As Miami’s sister city, Ft. Lauderdale doesn’t have quite the reputation as its southern neighbor. Sure, it’s a preferred destination for vacationers and spring breakers, but it isn’t quite as heralded. That said, Ft. Lauderdale is a proverbial gold mine of options when it comes to nightlife, brunches and happy hours. And if you ask a resident, “Where do the locals go for fun in Ft. Lauderdale? ” you’re likely to hear the following places.

Funky Buddha Brewery

Since exploding in popularity a few years back, craft beers have been more than just refreshing beverages; they’re an identity and an experience. It seems nearly every major American city boasts a brewery that is a required visit. And the Funky Buddha Brewery is Ft. Lauderdale’s. Located in Oakland Park, it’s a bit removed from most of the city action. But it’s more than worth the visit. As you enter, you’ll notice a food truck parked in front. Funky Buddha doesn’t serve food, but it does have a rotating set of quality food trucks that visit each day and are worth trying. Once inside, you’ll step into a large, bustling tap room with TVs, tables, chairs and a few couches spread throughout. It’s a very hip, modern vibe. The bar offers the most extensive beer selection in Broward County, which includes a rotating selection of craft beers as well as their home-brewed Funky Buddha Floridian. Oh, and just beyond the bathrooms, there’s another room worth checking out. This room is primarily a game room with favorites like bocce ball, cornhole as well as more TVs.

McSorley's Beach Pub

Ft. Lauderdale beach is home to arguably South Florida’s best beach bars. But its best beach bar resides a few miles north on A1A, a bit removed from the rest of the action. McSorley’s is an Irish pub offering a large variety of cocktails and brews. The first floor is very much what you would expect from an Irish pub; there are several TVs placed throughout tuned to a variety of sports, an active bar, and even games. But if you venture upstairs, prepare for an entirely different experience. Instantly, you’re taken from sports bar to lounge/club. Casual to trendy. The upstairs is two rooms, with a DJ spinning outside. The first room has enough space to dance and seats to kick back and relax. And because it’s a bit removed from most of Ft. Lauderdale’s action, it’s a popular answer to, “Where do the locals go for fun in Ft. Lauderdale?”


If happy hour and brunch are your jam, Tap 42 has you covered. Located just minutes from downtown Ft. Lauderdale’s business sector and a few miles from the beach, it feels like there’s never a time when Tap isn’t packed to the teeth. It sports indoor and outdoor sections, high top tables and TVs tuned to a variety of sporting events. As one of Ft. Lauderdale’s best gastropub’s, Tap serves a rotating selection of craft beers as well as well-crafted cocktails. Tap hosts happy hour Mon-Fri where patrons enjoy $2 off every drink from 4 pm to 7 pm.  But if you want the best of what Tap 42 has to offer, stopping by on Saturday or Sunday for brunch is the thing to do. Their bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are likely Tap’s main attraction, while the brunch menu is both varied and delicious. Options include everything from smashed avocado toast to Chicago Style Steak and Eggs.

American Social Las Olas

As its name suggests, American Social is as American as an establishment gets—and a great place to meet people. Like Tap 42, it’s a great place to visit for a happy hour due to its extensive beer and cocktail selection and brunch, which is also bottomless. Located on Las Olas Boulevard, American Social attracts young professionals and locals every day. And depending on when you visit, AmSo is either a restaurant serving scrumptious American fare, a boisterous sports bar or a buzzing nightclub.  

Himmarshee Public House

Himmarshee is known as Ft. Lauderdale’s prime party location, and Public House is literally and figuratively at the center of it all. Located in the heart of the area, it’s impossible to miss on foot or driving past. From Thursday to Saturday night, there’s rarely an evening when Public House isn’t a full house with singles and young professionals strewn throughout. But if a buzzing club isn’t what you’re looking for when wondering where do locals go in Ft. Lauderdale, Public House has more to offer. During the day and early evening, it provides classic and delicious American fare and hosts happy hour Mon-Fri. And if you’re in the mood for brunch, Public House serves everything from hot cakes, gingerbread pancakes, and a farmer’s breakfast.  

Are you a local? Where do you go when you want to have fun in Ft. Lauderdale? Do you have a favorite place or places? Let us know if we missed a place you love; we enjoy checking out everything from dives to the Ritz! Register above to stay connected to your area, and if you would like to be a Local Contributor for let us know, we are hiring freelance writers!  Send an email to and someone will be in touch.