A Taste of Ft. Lauderdale: Original Fat Cats

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.

Got stick-on moustaches?
Original Fat Cats

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.

Nice selection of brews
The regular brews (daily specials are on the chalkboard)

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.

Tangerine Wheat and Cider
Tangerine Wheat and 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.

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A Taste of Ft. Lauderdale: Brew Urban Cafe

The first morning I was in Ft. Lauderdale, I hit up the hotel breakfast buffet. Not only was the ticket $15.95 for a mediocre selection of breakfast foods, but the coffee was awful. I admit that I am a bit of a coffee snob, but I do not generally make a big deal about it. I will usually drink whatever coffee is at my disposal with little to no complaint. The coffee at the hotel, however, was just not acceptable.

Venturing out with my guide to Ft. Lauderdale, I made my way to Brew Urban Cafe. Located near the riverfront and several parks, this is a pretty awesome coffee shop in a really neat part of the city known as the Himmarshee District.

Brew Urban Cafe
Brew Urban Cafe

With artwork from various bands on the wall and a flat screen television hanging from the ceiling, the interior of the coffee shop is not nearly as sterile as larger chain coffee shops, but also not as hipster as some local coffee shops can often be.

Eclectic music artwork
Interior decorated with eclectic album art
Espresso machine
The espresso machine makes me think of an Italian sports car

Even though I love the ambiance of coffee shops, it is the coffee that I care about the most. My first coffee at Brew Urban Cafe was the “Good Karma,” natural vanilla infused espresso with caramel glaze. If the cliché that “what goes around comes around” is true, I want to send out whatever vibes will bring this coffee back to me. Perhaps the “good karma” was that after drinking this coffee, I actually returned two more times over the next few days for more delicious coffee.

Cup of coffee
A cup of Good Karma

The day after enjoying some Good Karma, I tried the “Electric Shock,” a beverage made with cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, and espresso. Not only was the coffee rich and creamy, the coffee was also beautiful. Kudus to baristas who truly make coffee an art.

Cup of Electric Shock
Cup of Electric Shock

On my last day in Ft. Lauderdale, I went to Brew Urban Cafe one last time. This time I decided to go with a classic coffee beverage — the Cappuccino.

Cappuccino
Cappuccino

If I ever end up in Ft. Lauderdale and need a pick me up, I’ll find my way to Brew Urban Cafe, pull up a chair next to the espresso machine that looks like an Italian sports car, and order up some Good Karma, Electric Shock or a traditional coffee beverage.