Finding Old Florida in Fort Lauderdale



Those who know me understand that my vacations are always an opportunity to explore BARS, especially the odd, or funky or beachy, and when I can find a little of what’s left of Old Florida, even better. One of my favorite blogs is the Tiki Chick, and back in February she posted a blog about the Wreck Bar in Ft. Lauderdale, so I knew I had to orchestrate my trip to the Bahamas around showing up at The Wreck Bar for their weekend mermaid show.

I love mermaids.

So I booked us Friday night at the Blarney Castle across the street, a more or less decently maintained fifties motel in a cluster of other retro-ness in Fort Lauderdale Beach, which is great if you like that sort of thing—fifties motels—and for some reason I do, although for the sake of the new millennium surely they could’ve updated the mattresses.


After an average lunch with a great view at Bahia Cabana Dockside Restaurant, Hubby and I wandered Bahia Mar Marina, basking in the blush of our first vacation day, and agreeing that the Gulf of Mexico on our western side of the state is so frikin hot, we don’t benefit from any cooling breezes like they do here on the Atlantic. In fact, we also agreed, in Sarasota, we’d be in the pool or holed up inside with our air conditioning, not walking along the marina in search of the bronze plaque commemorating Florida writer John D. MacDonald and his awesome dude character, Travis Magee, who got himself in to shenanigans in the sixties and seventies aboard the boat he won in a poker game: this fictional character’s fictional boat the Busted Flush, resided in slip F-18.


I love John D. MacDonald and Travis Magee and will try not to make this entire blog about them because I also love mermaids. But it was a literary journey fulfilled when we found the plaque in the office at the end of the fuel dock.


The Wreck bar opened at 5:30 and hubby and I were the first in line, in front of families with wriggling kids. I too was wriggling. From excitement. That I, the eldest here, could sit at the bar and get the best view of the aquariums! Great to be an adult!

Inside it was dark and nautical kitschy. I’msoexcited, I’msoexcited, I’msoexcited. 20160722_173623

The drink menu has specialty drinks for $12, I’ll have a Dark and Stormy please. Mermaids, one hour!

So what do you do at a full bar, with 45 minutes until mermaids start swimming before your very eyes? Talk to the couples on either side of you. See if they are excited like a kid on her first trip to Disney, like you are.  Both couples longtime residents of Fort Lauderdale, both, their first trip to see the mermaids. How could they? I mean, I’ve lived in Sarasota for 25 years and I’ve even been to the Ringling Museum, which is not half as cool as a bar in the shape of an old ship, inside an old resort in the shape of a cruise ship (Ocean B Hotel, former  Yankee Clipper, now owned by Sheraton), which will have mermaids swimming around SOON.

View of the Yankee Clipper from our motel balcony.

View of the Yankee Clipper from our motel balcony.

Turns out the dry land bar tenderess/hostess is MeduSirena, her black locks swimming in the air as she faces the lounge and introduces herself and her mermaid show.  I turn to watch her present and see that there are three wriggling girls in chairs wearing mermaid tails. I WANT A MERMAID TAIL! No wait, I’ve got this here a Dark and Stormy . But…

And the show begins. I am five years old, fulfilling the loftiest of childhood dreams. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:











The Wreck Bar is located at:

1140 Seabreeze Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Mermaid shows are 6:30 Friday and Saturday




One response to “Finding Old Florida in Fort Lauderdale

  1. Marissa! I just happened to be hooked into a real mermaid. On fb her name is Bridgette Reuters. She is also one of the best health care workers I know. Tails can cost up to $5,OOO! I KNOW! Blow me down.
    Cute story. But I encourage you to kick it up a notch, get connected, borrow a tail and just do it. Her group is very open and loving and like we say: just do it!!


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