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The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

[According to the locals]

We’ve checked the online reviews, listened to the word of mouth recommendations, and respected the social media shoutouts. According to the locals, these are the best bars, restaurants, and cultural centers in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

DINNER

1. YOLO

The best bars and restaurants in downtown fort lauderdale

YOLO is a long-loved staple in Fort Lauderdale, offering a new-age, American style dining experience. It is a foodie’s paradise and socialites playground, infamous for happy hours, Sunday brunch, a welcoming courtyard lounge with an open fire pit, and an outdoor garden patio.

“YOLO is a super fun place to go for Lunch, Dinner, After-work Drinks, on a date, or with a group of friends or family. With plenty of outdoor space, and usually live music, and indoor space under air conditioning, YOLO suits parties large and small. I’ve been there several times for happy hour and dinner, and enjoy the place as a favorite Las Olas destination.” — 5 Star Review on TripAdvisor

2. Louie Bossi’s

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Louie Bossi’s is Las Olas’s Italian stunner. You won’t find a more diverse selection of fine Italian recipes any place else in the area. They make all their pasta in-house and put modern spins on traditional dishes. They have an incredible 900-degree brick oven for Neapolitan pies, serve high-end charcuterie boards and have a fantastic selection of wines to pair with dinner.

“Consistently good food – stays authentic and true to itself, keeping true Italian roots with its approach to food and the menu. You won’t find many places with polenta as a side, wont find many places that do a carbonara sauce – just two examples. The back patio is enchanting especially when lit up at night. Will keep going as often as I can. Really love it and have never had anything but a good experience.” — 5 Star Review on OpenTable

3. El Camino

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

El Camino has quickly risen in the ranks as Las Olas’s favorite Mexican eatery. The food is delicious and authentic, but what really stands out is their unmatched happy hours! Every day from 4-7 PM they serve up $2 tacos, $8 tequila flights, and handcrafted margaritas for only $5. They also feature a late-night happy hour for the night owls who aren’t ready to end the festivities.

“Excellent food, best guac and pico de gallo ever! Wait time was 1.5 hr, but totally worth it…also my niece lost 20$ in there and we went back later and they found it and returned it. Honest people, great food, I recommend the Chile steak fajitas.” — 5 Star Review on Facebook

4. Bombay Darbar

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Bombay Darbar features authentic, gourmet Indian Cuisine. Their kitchen uses the very best and freshest ingredients in the making of their near-perfect recipes. Their exotic, upscale decor and phenomenal service and management elevate Bombay Darbar above most restaurants in South Florida.

“I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this place sooner. This is my all time favorite Indian restaurant. The food is so rich and authentic, it is the best in town, without a doubt. I used to frequent this place every Thursday after class as a way to de-stress. Each time I go I receive the best service and my meal is always so painfully good. No really it hurts, I leave there so full! But satisfied, very satisfied.” — 5 Star Review on Yelp

5. Temple Street Eatery

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Temple Street Eatery is an urban, counter-serve Asian fusion restaurant with mastery in dumplings and ramen. Their recipes are bright and uplifting, crafted to enlighten your palate. Trust us, once you visit you’ll be coming back for more. Besides, there is a lot to be said about a restaurant with a 4.5 star average on Google with over 700 reviews.

“1st time here and very impressed! The wings were flavorful! The pork dumplings were steamed and excellent but the wonton ramen was superb! The broth was very good and bok choy was spot on. Shrimp wonton was perfect! I highly recommend it! Next time I am going for pork belly ramen🍜” — 5 Star Review on Google

BARS & BREWERIES

6. WLO Rooftop

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

WLO Rooftop is a stellar rooftop bar in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Their expert bartenders specialize in concocting craft cocktails with premium spirits. But their true majesty of this urban locale is the stunning city-wide views and pleasantly natural aesthetic of their lounge area.

“Great place. Bartenders were friendly and service was fast. Views were awesome. Weather was good so we enjoyed the rooftop 100%. Good vibe and good music. I can’t wait to go back. Entrance was a little hard to find. but the security guard came out and guided us in. Definitely recommend for those looking for a good vibe with great views.” — 5 Star Review on Google

7. Tarpon River Brewing

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Tarpon River Brewery is a family-friendly neighborhood favorite. Their rotating draft selection of craft beers is reason enough to come back time and again. They have a full food menu with a killer IPA Mac N Cheese Burger and host live music weekly.

“This place is popular enough without my review chiming in, but I really loved my first visit! This is definitely a great spot to bring friends from out of town for a drink. It really showcases the Florida vibe, with a great selection of beers.” — 5 Star Review on Yelp

8. Township

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Township is a German-style pub and sports bar. It is the only bar in Fort Lauderdale serving full litres of beer! They offer a full food menu of German classics, like pretzels and cheese curds. This place is always active on the weekend, especially Saturdays. Locally, it is known as a Florida State University gameday hangout but is a welcoming place for all sports fans.

“I think township is my new favorite go to bar. I came here for the first time last weekend and had a blast on Saturday. Jordan is an awesome bartender, we didn’t have to wait long to order and it was a great crowd and vibe! My friends come here often for ladies night and I’ve been wanting to. Tonight is my First Ladies night and the bartenders have been awesome.” — 5 Star Review on Yelp

CULTURAL AMENITIES

9. NSU Art Museum

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

The NSU Art Museum is a centerpiece for arts and culture in Fort Lauderdale. Founded in 1958, the art museum has continually perpetuated artistic expression in South Florida.  There are ample exhibits to explore, a large auditorium for live art, educational courses for all, and a cafe to enjoy relaxing moments.

“Great way to spend a couple of hours while in Fort Lauderdale. Our docent was informative and wonderful in every way. She shared her knowledge and engaged us through the entire tour. Lunch at the museum was perfect as well.” — 5 Star Review on Facebook

10. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts

The Best Bars, Restaurants, and Cultural Centers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is the most expansive cultural institution in the area. It attracts Broadway shows from around the globe and remains a pivotal driver for the arts in the Fort Lauderdale community. Situated along the Riverwalk — a beautiful stretch along the downtown Intercostal waterways, the Broward Center is a fantastic place to visit whether you are attending a show or just enjoying the weather.

“Awesome place for a night out. Easily accessible parking and many restaurants to choose from help make this a great date night location. Today’s show prices make it a pricey night out that we can’t partake in as often as we would prefer but that is fairly typical everywhere. Great acoustics, classy and clean. Well worth the price of admission.” — 5 Star Review on Google

There you have it!

If you’re new to Fort Lauderdale or just visiting, set aside time to visit one (or all) of these great local establishments. We’d love to hear about your experience so drop us a line some time. Happy exploring!

Township - a concept by The Restaurant People

Township fills a void in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s dining-and-drinking scene

[the new concept by The Restaurant People]

We have to tip our hat to these guys. It seems like every month The Restaurant People are inviting our community to enjoy innovative, delicious culinary experiences. These guys, Director of Operations Aaron Abramoff, CEO Tim Petrillo, Culinary Director Peter Boulukos, and Construction Development Director Alan Hooper — have been adding creative community amenities to Fort Lauderdale’s growing culture since 1997.

From upscale dining experiences like Boatyard and TRP Taste to the social bar scene of YOLO and Rooftop, The Restaurant People have consistently delivered.

With that said, it’s no surprise that Township has been added to our weekly dining routine. We say “weekly” and not “nightlife” or “social” because Township offers more than one, or two, or even three reasons to visit.

“For the Table, by the People.”

Honestly, truer words have never been spoken. Township answers multiple community needs in a really fun way.

So, what is Township, anyway?

In short, it is a beer-garden style restaurant and bar featuring a comprehensive beer selection of 55 craft beers (domestic and imported) on 72 taps, and innovative urban street-fare.

To really see how Township enhances the landscape, however, we had to look past the surface. So we strapped on our lederhosen and took to the bar.

Township - a new dining concept by the Restaurant People

We parked downtown and walked south down Andrews Avenue until we arrived at Township.

The patio was lively with a mix of families and Sunday bar-crawlers socializing over corn-hole, ping-pong, and giant Jenga.

We entered through the patio. There was a cozy lounge space with outdoor chairs and sofas, and a ten-seater bar that was perfect for small bites and drinks. What grabbed our attention, however, was just beyond that room — a huge round-about bar stacked with flat-screen televisions, surrounded by cushioned booths overlooking an open kitchen concept, and filled with locals eating, drinking, coming and going.

Everyone was having a great time so we made our entrance there.

**reenactment**

“Barkeep, two pints, please.”

“Why not make it a liter,” she replies.

“Excuse us?” we ask, slightly taken aback before confirming two liters of Tarpon River Deflated NE IPA.

**end reenactment**

Shocking right? Township is most known for serving up expertly crafted brews in their signature one-liter glass beer steins. One quick survey of the bar and we noticed nearly everyone was drinking a liter, so we joined in the festivities.

Township - a new concept by The Restaurant People

A good start for any dining experience. And for only $14… kind of a no-brainer. 

While enjoying our brews we explored the area a little more. Just beyond the big round-about bar is an open community space lined with long wooden tables and benches facing three projector screens on the south wall. There was private event space in the back and a few arcade games beside that.

Once we had downed our first liter of beer it was time to eat.

We ordered the TWP fries with cheese curds to start, a spicy chicken and slaw sandwich (a Tarpon Bend throwback) and a double cheeseburger because, why not?

The food was great. You can really gauge a restaurant on their french fry cooking talents, and, well, Township passed the test with ease. They serve their sandwiches with a side of fries in a tin container so they stay warm and crispy no matter how long it takes you to finish your liter of beer.

For a new restaurant, Township has perfectly functional systems in place, partly due to another Tarpon Bend incorporation: their staff. Just another way The Restaurant People put community first.

Township has a sister restaurant in Tallahassee that is wildly popular among Florida State students, alumni and faculty. Surely, that prompted the establishment of Township in downtown Fort Lauderdale as the third and final component of the dining-and-drinking block.

The cool part about all this, though, is that The Restaurant People managed to do this in a way that keeps the two establishments unique to their landscape and communities. Because of that, we can confidently say that the best part of the Township addition is, without a doubt, the preservation of longstanding community favorites in a fresh, new concept.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit Township, put it at the top of your list… especially on those days when you just need a liter of ice-cold beer to unwind after a long day’s work.

Township - a new concept by The Restaurant People