, the poster board with the list of free drinks available had a majority of the items checked off.
"So just exactly what do you have available for us bus loopers?" I asked the bartender.
"Well, what do you want? And I'll let you know." he replied.
Lucky for me I was able to get my hands on a cold Blue Moon. I don't even think that was on the actual list of free beers, but from the look of his face he was just over the night.
Outside a bohemian girl doused in patchouli entertained the drunkards with her hula hooping skills. The Blue Martini cougars from earlier suddenly appeared, still going and not showing any signs of fatigue. They should be crowned the Bus Loop Beauty Queens or something. A trolley pulled up and let out a heard of screaming drunks.
"Fuck the booze. I need some ice cream or some shit in my stomach!" yelled a large fellow to his stumbling friends.
While they ignored his requests, he ran across the street to Yo Mama's Ice Cream to cash in on his free scoop. Decided that I agreed with him and off to ice cream parlor we went.
Lesson #4: Bus loopers are not tipping.
Lesson #5: Bars run out of the free booze options very quickly.
10:00 p.m.: Check-in at Yo Mama's Ice Cream. You know in a movie scene when someone is in a desert, and upon arriving at their destination the sound of angels play? Sort of like "Ahhhhhhhh". That is what happened to me when I opened the doors of Yo Mama's. It smelled of ice cream dreams and candyland fantasies. I went for the chocolate chip cookie dough. At that moment in time, it was better than sex.