Michael hasn't worn long pants since relocating from Connecticut three years back. The burly barkeep can't really even remember the last time he saw a dollar deal. "Somewhere up north."

"It's sad," I offer. "Things are just getting so expensive everywhere."

"Especially in Miami," he says. "Miami. Holy shit. I had two friends that went to some place there on the beach. They had these big monster drinks, they each got one, got a backup. It was $100 for four frozen drinks. They paid for ice basically. Can you imagine that? One hundred dollars?" Before darting down the bar to fill an order, Michael turns back my way. "If you want to be a fucking baller, go to Miami."

VFW Post 3559 is a longtime outpost of affordable drinking on South Beach, but — alas — it doesn't offer $1 draft beer. The Bud that bartender Debbie Brooks is offering goes for $2.25.
Jacob Katel
VFW Post 3559 is a longtime outpost of affordable drinking on South Beach, but — alas — it doesn't offer $1 draft beer. The Bud that bartender Debbie Brooks is offering goes for $2.25.
Like any good American dive, however, the VFW offers darts and photos of random people on the wall.
Jacob Katel
Like any good American dive, however, the VFW offers darts and photos of random people on the wall.

I crawl north through Broward. Walsh's Irish Sports Bar is about five minutes up Federal Highway. I'm not inside for 15 minutes before the owner, Teri Walsh, has me by the hand heading for the back, where framed photos cover the wall. In a group shot of an '80s softball team, the entire boy-girl squad wears green jerseys printed with "McGowan's." Squatting down front is a man beaming through a Magnum P.I. 'stache. Something's poking from his short-shorts.

"There's his balls there," Walsh tells me. "That's why this picture is famous."

A middle-aged woman with wild, curly blond hair, she takes in the grainy shot. "He's dead, he's dead, he's dead, he's dead," she says, slapping at people in the picture. The drinkers here have introduced one another to future spouses, raised kids together, and — inevitably — buried the ones who've passed. There's a mournful sag in the good times when she mentions the bar's late handyman, Biff — "He never married, never had a family," says Walsh, who considered Biff a second father for 30 years. "We were his extended family.

"A bar is just like a church," she says. "It's not four walls; it's the people."

In just a minute of breathing the mentholated air during happy hour, I can tell Walsh's isn't so much a beer joint as a lineage. Back in the '80s, a crew of drinkers attached themselves to McGowan's, a bar at Hollywood Boulevard and A1A. Eddie McGowan, the fun-loving, accordion-playing owner, kept the party going. Walsh was his manager. "I basically grew up there," the Long Island native says. "I was a teenager when I started there."

When McGowan died in 2003, the bar slipped to new ownership. Changes came. To preserve the bar's good-time DNA, Walsh opened her own place, first the Dry Dock in 2003, then Walsh's in 2007. The crowd followed.

But sadly, Walsh's doesn't have The Draft. The closest is a $2.50 happy-hour pint. "I'm sitting here between Cracktown and Hookerville," Walsh cries defensively. "Do you know what kind of people would show up if I had dollar drafts?"

From Walsh's, my hunt takes me north to Grady's in downtown Fort Lauderdale. At midafternoon, nearly every barstool is filled with guffawing regulars. Classic rock blurts from the speakers. But again, nothing flows from the tap for a buck — and it hasn't since the mid-'90s, when the bar last had a dollar beer special.

"Do people ever come around asking for dollar drafts?"

"No," the lady working the tap tells me. "That's like saying, 'Can I have 1995's prices today?'"

"It's kind of bumming me out I can't find any," I confess to the old guy sitting one stool over. Casper-haired and bespectacled, he looks me over, opens his mouth, and begins declaiming in a rich British accent. "Well, I come from Europe, so I've had a one-euro beer. It's just one or two places. But you can get a pint."

"That's a long fucking way to go to get a dollar beer!" chortles a bearded neighbor in a Green Bay Packers hat. "I don't think you are going to save a lot of money going over there."

Packers rummages around his memory banks. "Growing up in Milwaukee, I remember this place on Connecticut Avenue where beer was 15 cents. There's a place."

Judging by the wear and tear on Green Bay's face, he's talking about sometime in the Kennedy administration. Right about now, all my hopes for this project are pretty much in the trash can. If the golden deal is not to be found in a place sporting the All-American bona fides of Grady's, does it exist at all?

Peggy manages to take my spirits off life support. She has no idea where I might find a dollar draft ("If you find some, come back"), but she's like the Mother Hen at Grady's. "I made the broccoli cauliflower cheddar soup," she tells me proudly.

Peggy has worked there 14 years. She's the assistant manager. She pours drinks one shift a week, but today she's on the other side of the counter, fueling up on a few afternoon pops herself.

She oozes full-bore love for the place. "It's a great bar," she explains. "It's your local neighborhood dive. People just want to go into a bar and hang out with their friends they've known for years."

She mentions a couple of regulars who've passed on. There's a tree out back where a portion of their ashes have been scattered. "And we have a plaque there with their names on it."

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75 comments
Lynxx3
Lynxx3

Great story Kyle. 

danny_geee
danny_geee

Lol wow this was such an interesting read . I don't even like reading stories in the paper n shit but this was exceptional

barnyard2217
barnyard2217

You can't get a glass of panther piss for a $1 in S.Florida.

Aldo Malbec
Aldo Malbec

Gone to Puerto Rico. All day everyday!

Zalykha Maria
Zalykha Maria

Jorgie Chamorro I can't show my face there ever since I was accused of wearing a wig

Marco Zug
Marco Zug

Tall PBR at @lostwekeend miami beach

Jorgie Chamorro
Jorgie Chamorro

Zalykha Maria omg remember this bitch from Veterans!! lol

Andrew West
Andrew West

you can get 1dollar beers on old cheney highway in Orlando fl

Eddy Carballo
Eddy Carballo

A little bit of Philly in Miami Springs...$2 (14 oz) Drafts...AND the best Philly Cheesesteak in town.

Gonzalo del Barrio
Gonzalo del Barrio

Catch of the Day in Dolphin Mall has dollar domestics every day from 3pm-7pm

Luis Ricardo Lopez
Luis Ricardo Lopez

Is La Covacha still doing $1 beers on Fridays during happy hour?

Marco Ruiz
Marco Ruiz

When you find it be sure you let me know !

Stephanie Calzadilla
Stephanie Calzadilla

$1 beer and everything else on the menu at 100 Montaditos every Wednesday! All locations

Nick Bernal
Nick Bernal

Any American Legion post has $1.50 draft (yuengling, amber bock, bud/bud light, and miller) all day every day!

Turk Avnayim
Turk Avnayim

FTM Records ϟ Studios has Dollar Yuengling on Draft

Miguel Armenteros
Miguel Armenteros

Graziano's Market in the Gables, $1 draft beers 5-9pm Sunday - Thursday.

andycarr
andycarr

$1.25 drafts in the morning at Artie's, near Lamppost at 2218 North Federal Hwy. In Hollywood.

MuseTD
MuseTD

Good article. Colorfully written.

misterflorida2000
misterflorida2000

Yep, times are changing. When I was younger, people would do slum bar crawls and have private parties and drink case after case of this cheap watered down beer, get bloated and often gotten sick and many times they would throw up. Now people spend more money drinking stronger better beer and they are conservative and careful on what they drink, and they actually appreciate the beer that they do consume. 

Lynne Dear
Lynne Dear

$2 at the Turtle Crawl restaurant on Hollywood Beach.

Alison Alcantara
Alison Alcantara

Great read. I really felt like I was back in South Florida. My favorite was "No, bro. You should probably go home."

Meredith Eastman Argüelles
Meredith Eastman Argüelles

The drink$ in Miami are way too high! It should be considered price gouging to charge 6,7,8$ for a beer in this city!

Juan Arce
Juan Arce

Sportsgrill on birdroad and 117 avenue Robert Gow Courtney WeaverStance Mitchell

Shady King
Shady King

$1.00 beeer in Liberty city...all day !!!

Jenna Goode
Jenna Goode

Pegs pocket but it's only while you're playing pool. Doesn't hole in the wall have $1 beers?

barnyard2217
barnyard2217

Fuc Orlando, you get a knife in the heart by them illegals.

barnyard2217
barnyard2217

Bullshit, the road kill tastes like fuc'n wallpaper with cum sauce you dic heads call cheese whiz.

 
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