4

Night Watch: Shooters Waterfront Cafe, Where the Wet T-Shirt Contest Once Reigned

Night Watch is a recurring feature about bars and clubs by nightlife columnist Tara Nieuwesteeg. 
^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.


Shooters Waterfront Café

3033 NE 32nd Ave, Fort Lauderdale


Call 954-566-2855, or visit

shooterscafe.com

"I thought you were really... different. That was the first thing about you that really caught my attention," he was saying. His clean sweatshirt was neatly pressed; he was good looking, dark complexioned, and had, throughout their conversation, employed many comical cartoon character voices in attempts to make her laugh. She did, but only sparsely. She was waifish, with dark hair and a pretty, angular face. An arty chick, if I'd ever seen one. 

They sat adjacent to me at the large, pine-colored bar. She didn't look particularly engaged in him; she fiddled slightly with her long, flowing scarf.
 
Perhaps that's what he gets for taking her on a date to Shooters Waterfront Café, home of the corrupting, cling-tastic Wet T-Shirt Contest, which still occurs once a week, if you're interested.

David, the utterly adorable bartender, insisted the place used to be a real hotspot; today, it packs in a solid 30- to 50-year-old crowd that comes for the specials. "We still get slammed every day during happy hour," David said. "but it's not like back in the '80s. Everybody has their memory of that time. You know, we'd have lines five deep of boats docked outside. All waiting to get in. It was a serious party spot." 



Shooters' main draw has always been its expansive patio area on the Intracoastal Waterway and the option of arriving by water. In more decadent days, it was Spring Break Central; today, drinkers still come by water taxi and affluent couples pull up for dinner via yacht.  Manatees and dolphins swim by all the time. 

Inside the restaurant, the breezy Florida style persists: yellow fish shimmy around inside giant fish tanks; alcohol-related posters ("Beer: It's What's for Dinner") and beach-scene pics grace the walls; big fake marlins swim across the dining area. I overheard a middle-aged New Yorker woman continually mistake Peyton for Eli Manning, and watched a white-haired gent in a studded black felt hat and fringed black leather jacket cozy up to two slender, much-younger dames. 
  
I got a bourbon and Coke (with Old Crow bourbon, which didn't particularly impress me), tore off a chunk of sweet Bimini bread, and took a swig of booze.


"What I mean is, I really, really like you," Cartoon Voice Guy was telling Arty Chick. "You can't often just sit and talk to someone without all the bullshit."


"Yeah, that's rare these days," she said vacantly. 
"But I feel like I can say anything to you," he continued. "I want you to know--I really, really like you." 


She smiled at him broadly, awkwardly, before calling out to the bartender: "When you get a second, can I get my check?"


Lesson learned: Shooter's isn't a place for amore. It's a place for boozing, beach culture, and still, boobies.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.