South Florida Beer Week returns Saturday through Jan. 25, and like the aisle at Total Wine and the fridge in your buddy’s garage, the proliferation of beer and places to drink beer is all so confusing.
So let’s cut to the chase. One South Florida tavern was picked among Draft magazine’s 2014 list of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars. One. The criteria? Who the hell knows?
Says the anonymous Draft scribe: “After six years of making this annual list, we had to rethink the definition of a top-notch beer bar. New ones are opening every second, and ‘good beer bar’ no longer equals a zillion taps; there’s just more to it now. We needed to walk out of these places saying, ‘Now there’s a bar that really, really cares about your experience with beer.’ So what does that mean? Having well-cared for, thoughtfully selected beer with an eye toward variety, trends and tradition, in the kind of place you’d want to stay awhile, delivered by someone who knows their stuff.”
And the lone local spot that made the cut as one of Draft’s best beer bars in America? Fort Lauderdale’s Laser Wolf (901 Progresso Drive; LaserWolf.com), best known for its easygoing crowd, bad TV, a Bill Murray painting and a wide variety of beers that may, if you do not accord them proper respect, punch you in the face. Not a bad choice, Drafters.
If you are scoring at home, two other Florida bars made Draft’s list: Mr. Beery’s in Sarasota and Redlight Redlight in Orlando. Info: DraftMag.com.
THE BEST OF WURSTER
Singer-songwriter Jim Wurster puts further distance between himself and his Black Janet past with a new album, “Raw,” the target of a release party at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Luna Star Café (775 NE 125th St.; North Miami; 305-799-7123). “Raw” is a suite of spare storytelling dusted with the grit of Middle America, tales that Clint Eastwood might have muttered through clenched jaws around the campfire in “High Plains Drifter.” Check it out for yourself live on Friday night or on Facebook, where the Hollywood resident has posted most of the album. Info: Facebook.com/WursterSongs.
THE BIG INCOGNITO
Have you seen the new Fort Lauderdale Bokamper’s (3115 NE 32nd Ave., on the Intracoastal at Oakland Park Boulevard)? It’s an amazing space, inside and out, with a massive waterside deck with a view so pretty it almost distracts you from the ridiculous pack of TVs mounted all over the place. At the bar inside, the ceiling soars atop walls covered in iconic sports photographs, including a (possibly life-size) image of Ray Allen’s famous three-pointer from last year’s NBA Finals. Nearby is a shot of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Equally prominent in the photo is an even more famous teammate. It’s either some kind of political statement in favor of Richie Incognito or … D’oh! If you’re trying to convince a date, maybe it will help that there’s a sushi bar. Info: 954-900-5584, Bokampers.com.
THE SKIN YOU'RE IN(TO)
No truth to the rumor that Chippendale's is a sell-out this weekend at Mansion (1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach), but the cushy banquette seating that they put on the dance floor for the iconic male revue ($79.95, plus fees) is sold out for all performances Friday-Saturday, and Jan. 23-25. Raise your hand if you're surprised. General-admission tickets for the 9 p.m. shows ($49.95, plus fees) are still available. Bachelorette and birthday parties free. Info: 305-432-9293, Chippendales.com.
POCKETFUL OF SUNSHINE
Just doing the math at the second annual Sunshine Music and Blues Festival in Boca Raton: 10 acts, all prime cut, for $49.50 (plus fees, at the gate). Which is like paying a $5 cover to walk into a club and see the likes of Tedeschi Trucks Band or Leon Russell or Stanley Clarke or Galactic or the Ringers, which isn't going to happen. So, yes, pretty good deal. The music starts at noon at Mizner Park Amphitheater (590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton). Hit the link for a Susan Tedeschi interview and more on the festival.
PLATE FULL OF BLUES
So there's a lot of blues in Boca Raton this weekend, and a lot of blues down south, too, as the Coral Gables Blues Festival offers the first of two weekends of music, food and drink. One of the big draws this weekend is Mac Arnold & Plate Full o' Blues, scheduled to perform 3-6 p.m. Sunday. And all the music outside Fritz and Franz Bierhaus through Jan. 26 is free. Hit the link for more Coral Gables Blues Festival information.
Speaking of dancing outside in front of a bunch of people you don’t know, Sister Sledge will bring “We Are Family” and other R&B hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s to the ArtsPark in Hollywood for a free show at 8 p.m. Saturday. At the same time, the Downtown Hollywood Artwalk will draw crowds to various hot spots along Hollywood Boulevard and Harrison Street. For a restorative dose of music, there’s nothing like the piquant vibe of Eddy Balzola and Oriente at their regular Artwalk spot outside Cuenca Cigars (1928 Harrison St.; 954-364-7660; CuencaCigars.com). You can dance there, too. Info: VisitHollywoodFL.org.
ALOHA, AND GOOD BYE
The tiki-tacky hootenanny of high-powered hooch known as the Hukilau, set for June 11-15 in Fort Lauderdale, has been dubbed the Final Aloha by founder Christie J. White (aka Tiki Kiliki), who says you’ll have to find somewhere else to wear that shirt, because 2014 is the last Hukilau. But that can’t be right. The five-day event at the Bahia Mar Beach Resort and the Mai-Kai restaurant, includes music from the Left Arm of Buddha (from Belgium, c'est vrai), the Blue Hawaiians, the Smokin' Menehunes, the Intoxicators, Gold Dust Lounge, Slip and the Spinouts, and Skinny Jimmy and the Stingrays. Beachbum Berry will be back to talk drinks, with Paul Roe exploding tattoo myths and Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid flapping around stylishly. Again, the last Hukilau? Must be some kind of sick joke. Tickets are on sale now at TheHukilau.com.
BEACH BAR BINGO
The Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop takes a special route on Friday, beginning at the new Bokamper’s and stopping at Tokyo Blue, Bamboo Beach Club and Tiki Bar, the Parrot Lounge, S3, Sandbar, McSorley's and Tonic. Tickets for the trolley bar-hop fundraiser cost $30 until noon Friday, and $35 at check-in (cash only) at Bokamper’s and Tropic Cay (529 N. Ft. Lauderdale Beach Blvd.). Proceeds benefit Jessica June Children's Cancer Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, Covenant House Florida, Broward County Gator Club and Jack & Jill Children's Center. Info: 954-574-6000, BusLoop.org.
DRINK LIKE A LOCAL
The Young Professionals for Covenant House don’t just ride the bus — they crawl, too. In honor of South Florida Beer Week, the group will raise money with the Hollywood Craft Beer Pub Crawl on Jan. 23 at five spots in the 1900 block of Hollywood Boulevard. For a $10 donation, you get a Drink Like a Local pint glass, which will be filled at a special price with a beer from a Florida brewery, including Funky Buddha Brewery, Cigar City Brewing, Native Brewing Co., Inlet Brewing Co., Due South, Wynwood Brewing Co. and Holy Mackerel. Proceeds benefit Covenant House Florida, which provides walk-in services and shelter to at-risk youth. Registration is 6:30-9 p.m. at Mickey Byrne’s (1921 Hollywood Blvd.). Info: YoungPros.net.
MESHELLE, MA BELLE
The Riverwalk Street Dance is back, and you didn’t even know it was gone. From 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, food, drink and the sassy dance-pop sounds of Meshelle Rezic and Co. will take over Esplanade Park (400 SW Second St.) in downtown Fort Lauderdale to raise money for the Riverwalk and the Fort Lauderdale History Center. Admission: $5. Info: GoRiverwalk.com.