Feb 232014
vaping logo

You want to go see a live band but the bar they are playing at is too smokey and you can’t stand the smell, so you stay away… and that is slowly changing as more and more smokers are giving us burning tobacco in favor of electronic cigarettes and taking up a new habit – vaping!  The latest trend of switching out cigarettes for smoke-free vapors is having a positive effect for all those bars which have relied heavily on their crowds of customers who like to light up when they have a drink – and it may make the decision a lot easier for bar owners who have been considering making their places of business smoke-free as have most other places of business around town.  I even noticed less ashtrays being spread about one of the bars this weekend as a sign of the times.

vaping in barsAs you walk into many a bar these days, you will note that patrons are smoking traditional cigarettes less and experimenting with what some consider to be a safer alternative which we call vaping.  This new form of smoking which replaces tobacco with a liquid that contains nicotine, a flavor and some natural or synthetic liquid that gets vaporized when heated up by a battery is slowly transforming smoke filled bars into places where the air is just a little bit cleaner these days.  Bar owners who would love to make their establishments smoke-free are breathing a sigh of relief as their air filters are no longer working overtime trying to clean the exhaust of non-stop chain-smokers blowing smelly fumes into the air.  The big question is how many vaping clients will it take before signs start going up on the walls to announce that these establishments are now prohibiting traditional cigarettes.  Until recently, doing so would have risked a large source of revenue for bars and lounges where patrons could feel free to light up.

smoking ban in ireland

Ireland smoke ban cleans pub air – click here to read all about it.

This blog is not about whether or not vaping is safer or not but simply an observance and aspiration that one day, patrons of live music will not have to worry about whether a bar allows smoking or not before deciding to go and enjoy their favorite band on a Friday or Saturday night.  I think that it is truly amazing how much cleaner the output of an electronic cigarette is compared with those containing burning tobacco and I know that many a lead singer will prefer to sing in a smoke-free environment too.  One of my fears is that vaping lounges will open up in the style of hookah lounges and start attracting a younger market away from bars and restaurants who currently support our local industry of live music.

As we all know, businesses have to either get with the times or eventually disappear.  After all, you are reading this online and not in a local newspaper, right?  There’s a lot to think about whether you are a smoker, a non-smoker, a fan of live music or the owner/manager of a local venue.   Please feel free to share your comments on the subject as I am sure that this will be a HOT topic for years to come!

‘see you somewhere real soon!


The Weekend Concierge

 February 23, 2014  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Feb 162014
JP Soars The Redhots

Now that the Riverwalk Blues Festival has come and gone, you need not wait another year to enjoy some of the best Blues bands in the Fort Lauderdale area.  What follows are some of the bands and locations where you will find some of the very same musicians that played at this weekend’s highly successful event in downtown Fort Lauderdale, as well as a few more that I can recommend.

Starting on Monday night, enjoy the sounds of Joey Gilmore at Blue Jean Blues on NW 33rd St, off A1A and Oakland Park Blvd.  Directly across the street, Wednesday night is always a Blues Jam night at Fishtales, hosted by Bobby Nathan.  Friday night at Fishtales will feature Jimi Fiano and the Moderunners, another great jam band.

RIPS Blues Weekend

Coming to a bowling alley bar near you, RIPs Sports Bar in Pompano will present the sounds of Joey Gilmore, Albert Castiglia and Rosco Martinez this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights respectively. If you miss Albert on Friday, you can catch him again the following week at Maguire’s Hill 16 on February 28th.

On Saturday night, you can enjoy Josh Rowand & the Pitbull of Blues at The “Historic” Downtowner Saloon, directly across the river from where the Blues Festival was held this past weekend.

Another local favorite, Dave Shelley & Bluestone will return to the scene after a brief absence beginning March 1st at the Mardi Gras Casino in Hallandale.

Last, but not least, The Dubliner Irish Pub in Fort Lauderdale will play host to Bryan Lee on March 2nd, JP Soars & The  Red Hots on March 16, Biscuit Miller & The Mix on the 23rd and Brandon Santini on the 30th.

Special thanks to www.jazzbluesflorida.com for providing the schedule for The Dubliner since I could not find listings on either their website or Facebook page.  I would definitely recommend JazzBluesFlorida as a great source for both Jazz and Blues anywhere in the State of Florida. In fact, I only listed a few of the many Blues happenings around town just to give you a sense of how widespread this genre of entertainment happens to be in and around Fort Lauderdale.  Aside from the last set of suggestions, all of the acts mentioned were listed on the Live Music Events Calendar at WeekendBroward.com.

If you have any more to add, please feel free to send them myway!

‘see you somewhere soon!

 February 16, 2014  Posted by  Local Bands, Weekend Blog No Responses »
Feb 152014
trusted photographer logo

Thanks to Google Maps and their “Street View” technology, we can now take a walking tour down any street in the world and see what any building looks like from the outside without ever leaving our desk.  When you search for places using Google Maps, you will see an option for Street View that virtually transports you directly to the street you are looking at on the map. Here are some sample screen photo’s to give you an idea of how this looks:

Google Streetview

Now, wouldn’t it be cool, if you could virtually walk through the front door of any building and look around inside? That is exactly what the next phase of Street View technology allows you to do. Not every place of business has this up and running yet, as it is taking a team of photographers from around the world to get permission from local businesses, one at a time, to enter inside with special equipment before Google will allow a panoramic virtual tour to appear as a new option on their Google Maps and Google+ Local search results.

To give you a better idea of how this looks, here are some examples of virtual tours which you can take inside local bars and restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area.

The Downtowner Saloon in Fort Lauderdale

Blue Jean Blues in Fort Lauderdale

As you can see, faces are purposely blurred out to maintain privacy, but you are still able to get a pretty good view of the bars, tables, stage and even zoom in to see details, in the same way that you could zoom in on the details of a house showing in Google’s street view.

Here are some more examples of local bars and restaurants in the Fort Lauderdale area who have opted into this program by hiring a Google Trusted Photographer, of which there are only three or four currently operating in Broward County.

Lulu’s Bait Shack at Beach Place Fort Lauderdale

Tavolina Dela Nono in Coral Springs

What’s also nice about these virtual tours inside businesses, is that Google will freely give out the code to insert the very same 360-degree interactive tour into any website.

trusted photographer logoSpecial thanks to Christopher Hooper, a Google Business Photos Trusted Photographer, for providing all of the samples found on this page.  Christopher also photographs virtual tours of hotels, yachts and jets among any other location that would benefit from this new technology.  To find out if your business qualifies for the “Look Inside” feature on Google Maps, click here.

Related Links:

Frequently Asked Questions about Google Maps Business Photos

See Inside with Google Business Photos

Contact Us for more information on this innovative selling tool from Google with a special rate for WeekendBroward sponsors.

 February 15, 2014  Posted by  Weekend Blog Tagged with: ,  No Responses »
Feb 062014
U2 by UV at Italian Festival

In case you have not already noticed, there’s so much to see and do around town this month.  The cooler weather makes spending the day outside so much more pleasant than our summertime sweltering heat, so many outdoor events are planned each year for the month of February.

Beginning February 8th, you can catch the Garlic Festival in Delray Beach, where your culinary senses will mix with the sounds of live music starting Friday night and going all the way through Sunday evening.  A complete schedule can be found on the WeekendBroward events page.  If Greek Food is more your passion and you enjoy Greek Culture, you will find plenty of both at the Greek Festival in Fort Lauderdale, taking place from Friday to Sunday as well.  I did not see any bands listed on their schedule, but you will be entertained non-stop by Dance troupes instead.

A new and not as well known event that was recently put together by one of our local bands is a concert to benefit the Abandoned Dogs of the Everglades in Southwest Ranches, near Weston on February 9th.   We know that there are many dog lovers out there who would like to help out any organization that rescues abused and neglected animals from the wilds of the everglades – so please make time to come to this free outdoor concert on Sunday, February 9, featuring Mr. Nice Guy, The Livesays, Rosco Martinez band and Sucker Punch. You’ll hear Rock, Country and Blues from some of the best bands in town – all for free! They are doing it all to raise awareness and much needed funds for a worthwhile cause.

The weekend of Valentine’s Day is the start of the infamous Riverwalk Blues Festival in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  Read the event page for all the details including parties before and after the main event.  The Blues Fest is a must-see for music and blues lovers and has become an annual tradition for many.

Another favorite festival is on the weekend beginning February 21st and that is St. Coleman’s Italian Festival. The Italian Fest will feature authentic Italian foods, pastries, games of chance, carnival rides and LOCAL BANDS!  If you like the Eagles, don’t miss the band that tours the world playing tribute to them at The 12th Annual Coconut Creek Butterfly Festival on February 22nd.

The month of outdoor festivals will end with the St. Ambrose Carnival & Music Festival in Deerfield Beach.  This one starts on the night of Thursday, February 27th and ends on Sunday night and features a total of 16 local bands.  You can preview many video’s of these bands posted on their Facebook event page which shows how proud these bands are to play at this annual festival.

As you can see, there is no lack of outdoor entertainment this month!  If you have anything to add, just use the comment link and we’ll try to share your comments with others.

‘see you somewhere real soon!

Rob aka The Weekend Concierge

 February 6, 2014  Posted by  Local Events, Weekend Blog Comments Off on February abounds in outdoor events
Feb 022014
business lunch food trucks

Are you tired of getting the same old sandwiches or platters for your company sponsored business lunches?  Depending on where your business is located, you may be lucky enough to be able to call upon one or more Food Trucks to stop by and make fresh meals on-site for the whole staff!  The more people you have to feed, the more trucks can show up just before lunch outside your front door and stay until the last person is fed!

Imagine the possibilities where you can select from a variety of hot dishes, made fresh only a few feet away from your conference room in a custom kitchen built on wheels that will roll in just in time for lunch and leave without a mess!  No more carrying heavy trays and setting up buffet tables with a variety of foods that may get tossed away at the end of a meeting or employee luncheon! Food Trucks can be a really convenient alternative to the way things have always been done around the office.

It used to be that you would have to call one truck at a time but now, thanks to Food Truck Coordinators such as Jochen Esser of Gourmet Truck Catering, you will have access to a database of over 100 local trucks to “cater” to every possible taste.   Jochen works with each mobile food truck operator to offer customized menu’s to fit every event planner’s budget and objectives.

food truck catering

Photo credit: gourmettruckcatering.com

The number of trucks is usually determined by the size of the crowd expected.  Tables and chairs can be set up in close proximity to the trucks outside or indoors where participants can eat in the convenience of air conditioning.   Either way, getting their lunch from a variety of trucks on stand-by can be a unique way to serve crowds of any size and age in a formal or informal environment.

If you have an event that might benefit from the diversity and unique food selection available from Food Trucks,  leave a message for Jochen by using this contact form or visiting his website, gourmettruckcatering.com and let him know you heard about it from WeekendBroward!


 February 2, 2014  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Jan 142014
Hard Rock Cafe

At the start of every week, The Weekend Concierge checks out the live music calendar to see who is playing where on Friday and Saturday nights and prepares a list of ten recommended spots to catch live music around town.  The lists consists of some of the favorite local spots for watching cover bands in and around Fort Lauderdale.  Preference is given to venues which offer live music on both Friday AND Saturday nights.  Consistency is extremely important when booking quality entertainment. People should feel confident that the managers who book the bands for these bars and restaurants know how to seek out artists that will entertain their customers.

The list is presented in alphabetical order by city so no preference is given over the first versus last venue listed.  The Weekend Concierge strives to find great venues in the North and South end of Broward and sometimes miscounts so you may find a few extra venues listed now and again.  Since not all venues have their shows listed far enough in advance so this list is a further incentive to venues to ensure that their listings are up to date whenever possible.  In addition to the names of the venues, cities, and bands playing Friday and Saturday, the list also gives you a quick look at which places allow smoking indoors versus those that are smoke-free.

While this list is a great place to start your weekend planning, be sure to follow it up by checking out the complete hour by hour listing of live bands in and around town on the  LIVE MUSIC EVENTS CALENDAR.

CITYVENUEFriday Oct 20Saturday Oct 21SMOKING?
Coconut CreekJohnny O'BriansAxcentsBounceNO *
Coconut CreekNectar LoungeThe LivesaysThe ReclinersYES
Coral SpringsTavolino Della Notte *Valerie TysonJorge Garcia Jam BandYES
Coral SpringsPremier Billiards[DJ Stefan]SoulicideYES
DavieCagney's SaloonOvrholYES
Fort LauderdaleThe Dive BarCrazy FingersSweet NothingsYES
Fort LauderdaleMarina-84Play StreetJah Steve & The Counteract CrewNO *
Fort LauderdaleFishtales on 33rdBounceBoys Night OutNO *
Fort LauderdaleCheersAudio TrampThe CrushYES
Fort LauderdaleLulu's Bait ShackRiverdownRadio StereoNO
HollywoodMargaritavilleDream OnKhemistryNO
HollywoodWhiskey TangoThe CrushBombshellNO *
HollywoodHard Rock CafeSidearmSidearmYES
Lighthouse PointPacky's PubJeffrey James GangRough ShotNO *
Pompano BeachBriny PubSekond NatureSmokin' AcesYES
Pompano BeachGaluppi'sBango Bango'sBig Rock BandNO *
SunriseCheers SunriseShovel-HeadSpektoraYES

* Smoking permitted at outdoor patio


 January 14, 2014  Posted by  Local Bands, Weekend Blog No Responses »