Kendallites love their chains. There are the figurative ones that seem to lock them to their red-tiled roofs and peach-colored walls. And they adore the literal ones as well — the Targets, Best Buys, Denny's, and... honestly, did Don Carter's and one of the last strawberry fields in the area really need to get demolished for another Staples and a Costco? But the most interesting thing about Kendall is that although it looks homogenous, it is in Miami-Dade and therefore is filled with tons of interesting characters. There's the dude who drives around in a station wagon adorned with a weather vane, a wooden toilet seat, and dolls (Kendall people, you know you've seen him); he might be among those packed on the wooden patio of Bahama Breeze, a chain restaurant, one Friday night. He'll be sipping a mojito made from freshly squeezed guarapo ($5.50). And if you can't find him, you might bump into one of the many scantily dressed mistresses freely flopping their back rolls to calypso music as their married lovers leer and sip Black Label on the rocks.
Once you've tired of this scene and finished scarfing down a plate of tostones with chicken ($8.29), head over to Gatsby's, a chain bar, for a slightly classier, mahogany wood experience. It's a swanky spot decked out in cartoonish murals, dim lounge areas with leather seating, and pool tables galore. Sit down at the large, circular main bar and try one of the delicious oversize martinis; there's the Jolly Rancher and the key lime martini ($11 each). Strike up a conversation with a tired Macaroni Grill employee and bet the person next to you five bucks you can guess which of the waitresses in insanely tight bustiers has real breasts. Or maybe watch a UFC match and fight off an Egyptian businessman who's trying to get your number by swiping your cell phone and calling himself.
When the lights flicker on at 2 or 3 a.m., sample the underbelly of Kendalia at Kendall Village Diner. Formerly Starlite Diner, this joint serves up booze until 4 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday the service continues until 5 a.m., so the place attracts only the most sophisticated individuals. Swing by for the popular Thursday karaoke night and listen to myriad butchered versions of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." Here, if you're lucky, you'll be served by an androgynous waiter with the voice of Michael Jackson, meet a drunken clown who makes anatomically correct balloon animals, or possibly make out with a dominatrix who'll take you home and show you all of her whips.
Or, in true Kendall fashion, her chains.