The E-Spot: a Chill Fort Lauderdale Hotel Bar

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Note: Night Watch is a regularly-occuring feature by Broward/Palm Beach nightlife columnist Tara Nieuwesteeg

You've got to love Fort Lauderdale: where stilletoed women drink directly from the beer tap, where "happy hours" last eight-hours, and where the geriatrics can put 'em away with the best of them.

During a single outing, I can rest my happy bar-hopping self at a classy hotel bar, then walk across the street to an old-as-dirt raw bar, and finish out the night a few blocks away, at an immaculate Irish pub. The point is, in Fort Lauderdale, it's never hard to find a place that rocks, although finding the best might take a bit of stumbling around. First stop: the E Spot.

The E-spot bar is a little-known perfect chill spot nestled deep in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. "The E is for erogenous, obviously," said one of my friends, whom I shall call "Fancy" because he is.

"Um, more like egalitarian," corrected my ever-present companion Beard. He arched an eyebrow and slapped the brown pleather couch as if to emphasize his point.

I decided not tell them that the "E" probably stood for Embassy Suites, which is where the E-spot is located--inside the lemonade-colored hotel best known for its pink, atrium-like interior and amazing free breakfasts. The marble bar and its surrounding high tables hosted scores of vacationing couples. Green and blue lights flashed overhead, and a glass display case built directly into the bar showed off scrumptious desserts scooped inside miniature martini glasses. Two more rooms--a dining room, and a living room of sorts--were connected to the bar but sectioned off via spaced glass panels. The surrounding area was decorated with fake plants, earth-toned abstract art, and slate-grey tile. Generic and slightly outdated pop music--specifically, J-Lo's "Waiting for Tonight" and Shakira's "Underneath Your Clothes"--played subtly in the background.

"Who comes in here? Tourists?" I asked the bartender. He had a loud, pleasant laugh, a beard, and his shiny nametag read "Mike."

"Oh, we get everyone," he said. It seemed true. On my way to the bar, I'd spotted a couple of white-haired ladies with a stoop-shouldered gentleman, all smiles as they enjoyed tropical cocktails.

"It's a good blend of tourists and locals," Mike continued. "We even get people staying at other hotels who come here just for the bar." I grabbed a bourbon and Coke from Mike and sprawled on the couch in the living room area, full of flat screen TVs, and even ottomans upon which to rest one's weary barhopping feet.

I joined Fancy and Beard, who were joking about Tim Tebow's virginity (which is apparently still intact). "It's good to be on vacation, boys," I said to the guys, who were sharing the couch with enough difference between them that they couldn't be accused of snuggling.

"The drinks are still too expensive," Beard complained.

"There were some girls over here before you got here," Fancy said. "But they left."

"Yeah, two guys watching football, periodically yelling at the TV didn't seem to turn them on," said Beard. Suffice it to say, the E-Spot is meant for folks just slightly classier than us.

-- Tara Nieuwesteeg

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