by Fat Hand
While Black Friday is supposedly the biggest shopping day of the year, the day following the day following Thanksgiving has been declared a day to shop at small businesses. Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday, sponsored by American Express (I can’t decide if that sponsorship is ironic or not).
As we begin our holiday shopping, Small Business Saturday is a reminder that although the BestBuys and Targets of the world offer convenience, many of us would rather purchase our gifts at small, locally owned businesses. So here are a number of gift ideas from some of the region’s locally owned businesses:
1. Check out Discount Train & Hobby on Oakland Park Blvd. for an unbelievable selection of models and trains (211 E. Oakland Park Boulevard).
2. Buy your favorite blogger a record album from Radioactive Records, now located just south of Searstown (845 N. Federal Highway).
3. Quirky and artsy gifts geared toward girls at the funky Jezebel (1980 E. Sunrise Boulevard, in Gateway Plaza).
4. Give the gift of transportation by picking up a bike at George’s Cycle Shop (1029 S.E. 17th Street).
5. For that friend of yours that needs to relax, pick up a gift certificate for yoga classes or massage at Red Pearl Yoga (918 N.E. 20th Avenue).
6. If you must give a gift to a co-worker, pick up a bottle of wine at the wonderful and helpful 7th Street Wine Company (701 S. Federal Highway).
7. Be locally and globally conscious in one fell swoop by checking out the fair trade products of all kinds at Mission Gifts (1200 E. Las Olas Boulevard).
This list is just a starter of course, as there are many wonderful small and local businesses in our medium-sized city. So as you are out there looking for the perfect retail items to show your loved ones how you feel, give a small business a shot.
By Fat Hand
It seems like only yesterday that Ray Lewis, UM alum and Super Bowl XXXV MVP, was opening a new real estate office/art gallery on Las Olas. I cannot vouch for his real estate business, but the art gallery was kind of funny. The one time I stopped in, the vast majority of the art was either photographs or paintings of big number 52 himself. But sadly RL52 Realty on Las Olas Boulevard has closed down. We at the FTLC are not sure exactly when this happened, but we did notice this past weekend that although the “RL52” is still visible on the awning, the realty office/art gallery has been replaced with baby clothes and related crap. I know what you’re thinking: ew, babies.
In other sort-of-local sports news, Nathan Horton of the NHL champion Boston Bruins disappointed local sports fans when he chose to take the Stanley Cup to his small hometown of Dunnville, Ontario rather than to his hockey-mad transplanted home of Fort Lauderdale, Florida as had been previously reported, and where he lives with his smokeshow former Playboy model wife. Outrageous! Luckily JetBlue Airways has our back and took their sweet old time processing the Stanley Cup through the baggage check, causing the Cup to miss its flight and arrive several hours late for the Dunnville celebration. Don’t tread on us Dunnville, Ontario. You’re lucky it was just hockey, and not something really popular down here like jai alai.
By Fat Hand
There is a new bar on the way in our city’s highly successful Riverfront development. Just when it seemed it would be empty store-fronts all the way down, we get the Tap & Cork. Lucky us.
The upcoming Tap & Cork is just south of Argie’s Grill, right across the street from The Brick. From its window dressing it promises to be a beer, wine, champagne, and sake bomb bar. I could be wrong, but from my semi-professional drinking at Himmarshee bars that makes it the only place to get a sake bomb downtown.
Now, seeing as how the Tap & Cork is directly across from The Brick and just down the block from ArtBar, that means one of two things:
1) You will be able to see the bottom portion of the female bartenders’ asses; or
2) It will be the classiest bar on the block.
Either one sounds good to me. Bring on the sake bombs.
By Fat Hand
Stopping into Macabi’s Cigar Bar on Las Olas for an after-dinner drink on a recent weekend evening, your blogger had an interesting time. Macabi’s Cigar Bar is a relatively small but nice establishment with a bar on the right and a large case of cigars lining the full length of the room on the left (plus a full liquor store adjacent to the bar). An interesting mix of patrons were at the bar this evening including, for you single ladies, a smart and attractive bachelor orthopedist named Brian that volunteered months of his time in Haiti immediately after the earthquake. But this post isn’t just about good-looking, rich heroes or the wide variety of cigars, wine, and beer available at Macabi’s Cigars. It’s about the crazy proprietor Pat Patel.
Pat is nothing if not sociable. Exceedingly talkative to his guests and quite full of himself and his nice bar, at one point he bragged about winning a NewTimes Best Of award. Not surprised, considering the delicious wines and good cigars, I expected to see an award for Best Wine Bar or Best Cigar Bar. But no, the award he chose to show me was a framed NewTimes award from several years ago for Best Bar To Get Yelled At (turns out he has won Best Cigar Bar in other years). A little strange but believable from the salty behavior Pat had exhibited towards his bartender and patrons that evening, plus the stories Pat shared about kicking people out for spilled drinks or whatever other behavior Pat found offensive.
Pat is too interesting to ignore. Not only did he provide us thirsty customers with delicious wines, he broke out a couple of mystery dishes gratis, challenging us to guess what we were eating. An especially ambiguous plate turned out to be chili-spiced mango slices tasting nothing like what one might expect of a mango, but quite good and hot. And when nobody knew what the hell that spicy crunchy dish they were eating might be, Pat ostracised us for our lack of knowledge.
Again, like I said, you cannot stop talking to Pat, partly because he will not stop talking to you. Pat’s nationality is hard to determine. I was pretty sure he is either Turkish or Middle Eastern, but I was wrong; turns out Pat is from Uganda. And then, as Pat was listing the offenses for which one might be ejected from Macabi’s Cigar Bar, he included that being Muslim would earn you that fate. Yes, I don’t know why, nor do I really care, but I will tell you this: Pat does not like Muslims. I was of course surprised by his statement. I even informed Pat I was planning to write a blog post about his bar and that some people would not like that detail. But Pat is Pat and was not to be deterred: “I don’t care, Muslims are not welcome here,” said our outspoken proprieter. Which leaves your blogger in a strange position: I would like to recommend this quirky bar with its good wine, fine cigars, and its beyond-quirky owner. But the FTLC is also a supporter of multiculturalism and, although we appreciate crazy, only to a certain extent. So we recommend you make your own decision. Hate Muslims but love cigars? This is your place. Love cigars and rationality? We cannot fully endorse. Muslim and offended? Pat doesn’t care. That is Macabi’s Cigar Bar.
photo from http://www.insidemnsoccer.com
By Fat Hand
We have written about the Fort Lauderdale Strikers previously, but to reiterate, if you enjoy sports you have got to check them out. Saturday they played the Puerto Rico Islanders and it was one of the more enjoyable sporting events I have attended recently. The Strikers secured their first home win of the season 3-2 with two late goals after the game had seemed to slip away from them. The Strikers had a 1-0 halftime lead and were playing with an extra man after a Puerto Rico player was ejected for stomping on one of our guys. But the Islanders took the lead with two quick goals around the 60th minute. After scoring the second goal, the Puerto Rico player taunted the main Strikers cheering section by running over to us with his hand cupping his ear, as if to say “I can’t hear you.” But we’re not going to take that: one local hero ran to the front of the stands and chucked his beer at the Puerto Rico player, nailing him in the chest. It was of those split second decisions that was undoubtedly disliked by some, but necessary to defend our honor. This is OUR Fort. The fan was ejected from the game by security that seemed reluctant to throw him out, but were just doing their job.
Meanwhile, the Strikers responded with two late goals setting off pandemoniom in the stands. The game ended a couple of minutes later and then the teams proceeded to brawl after the final whistle. Damn it was a fun Strikers game. I declare Puerto Rico our new rival. Fuck those guys.