Night Watch: JByrd's Muddy Waters Restaurant and Raw Bar in Deerfield
JByrd's Muddy Waters Restaurant and Raw Bar (2237 W Hillsboro Blvd, Deerfield Beach Call 954-428-6577, or visit muddywaters.biz)
Out front, the patio area is replete with glider booths, palm trees, and parrot cages. A small island-like oasis sits in the center with a running-water fountain. A statue of a sexy lady-pirate, boobs very nearly popping out of her ruffled shirt, stood beckoning near the door.
The expansive inside was decked out, from floor to ceiling, with island swag and accessories that would please the Margaritaville maestro himself: Caribbean flags, giant plastic sting rays, and sea sponges and fishing nets. The brightly colored walls were more crowded with glass globes, miniature ships and fishing photos than the Fort Lauderdale beaches are with piss-drunk college kids during spring break. Nearby, a giant barrel had been labeled "J Byrd's rum," presumably so that any would-be liquor pirates would think twice.
A healthy crowd of patrons bantered; a few drinkers complained about the temperature in the bar (first it was too hot, then too cold); and the whole room got in on a discussion of the "lesbian gene."
Bartender Jilly, a petite, mousy brunet, explained the intention of Muddy Waters: "It's like Key West...only here in Deerfield." She also gave me a rundown of the specials: Irish Mondays (corn bread, cabbage, and $5 Baileys!), ParrotHead Tuesdays, Caribbean Wednesdays (featuring mango martinis!), Karaoke Thursdays, Floribbean Fish Fry Fridays, and weekend all-you-can-eat shrimp deals.
She familiarized me with the kick-ass "Havoc Hour" (4 p.m. to 7 p.m., 2-for-1 wells, wines, etc.). "This place started 20 years ago, and back then it was just the bar you're sitting at," she said. "Since then, we expanded to the second bar, then the back room, then the room over there..."
"Dreams do come true," I said.
As I got up to shuffle around the restaurant, a patron in an aloha shirt stopped me. "Did you get the job?" he asked.
"Weren't you interviewing to be a bartender?"
After I explained that I was here to write about the bar, Aloha Shirt and another patron, a no-nonsense woman with cropped hair and a penchant for the restaurant's burgers, tried to think up interesting stories to tell me.
"Rich folks who play at the men-only golf course nearby come up here," Aloha Shirt said. "They go sit in the corner. People like Dan Marino."
"We play the trivia game, too," his compatriot informed me.
"Yeah, the one against other bars. We always place in the top ten. Sometimes people from other states will fly in just to meet the smart trivia people who keep beating them," Aloha Shirt said. "And boy, aren't they surprised when those 'smart people' are us."