No Need To Whine; There’s FREE Wine Tonight!

by KateWine Warehouse of Fort Lauderdale

Winos, this one is for you.

If you’ve had yet to check out Fort Lauderdale’s Wine Warehouse, tonight’s free wine tasting event is the perfect time to peruse the racks and wet your palette at the same time.  This wine store chain has 14 locations throughout Florida but the Fort Lauderdale store is the ONLY one in the South Florida area.  Wine prices range from very reasonable ($4.99 bottles of Rex Goliath) to expensive but the wide variety in prices and types of wines mean you will have many options to choose from.  Each franchise owner buys wines at the lowest prices so that you, the customer, may “never pay retail again”, as their motto suggests.  This quaint, but spacious wine store moved to its Oakland Park location about two years ago and while it does not boast the most appealing view on the outside, the inside will leave you pleasantly surprised.  The entrance is in the rear of the building, which is accessible from the tiny parking lot.  The  friendly staff are highly knowledgeable about the wines they sell and are more than willing to help you find exactly what you are looking for or exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for!

wine stores Ft Lauderdale

Take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of wine on the rack at Wine Warehouse.

Tonight’s free wine tasting event begins at 6 PM and runs until the store closes at 8 PM.  The theme for the night is Spanish wine and it will feature six wines ranging in price from $6.99 to $15.99 per bottle – three reds, two whites, and one cava.  Selected wines include Gran Sarao Rosé, Montecillo Albariño, and Mores Grenache/Cariñena/Syrah.  Get your wine-loving friends together and come sample some delicious Spanish wines.  Lucky for you, the free tasting is a weekly event so while you are in the store be sure to sign-up for the mailing list to keep yourself in the loop.  The quality of the wine selection and discount prices guarantee you will want to come back!

Spanish Wine Tasting
September 2, 6-8 PM
Wine Warehouse
1301 E. Oakland Park Blvd.
(954) 561-9453

Dear Visitor, Please Don’t Suggest These:

by Kate

Living in South Florida we are constantly bombarded with out-of-towners wanting to visit our year-round paradise.  I do not mind hosting guests, however, I do mind when they ask me to take them to what I consider the WORST tourist attractions in greater Fort Lauderdale.  I’ve heard them time and time again and always try my hardest to find any excuse to avoid these activities that I have developed a strong hatred for over the years.  I occasionally give in, most often after a few beers when I am at my most vulnerable.  For each activity I have offered an alternative suggestion that needs little explanation – take it from the FTLC bloggers!

Nightmare on Sunrise Blvd.

Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall

“What’s this I hear about that big outlet mall?” I cringe at the thought of hearing this question, yet, every time I have a first time visitor, these words are regretfully muttered from their freshly sunburned lips.  It’s the same scenario every time: we struggle to find a parking spot and then walk for five minutes in the heat trying to figure out how we will remember where we parked the car.  We then rejoice upon entering the over-air-conditioned monstrosity of an outlet mall.  There are few things I will give credit to Sawgrass Mills for and one of those things is the fact that it is indoors.  Immediately you are surrounded by masses of people, most of them from foreign countries, running every which way, trying to make the most out of their bargain hunting.  You see people pushing carts loaded with everything under the sun and then you find yourself extremely disappointed when you leave the mall with nothing because the only clothing sizes left are XXL.  You’ll find yourself digging through piles of junk in stores such as Burlington Coat Factory or paying prices for Nikes that seem inappropriate for an outlet mall.  If people pushing strollers into your heels does not bother you enough, you are quickly worn down and ready to return to the car only to realize the mall does not flow in a circle and you’ll have to turn back around and pass all of the unworthy outlet stores that you’ve already avoided.  One tiny bag in hand and a frustrated look on their face, my guests always make some sort of statement like “Well that was a disappointment.” I hide my look of “I told you so” and then we gracefully walk back out to the parking lot, forgetting where we parked, of course.

Alt suggestion: They probably aren’t going to buy anything at Sawgrass so take them to the Swap Shop instead, where they will experience a South FL flea market at its finest.


Speaking of Art & Music…Dialect.

By: Kate

Until the last year or so the local art and music scene was dwindling on a thin line in Fort Lauderdale.  With a re-vamp in venues and some very ambitious and talented artists, the scene is starting to thrive and its rapid growth looks incredibly promising.  Almost every week a local band graces one of our Fort Lauderdale stages or some über-hip resident socialites are throwing an art show/warehouse party.  This Thursday is no different when Twilight Notes and Radio-Active Records present the monthly (or bi-monthly) coffee shop-cum-art gallery event, Dialect, at Brew Urban Cafe in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  DJs Adam Foster, Mikey Ramirez, Damask, and Esoteric are providing the sounds; your goal is to sip a brew, caffeinated or hop-infused, and enjoy the wonderful works of exhibiting artists Jose Lopez, Estefania Lopez, Ilian Velasco, Kazilla, Raymond Brown, and N! Satterfield.  A typical night at a Dialect event means the coffee shop and its patrons will spew out on to SW 2nd street downtown, socializing over a few choice beverages, and supporting the local indie art scene.  The FTL Collective strongly encourages you to tell your friends to tell their friends and come out to Brew tonight at 8 pm.  The event is free to the public and a majority of the artwork will be for sale if you are so inclined to stock your abode with some lovely local artistry.

Brew Urban Cafe
209 SW 2nd Ave.
8 pm – 12 am

When the FTL moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie

by Kate
Empire PIzza on Urbanspoon

Here at the FTL Collective we are always seeking the best deals in town to share with our loyal subscribers.  When I stumbled upon Empire Pizza Cafe on a hungover Saturday afternoon, the cheap beer specials drew me inside; not because my dehydrated withdrawaling body was craving one, but because I wanted to share this information with our readers.  Empire Pizza replaced the failed Le Bonne Crepe crepe restaurant in the Palm Court Pavilion located off the NW corner of US1 and Broward Boulevard.  The owners changed up the theme from lackluster French ‘fast food’ to a New York City style pizza joint, complete with a large gorilla statue out front – as if King Kong is going to inspire patrons to come inside.  Out front also sits a white board complete with beer specials, which is highly more likely to attract guests than a fake, and overly friendly-looking gorilla.

All day, every day you can quench your thirst with bottles of Peroni for $3.25, Amstel Light for a mere $2.75, and Miller Lite for just $2.25. The seating outside was minimal and receives an FTLC rating of C- because the tables are severely lopsided and you will most likely end up with pizza in your lap.

empire pizza outdoor (slanted) seating

Take the risk, or sit inside at a small table lining the north wall.  In true NYC pizza joint fashion, one side of the restaurant holds the kitchen/counter and the other side is lined with small, but comfortable, tables.  The menu was quite impressive for a tiny place that also delivers (with a minimum $10 purchase) and in addition to pizza, includes calzones, hot/cold subs, pasta, salads, and wings.  Personal 10-inch pizzas range from $9-$13 and large sixteen-inchers cost $14-$26.50.  You can elect to devour your own pizza creation or choose from a variety of, as the menu calls it, ‘pizza with personalities’, such as the Caprese topped with melted mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes, and fresh basil.  With a pizza you receive thin aluminum plates, reminiscient of a plate you would use in a prison dining hall, not that any FTLC bloggers would know this.  Don’t let the prison-esque plates scare you away because let’s face it, with these beer specials you might get so blitzed that acting out the Greek tradition of plate smashing probably will not be the worst idea you’ll have that night.

Overall, Empire Pizza Cafe is a good place to go for a quick and inexpensive meal or if you are having serious yearnings to see a map of the NYC subway lines.  A pizza for two and two cold ones will set you back less than $16.

Empire Pizza Café

15 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale 33301


Monday – Friday 11am-10pm

Saturday & Sunday 12pm – 12pm

The Swankiest Signature Cocktails in Town

by Kate

Are you bored with drinking bottom-of-the-line well liquors and buckets of Coors Light?  We are too, so we thought we’d share some FTLC secrets as to where to score the tastiest libations around Fort Lauderdale.  Our picks are not the cheapest concoctions, nor will they be found at a local dive bar, but they make up for breaking your wallet by stimulating your taste buds and giving you a much-welcomed buzz.  We are thirsty just writing about it!  Here they are (in no particular order):

The Cubeltini – Trina Restaurant & Lounge at the Atlantic Hotel

This signature drink at Trina on Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront is both crisp and refreshing.  Served in a martini glass, the cucumber mint beverage is more like a mojito than a martini.  The energizing coolness of the cucumber as it hits your palate makes this cocktail perfect for a hot summer day.  The Cubeltini is comprised of Belvedere vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, cucumber slices, and refreshing mint. The Cubeltini will set you back $11.

601 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

YOLO, Fort Lauderdale restaurants, specialty drinksThe Devil’s Hammer – YOLO

As the satanic name suggests, you may be ‘praying’ to the porcelain god if you consume too many Devil’s Hammers.  YOLO sets a limit of three of the ever-so-popular cocktails per customer and we can vouch for why you should follow this rule.  The Devil’s Hammer is made with tequila, cherry-infused bourbon, agave nectar, orange and lime juice, and a sprig of mint.  Until recently you were able to order this cocktail extra spicy but YOLO has since replaced the hot red peppers with a much more mild and dull green pepper – but still worth a shot.  The Devil’s Hammer costs $12, and never mind the limit of three, after $36 you’ll probably want to switch to something less pricey.

333 E. Las Olas Blvd.

Cucumber Watermelon Martini – Himmarshee Side Bar

One of the most frequently ordered cocktails at Himmarshee Side Bar is the Cucumber Watermelon Martini.  This martini is a mix of tequila, sweet & sour mix, simple syrup, fresh watermelon (giving it a thick consistency), and cucumber.  It is difficult to have only one of these martinis, so go during happy hour when they are 2-4-1!  The Cucumber Watermelon Martini will cost you $12.

210 S.W. 2nd St.

Prickly Pear Margarita – Canyon

Canyon is a quaint and dimly lit southwestern restaurant that serves up one of the finest cocktails in town, the Prickly Pear Margarita.  The restaurant is very secretive about divulging the ingredients but we can guess it is made up of tequila, Cointreau, prickly pear-infused simple syrup, lime juice, and sugar or salt for a garnish.  Whether you are waiting at the bar for a table or enjoying one of these famous margaritas with your dinner, the Prickly Pear Margarita is always a crowd-pleaser and a drink that will keep you coming back.  The price tag on Canyon’s delicious cocktail: $10.

1818 E. Sunrise Blvd.