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 March 23Saturday March 24SMOKING?
Coconut CreekJohnny O'BriansThe Evil MonkeysSteeltown ReligionNO *
Coconut CreekNectar LoungeShane DuncanThe GoodnicksYES
Coral SpringsTavolino Della NotteJorge Garcia and the JamJimmy WilliamsonYES
Coral SpringsPremier Billiards[DJ Stefan]MonsterYES
DavieCagney's SaloonRepeat OffendersYES
Fort LauderdaleThe Dive BarAces & KingsPaybackYES
Fort LauderdaleMarina-84Sekond NatureBS BandNO *
Fort LauderdaleFishtales on 33rdKRUSH BandCrushNO *
Fort LauderdaleCheersFistful of DollarsWrecktifierYES
Fort LauderdaleLulu's Bait ShackGrindstoneGreen Means GoNO
HollywoodMargaritavilleKhemistryDeep Fried FunkNO
HollywoodWhiskey TangoAxcentsSpektoraNO *
HollywoodHard Rock CafeShake 3xShake 3xYES
Lighthouse PointPacky's PubSippin' FireThe KlikNO *
Pompano BeachBriny PubTuxedo JesusHigh ToleranceYES
Pompano BeachGaluppi'sBig Rock BandAlbert Castiglia/Shaw DavisNO *
SunriseCheers SunriseStone MojoStereo MixYES

* Smoking permitted at outdoor patio


 January 14, 2014  Posted by  Local Bands, Weekend Blog No Responses »
Dec 312013
Drinking water at bar

Do you attend shows for your friends in bands and believe that you are helping them out by occupying a seat at the bar or restaurant?   While it is true that getting as many fans to show up as possible will make for a potentially better show, the question at the end of the night for the venue will be how much “ring” did the cash register show? perrier-water-bar I have seen it many times – people have a drink or two before they leave home, have some hidden in their vehicles or worst, sneak airplane sized bottles into venues.  Sure, they save money, but doesn’t it defeat the purpose of venues hiring the bands in the first place?  If you show up to a restaurant fresh from dinner, you are less likely to order any food and possibly even too full to drink anything but water.  You might have a good time and enjoy your friends’ band, but are you possibly harming them by not leaving much for the venue to bring the band back again? Now, I get the fact that drinks can get expensive and maybe you don’t want to order dinner or appetizers at 10 or 11 at night, but you have to keep in mind that most local cover bands around South Florida are playing at venues which don’t even have a cover  charge.  The only way that they can afford to bring in quality bands night after night is if they make enough on the back-end by profiting on the sale of food and drinks.  So, the question I know some people will ask me is “If I am broke, should I just stay home?”  My opinion is that we have a pretty fair system in place.  If you can afford to buy expensive drinks and give the servers AND band extremely nice tips, go for it! If, on the other hand, you are struggling to stay afloat, either buy something such as a draft beer or soft drink or stay home. Is it good enough to order water and leave a decent tip?  The answer is “No!”  The venue will not count tips towards the revenue needed to pay the band at the end of the night.  If you do not want to drink an alcoholic beverage and just want water – perhaps you could order a premium bottle of water?  Venues will not usually refuse customers a cup of tap-water, however, they WILL remember how many fans order it when it comes time to bringing the band or musician back for a repeat gig. la-rays-and-stark-water-sommelier Have you ever heard of the Principle of Nonmaleficence or Primum non nocere?  It is roughly translated as “first, do no harm”.  Nonmaleficence means that if one cannot do good without also causing harm, then one should not act at all.  It is most often heard in the field of medicine, but I think we can easily apply it to the situation stated in this blog.  So, while it may sound mean of me, I am sure that my thoughts will ring true with many a bar or restaurant owner to tell you to either bring your wallet or your friend’s band may be playing their last gig – and nobody wants to be the reason for that.

 December 31, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog 1 Response »
Dec 212013
Happy New Year

New Years Eve Party Cagneys SaloonMaking a decision where to celebrate the final day of the year will be harder than ever this year with a fantastic lineup of live entertainment featured at local bars in and around Fort Lauderdale this year.  Not only that, but most bars will be transforming themselves into the cleanest and most classiest places to hang out on New Years Eve.  No matter how fancy it gets, you can still put on your best or your worst pair of jeans and be perfectly welcome at any of the places on this list.  (Am I talking to the men or women out there? I’m not really sure!)  What’s also great about going to a bar on New Year’s Eve is that you don’t have to take a date.  While it can be embarrassing for some people to attend a New Year’s ball or masquerade party at a swank place all alone, you really don’t have to worry about that when it comes to these places.  On top of that, none of the bars in town are not charging outrageous sums of money just because it’s the very last day of the year.

omearas new years eve partyWe, in South Florida, are privileged to have so many talented musicians in our midst that are so dedicated to their artistry that they will give up a special night with their significant others or families to entertain us at local pubs and restaurants – even on a Tuesday night, barely giving them enough time to recover from the final weekend of the year.  Call it dedication if you will, but the bars and restaurants around town see it as one last opportunity to bring patrons to their establishments in the middle of the week when their places are usually half-empty.

During the past week, I asked friends on Facebook for any details about their New Year’s Eve gigs, but aside from getting the names of the bands and the places they will be playing, it wasn’t easy.  Here, then, is my most up to date list of who is playing where on New Year’s Eve and I can only recommend that you check out the beautiful flyers that will be streaming across your screen on the Weekend Broward Live Music Events page and the notes section on the calendar which I will do my best to keep up with as we get closer to the END OF THE YEAR.  Whether you decide to go out or stay in, I will take this opportunity to thank you for supporting live music in and around Fort Lauderdale and wish you all the best in 2014!

The ResolversBoston's on the BeachDelray Beach$25 door charge
BounceWhiskey TangoHollywoodBalloon drop with prizes inside and free champagne toast at midnight.
Far from GracePacky's PubLighthouse PointSpecial New Years Eve Dinner Menu $15.95-$19.95. Complimentary champagne toast. RSVP suggested.
The New PlanetsSeminole Hard Rock CasinoHollywoodCenter Fountain at Seminole Paradise
Livin' on a Prayer & Don't Stop Believin'Lulu's Bait ShackFort LauderdaleNo Cover. Hosted by Mindy from Magic 102.7 from 8pm-Midnight.
The DropoutsCagney's SaloonDavieFree Breakfast Buffet
CrushFishtales on 33rdFort Lauderdale$49.95/person RSVP required. Incl. appetizers, 2 drinks, dinner and more!
Payback BandJimbo's SandbarHollywoodnear Dania Beach
Stone MojoCheersSunriseFree Champagne Toast at Midnight
SoulicideCuddy's Sports ShackCoconut CreekDinner specials starting at $16.95/pp. Free Champagne toast at midnight. Also giveaways & raffle prizes.
Adam Jason BandDubliner PubBoca Raton
Project-XCheersFort LauderdaleChampagne toast at midnight. $10 cover
The Double StandardJD's LoungeCoral SpringsBar seating only (Tables all booked in advance)
Albert CastigliaMaguire's Hill 16Fort Lauderdale$10 Cover. No reservations accepted.

Looking for a family event? Read all about New Year’s Eve Party in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Did you stumble across this in the wrong year?  Here’s our update for December 31, 2014: http://weekendbroward.com/new-years-eve-bands-around-ft-lauderdale/

Here’s he update for December 31, 2015: http://weekendbroward.com/ring-in-2016-with-a-new-years-eve-party-with-live-music-around-fort-lauderdale/

Payback New Years Eve JimbosProject-X New Yers Eve Party Cheers Sunrisemainstreet fishtales new years eve partyNew year's Eve Party

 December 21, 2013  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »