Fort Lauderdale Nightlife Guide to Local Hangouts and Live Venues

Since the 1960s, Fort Lauderdale has been a hub of fun-seeking spring-breakers and year-round merrymakers who worship good times. There is simply no shortage of places, with more than 4,000 restaurants and 132 nightclubs in greater Fort Lauderdale — all opening their doors to students, vacationers and tourists. Not sure where to start? Here is a sample of the best Fort Lauderdale nightlife spots.

Fort Lauderdale Nightlife Guide: Top 8 Hot Spots

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Culture Room: Live Music

This small (650 capacity), general-admission, standing-room-only venue is a Fort Lauderdale nightlife spot for underground music lovers. Plenty of big-name indie alt-rock, roots and jam bands play the Culture Room. For example, They Might Be Giants, Taproot, The BoDeans and The Heavy Pets draw fans from all over when they plug in at this neighborhood concert hall.

Just a few blocks from the beach, the locale is lined with robust sound, while artful colored lights illuminate the dark interior. The spacious, multilevel room provides comfortable furnishings, with inexpensive drinks and good service coming from the bars. Open-air patio seating is an option, too.

Original Fat Cats: Live Music

Looking for a plain old bar? What about cheap beer, comfort food and great music? Enter Original Fat Cat’s, voted No. 1 Best Music Venue in Fort Lauderdale by Yelp reviewers. In addition to live music seven nights a week, find over 80 different beer selections. Original Fat Cat also hosts late-night events — think ending at 3 a.m. — and stays open until 4 a.m. Sorry kids, this spot is 21 and older only.

Khoffner Brewery: Local Beer

Third-generation brewmaster Rauf Khoffner is reviving his grandfather’s recipes that date back more than 100 years. When not brewing beers honoring the Reinheitsgebot, Khoffner remains true to his German roots. He produces balanced, smooth, drinkable beers with top-notch ingredients.

Choose from darks offering tantalizing tastes, such as Raspberry Chocolate Stout, Madagascar Vanilla Mile Stout, and The Noble Breakfast: Oatmeal Coffee Stout. Ales include a Belgian-style tripel, American cream ale, English brown ale and a seasonal pumpkin rye ale. Various lagers round out Khoffner Brewery’s selection.

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The Elbo Room: Dive Bar

Not every beach bar becomes a landmark. But then not every bar has scenes filmed in it for a major motion picture. That’s part of the world-famous Elbo Room, which dates back to 1938.

In 1960, Connie Francis, George Hamilton and Yvette Mimieux hit Fort Lauderdale to film Where The Boys Are. The Elbo Room was right in the thick of it. Soon after, Fort Lauderdale became known as the mecca for spring breakers. Enjoy Elbo Room’s “reverse” happy hour from 9-11 p.m., plus second-floor views of the Atlantic.

America’s Backyard: Parties

Located in the heart of the downtown Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District, America’s Backyard, with its 15,000-square-foot facility, is south Florida’s largest outdoor party (21 and over).

Locals and tourists alike cram the place. Although there is no pool, the club has been described as, “nothing short of a huge pool party, where the pool is swimming with bartenders and the deep end overflows with sparkling alcohol.” Live bands, DJs, rappers and drink specials all contribute to a high-energy atmosphere.

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LauderAle: Local Brews

This small batch, electric-fired brewery — founded by Fort Lauderdale natives in 2013 — was the first nano brewery in southeast Florida. The establishment quickly made its mark, taking home a gold medal at the 2016 Best Florida Beer Championships and a silver medal at the 2017 event.

Choose from more than 30 beers on tap, including cream ales, Belgian tripels, fruit beers, porters, märzens, English milds, German altbiers, Russian imperials, Berliner weisses and more. LauderAle’s taproom, with its reclaimed wood and recycled materials, hosts events from yoga, brunch, and full-moon parties to live music of all genres. Tasting and tours available.

Broward Center: Various Events

Like most first-flight cities, Fort Lauderdale houses a dynamic arts center. Initial-run Broadway productions, touring shows and favorites from London’s West End all visit Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

Sample brilliant works from theater, opera and critically acclaimed productions of Miami Ballet, a participating partner. In addition, Slow Burn Theatre Company brings performances for all ages to Amaturo Theater. Lastly, the popular Symphony of the Americas delivers riveting and diverse orchestral repertoire to south Florida audiences.

Pompano Beach Amphitheater: Concerts

This intimate concert venue seats up to 2,600, with additional capacity close to 10,000 including the grounds. Customers report Pompano Beach Amphitheater comprises great seats — whether sitting in the third row or the third row from the back, the view is superb from any angle.

Headliners such as Fleetwood Mac, Toto, Barenaked Ladies and Vince Gill grace the stage. Drinks aren’t as expensive as similar-sized venues, and parking is free and generally easy.

Ready to join the Fort Lauderdale nightlife scene? Read about more Fort Lauderdale arts and entertainment options.