10 reasons Fort Lauderdale is better at life than Miami

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 03 April 2015 | 20.49

Fort Lauderdale's attackers are relentless: "It's too sleepy. Too boring. Too cheesy. Not culinary enough. Not as mamacita-filled as a certain city 30 miles due south."

Chill Fort Lauderdale.Photo: Handout

These accusations can certainly be true — but only if you let them.

From craft beer to saner beaches, when you take a closer look, today's (post-spring break) Fort Lauderdale can out-magic the Magic City any day of the week.

You just have to work a little harder to let it.

An no, we're not high on flakka — to prove it, here are 10 ways Fort Lauderdale makes Miami look basic.

Funky Buddha Brewery

Photo: Handout

Despite Big Beer's support of the draconian ban on growlers (64-oz. jugs) designed to keep Florida's craft beer scene down, the Funky Buddha is alive and well.

Buddha's assembly line.Photo: Chris Bunting

Fittingly named, since no religious icon rocks a shameless beer belly quite like Siddhartha Gautama, this Boca-born craft brewery — now enjoying a 40,000-square-foot HQ in Oakland Park — is convinced it can replicate any flavor in beer form.

To wit: Their Maple Bacon Coffee Porter was named No. 1 porter in the world by ratebeer.com.

Catch a game in their taproom, sample the wares then tour the joint for half a sawbuck.

Steak 954's jellyfish

Photo: Handout

Central nervous system, schmentral nervous system. The countless jellies over at the W hotel's Steak 954 restaurant don't have time for them as they pulsate and dart about the restaurant's 15-foot illuminated tank.

When they're not invisibly stinging you out in the wild, nature's discarded plastic bags are actually quite breathtaking indoors — especially after a couple of 151-proof-rum-infused Zombie cocktails (you can't order more than two, by intergalactic law), when you'll swear you're right in there with them.

Dinner at Fork & Balls

Meatballs Toscana.Photo: Greg Schneider

The stove savants here on Las Olas Boulevard figured out what dogs and Italians have known for centuries — balls taste good. (Er, in kibble and meat form, pervs.)

Here, their sphere-happy menu has promoted meatballs from mere spaghetti sidekick to main course, offering them in chicken, beef, turkey, pork and kale varietals with all sorts of flavors, sauces and accouterment: spicy Italian, pesto, rib-stuffed, Southwestern, even quinoa and veggie, to name a few.

MIA is M.I.A.

Hello calm and pleasant FLL.Photo: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com

Did we mention you don't have to fly into Miami International?

Mike. Dropped.

Alt.sports

Ronaldo and his Strikers' mascot.Photo: AP Photo/Alan Diaz

Fort Lauderdale doesn't claim a single top-division professional sports team — this is good news.

No jilted LeBron jersey-burning Heat fans. No pissed-off Marlins Park-subsidizing taxpayers. No sad-sack just-missed-the-playoffs Dolphins fans. No paradoxical Florida Panthers hockey fans who forget they live in the land of 80-degree winters. (Well, technically all those guys are here, but just less obnoxiously so than in Miami.)

The only pro-ish team in the city proper is the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, a second-tier soccer team co-owned by Ronaldo, who encourages days out on the pitch with the fam/friends.

Beer and bingo at Riverside Market

Technically this is a cafe, but this house of deep-sofa and board-game feng shui is all about the 550 kinds of craft beer it has occupying its many self-serve fridges and taps. Go beer for beer through the night, then count up your empties and pay up at the end — you're on the honor system. Just time your visit right: Riverside's Beer Bingo night is now the first Wednesday of each month.

More of a DIYer? Right across the street is the Craft Beer Cartel, which sells all sorts of gizmos, kegs and glassware to make your own beer at home (and, of course, ready-made beer). Noobs welcome, too, as the Cartel (so named because it's a joint venture between a Native Brewing Company brewer and Riverside Market co-founders) frequently offers classes.

Cycle Party

Better yet, you and 14 other dipsomaniacs can pedal around a gas-less, engine-less quadracycle on a pub crawl. You can drink onboard, as long as the alcohol A) is from the bars and restos visited along the route (i.e., not BYOB) and B) in a plastic cup. Otherwise, you're good to go!

Cycle Party was conceived in 2012 by a couple of dreamers who wanted "to have fun and do no harm to anyone, including the environment." See, booze might just be the key to stopping global warming.

S3 Restaurant

Renting out a prime space on the ground floor of the Hilton Beach Resort, oceanfront S3 (sun, surf, sand), owned by the guys behind Fork & Balls, serves up wee plates of sushi, apps like mac and cheese and high-octane cocktails (don't be fooled by their cutesy names) best enjoyed by the fire pits on their patio.

Floating cabs

Photo: mariakraynova / Shutterstock.com

Wind up with a DUI as a souvenir on your last trip to Miami? In Fort Lauderdale — a k a the "Venice of America," with its many waterways and canals — you can go hard all night and just Water Taxi back to your hotel, footloose and jail-free.

The pretty-people hotels are cheaper

Poolside at WET®.Photo: Handout

If you're prowling for sexy people sunbathing by guest-only pools, you have to shack up at the best hotels. In Miami, this cost can be astronomical. Not so in the Fort.

According to an April search, for example, rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale start at $399 (South Beach's start at $499) and $300 at the W Fort Lauderdale (South Beach's start at $609). The numbers don't lie.

TOP PHOTO: Shutterstock


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