Although I am not usually one to hit the bars, I did venture out one night for a few drinks in the city often referred to as Ft. Liquordale. I do not know whether Ft. Lauderdale deserves the name Ft. Liquordale or not (I imagine the party probably starts well after I’ve gone to bed), but I do know that Original Fat Cats is an awesome bar and that I will be going back to Original Fat Cats if I ever end up in Ft. Lauderdale again.
From the outside, Original Fat Cats is fairly unassuming. This place does not need flashy signs or a fancy facade. Likewise, the interior is also unassuming. The bar is dark with a saloon feel and a somewhat random mix of decor including skateboards, a replica of the lamp from A Christmas Carol, posters, and a vending machine that sells stick-on moustaches.
The customers at Original Fat Cats when I arrived were obviously regulars. Talking and joking and generally having a good time, it was obvious that they make this a regular stop on their way home in the afternoon. It was also obvious that they all know the bartender and that he knew them.
Don, probably the most incredible bartender around, gave me a run through of what brews they had that day. While I was impressed with the quality of the selection available, I was more impressed with Don’s intimate knowledge of not only the characteristics of each brew, but also with his knowledge of the distributors, how the beverages were shipped, how long the shipping process took, and the temperatures at which the beverages were kept during storage and shipping. If it were possible to earn advanced degrees in beer (not just an extracurricular study), Don would not just be a professor; he would be the dean of the college.
On strong recommendation from my co-worker, I first ordered a Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat mixed with a cider. I was a little skeptical at first, but this is a great combination. The Tangerine Wheat and Cider is a very crisp and refreshing beverage, not as fruity as I anticipated with the Tangerine Wheat and not as sweet as I anticipated with the cider.
For my second beverage, I struggled with choosing between Left Hand Milk Stout and Old Thumper Cask. On recommendation from Don, I went with the Old Thumper. The caramel aroma and the dry, hoppy finish make this brew a new favorite for me.
Unfortunately, I had to leave just as things started to pick up at Original Fat Cats. If I end up in Ft. Lauderdale again though, I will definitely stop by and see what else Don recommends.