Fort Lauderdale’s 10 best bars and restaurants only locals know about

Fort Lauderdale’s 10 best bars and restaurants only locals know about

Fort Lauderdale is a wonderfully charming and diverse city. It has so much more to offer than it’s beautiful beaches and Las Olas Blvd. So the Sterling Teetor Realty Group has decided to take some time out of our busy work day to share our 10 best bars and restaurants in Fort Lauderdale from a local’s point of view. These are Fort Lauderdale’s hidden local treasures.

Part 2


1. Southport Raw Bar

Southport Raw Bar

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Southport has been a Fort Lauderdale institution since the day it opened its doors more than 40 years ago. This wonderfully low key waterfront restaurant and raw bar is one of our favorite places to eat, drink and be merry. Whether you just pop in for a quick lunch during the week to get a break from your office; or you go for dinner with friends and end up having one too many pitchers of beer(easy to do at these prices) while enjoying a beautiful south Florida sunset, Southport will always be there to remind us why we live in South Florida and what it means to be a local.



 2. Ernie’s ( Dirty Ernie’s )

Ernie's 1

Ernie’s is another one of Fort Lauderdale’s iconic institutions. Their food is nothing to write home about; it’s just decent as far as bar food goes but Ernie’s is all about the atmosphere. From the moment you walk in the front door Ernie’s has a glorious “locals only” sort of feel that very few establishments possess or could ever achieve, but Ernie’s has it and “it” is something I love about this place. The second floor of the restaurant boasts a covered open air patio, bar, pool table, juke box, plenty of flat screen T.V.’s and a stripper pole. I have never seen the pole put to much good use, but it’s there if you need it. This is one of my favorite spots to spend a stormy Saturday or Sunday because when the weather is too bad to go anywhere else outdoors you can feel right at home, have a cold beer and just watch the rain come down from your perfectly dry bar stool but still feel like you’re outside enjoying the weekend.

Address: 1843 S Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Phone:(954) 523-8636



3. My Market

my market

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My Market is essentially a sandwich shop with a convenience store problem. This hidden treasure of an eatery started out just like any other convenience store until one day when they decided to start making sandwiches in the back. Now it seems like the isle displays are just an obstacle preventing me and everyone else from getting to the deli and ultimately my Roast Beef Special (one of the best deli sandwiches I have ever tasted )!  That’s just one of many fantastic sandwiches and salads this little store offers. If you like sandwiches and such this place just might be your Shangri-La.



4. Mr. Nick’s

Mr. Nick's Sub Shop

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Mr. Nick’s is a great sandwich shop that specializes in inexpensive, fast, delicious  sandwiches and wraps that just can’t be beat. For those of you who are looking for something quick, easy, and cheap downtown and don’t want to pay usual downtown prices this is the spot. The Fort Lauderdale chicken sandwich at about $6 is one of my favorite lunch options when I am on a tight schedule running around slangin’ real estate in the downtown area.



5. Siam House

Siam House Fort Lauderdale

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Siam House is a delicious and authentic Thai restaurant that is sure to impress any aficionado. The dinners are reasonably priced and the service is always outstanding. Now lets get down to brass tacks… THE LUNCH BUFFET IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO LUNCH IN FORT LAUDERDALE, EVER! For under $10 not including tip this buffet is offered every day with something new and different. DELICIOUS!



6. Tap42

tap42 fort lauderdale

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Tap42 makes a fantastically simple and delicious burger that is sure to satisfy any appetite. They also serve plenty of other great bar munchies, like “two hot dates” ( a personal favorite of mine ). Pair their food with one of the largest beer selections in the area, a simple and comfortable atmosphere and you’ve got this Realtor hook, line, and sinker. One more thing worth mentioning about Tap42 is the location. A few years ago when the word got out that a new bar/restaurant was going in where Brownies’ package lounge had been since the beginning of time most people I spoke with about the matter thought “whoever was opening the place had lost their mind”. Being in the real estate business as well as a born and bred local I thought it was a great idea and had been waiting for someone who was intelligent and bold enough to see the potential of the area us locals are calling “SOLO” (south of Las Olas).



7. Rendezvous

Rendezvous Fort Lauderdale

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Rendezvous is truly one of Fort Lauderdale’s best kept secrets. The food is excellent  and reasonably priced. The drinks are cold, arrive fast and are served at an indoor/outdoor bar. You have the option of sitting inside a well appointed dining area or outside on the patio with water and marina views. It may be a little off the beaten path for some east siders but it is just minutes from downtown and they have free dockage if you arrive by boat. Try the coconut crusted fish sticks!



8. The Field

The Field Fort Lauderdale

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Field is about as authentic as authentic gets. The moment you walk in the door you feel as if you were transported to a pub in the Irish countryside, or to The Prancing Pony (if you are a Tolkien fan like myself). Dark wood covers the interior from floor to ceiling and the lights are dim. I always feel merry when I walk into The Field especially on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night when Celtic Bridge ( a great local Irish folk group ) is playing live. The food is as good as traditional Irish fare gets and the staff always seem to be as happy to be there as I am.



9. Laser Wolf

Laser wolf fort lauderdale

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Laser Wolf is a craft beer bar on the north end of downtown that serves nothing but cold delicious beer and attitude. If you like good beer and the people who drink it, go to Laser Wolf.



10. The Downtowner Saloon

downtowner saloon fort lauderdale

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The Downtowner Saloon is in my opinion probably the most overlooked and underrated bars in Fort Lauderdale. It is located directly on the New River with great views of the river and downtown. Seating is offered on the river as well. The food is on par with any good neighborhood bar/restaurant and the drinks are reasonably priced. They have free boat dockage for those of you who arrive by water and plenty of parking for everyone else. It is one of very few restaurants and bars located directly on the New River and Riverwalk and is easily accessible by foot or bike from Las Olas and downtown.

READ Part 2 here


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37 thoughts on “Fort Lauderdale’s 10 best bars and restaurants only locals know about”

  • Monica Ribera

    January 9, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    you should add Canyon Southwest Cafe to your list, thank you.

  • TerryDoo22

    January 9, 2015 at 2:30 pm


    No Rustic Inn? Only been around since the 1950s!!

  • Bob quinn

    January 9, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    7 out 10 not bad can’t say any of them disappointed me but I’m not very hard to please

  • Bone Lee Tadpole

    January 9, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    Congrats to Southport Raw Bar…!!!!! One of the Fine establishments in South Florida that has Bone Lee’s Hot Sauce 🙂

  • james48

    January 9, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Canyon is a chain, and Rustic Inn is a tourist attraction. Check the title of this article.

    • Jenna

      January 9, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      Since when is Canyon a chain? It’s a hole in the wall next to the Gateway Theatre. Small place, no reservations, great drinks. Maybe you’re thinking of a different place.

    • Sarah

      January 9, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Canyon is not a chain. There is only one Canyon Southwest Cafe you are thinking of Canyon Ranch two very different places.

    • Al Cacace

      January 10, 2015 at 12:24 pm

      Canyon is not a chain and believe it or not rustic inn is the chain…

  • Kyle

    January 9, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Eat fish – live longer; oysters – love longer; clams – last longer…Southport is the greatest!! Pretty solid list.

  • las olas Gerry

    January 9, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    You missed Lulu’s — how come?

  • wrecks

    January 9, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Kelly’s Landing on SE 17 th St. For authentic New England seafood..Canyon is ok but overpriced! Il Molino right nexr door is much better anyday. Not impressed with the Downtowner at all. No mention of Coconuts.

    • Phil

      January 10, 2015 at 8:43 am

      canyon and I’ll mullino are owned by the same people you retard!

  • Al Cacace

    January 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    I wish 15th Street ended up on there…and canyon

  • George Mihaiu

    January 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Great list! If I could add one, it would be Joe’s Cafe in Harbor Shops. No skimping on ingredients…just good food and as close to home cooked breakfast and lunch as one can find in a restaurant. Tell Gus his ‘Spartan’ friend told you to ask! 🙂

  • jerritt ortzsik

    January 10, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Does anyone remember Mike Gordons? Was the best place to eat in all of South Florida. Dress code and all. God I miss the food there.

  • Layton Parham

    January 11, 2015 at 1:17 am

    My Market makes Unbelievable Subs! I never travel to Lauderdale without stopping in for Lunch.

  • gayle abbondandolo

    January 11, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Love going to the Pirate Republic Bar & Grill. Hidden gem, delicious fish, pricy and non pricy food and great to go to before seeing a play at Broward if you want to avoid that area of restaurants. Outside seating only but directly on the water with great service and drinks.

  • Ayria

    January 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    What about riverside market??? It’s so local you don’t even know about it.

  • angel

    January 11, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Sandbar grille in the suntower hotel on ft laud beach is amazing!

  • Sailorman

    January 12, 2015 at 11:48 am

    The Sailorman Crew frequents several of these places, but we must add Riverside Market!

  • g staros

    January 12, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    back in the 60s & 70s I used to visit Stans (on the waterfront)… it still around??????

  • Normy

    January 13, 2015 at 5:25 am

    I live in Miami and don’t go to Ft lauderdale that much any more but when I do, I have to go to the Riverside Market. Very unique.

  • Tommy

    January 14, 2015 at 10:31 am

    No!!!! Don’t tell tourist where the local spots are!!!! Your gonna ruin these spots. 😉

  • SheMunn

    January 15, 2015 at 10:35 am

    how do you not have Riverside Market? Talk about a hidden gem!

  • Katie

    January 20, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Recently found Riverside Market. Well hidden in a neighborhood off of Davie east of 95. Really good food and coolers full of beer and wine of every sort. I recommend a try. Thanks for the list.

  • ali

    January 24, 2015 at 3:47 am

    Delete My Market!!! The sandwiches may be good, La Spadas has much better. The owners are complete D bags and aren’t close to being “locals.” I agree with Mr Nicks and the rest of the list. I am a Fort Lauderdalian and approve of all but 1.

  • Bob Z

    January 29, 2015 at 2:24 am

    I can only assume you disparaged the food at Ernie’s (“Their food is nothing to write home about..”) in an attempt to stop mobs of people from causing a Conch Chowder/Bimini Bread shortage. If people had any idea how wonderful it is to pour in a dash of sherry and then eat bread drenched in the chowder the place would be overrun..there wouldn’t be any left for…


    Yeah. Food at Ernie’s sucks. People should definitely stay away!

  • Fishing Headquarters

    February 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Fishing Headquarters crew loves Southport Raw Bar, Kellys Landing, My Market, Dirty Ernies and Downtowner. Haven’t tried the other places yet but I’ll check em out. What about Coconuts, Bahia Cabana and Tom Jenkins?

  • Steve

    February 22, 2015 at 1:58 am

    Shuck n Dive in Lauderdale should be on that list

  • Bob Kozich

    February 24, 2015 at 5:40 am

    I love southport!!!!!! Great place to eat. Go there with my kids all the time, they love it too!

  • Fort Lauderdale's 10 Best Bars & Restaurants Only Locals Know – Part 2

    July 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    […] to such an overwhelming public response to our Fort Lauderdale’s 10 Best Bars And Restaurants Only Locals Know About article I have decided to write a follow up article to include some establishments that […]

  • Ashley

    August 4, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I lived in FTL for most of my life and Il Mulino’s (same owner as Canyon) was a family staple. I agree they should both be on the list! Kelly’s Landing has always been a favorite of mine because the lobster is AMAZING! Honestly, I found your second list to have more actual local favorites than this one, with the exception of Southport Raw Bar, which is definitely my #1 favorite! Best oysters for the best price anywhere in FTL! 😋

    • brendon

      March 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Thank you for the feedback.

  • raymond

    August 19, 2015 at 11:59 am

    the best for me….

    The chimeni house
    J MARK
    casa blanca
    catalina restaurant

    There are many and many more good……

    • brendon

      March 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      All great recommendations. Haven’t been to Catalina in years, will have to try again soon, and Casa Blanca is one of our favorites but being that it is on the beach I am not sure if it qualifies for as a place only locals know about. Chimney House would have made it if the list was just a bit longer.

  • Carol Fox

    December 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

    The Floridian on Las Olas is best local, especially for breakfast after a night on the town. Been there forever. Good basic food.
    Southport, Ernies, Bahia Cabana, La Spadas all make my list but it gets harder and harder to get in these days. Take out seems to be the answer. I won’t tell you my very favorite place to keep it from being overrun. It’s hard to get in there too.

    • brendon

      March 3, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      We would love to find out what your very favorite place is just in case we have never heard of it.

Comments are closed.

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