Florida Atlantic University

The Elbo Room
September 2006
by Marc B. Zawel

For most of the nation’s students, spring break is an annual bacchanal of beaches, booze and babes. But for guys at Florida Atlantic University, the rowdy retreat mindset is a way of life every semester. Located in Boca Raton, the land of shuffleboard and early bird dinners, the school is close enough to coastal party spots in Ft. Lauderdale for students to exodus en masse every chance they get. Affectionately dubbed “Ft. Liquordale” by locals, the well-established party destination is known for its vibrant nightlife and beautiful beaches perfect for sleeping off hangovers. Anyone clamoring for this eternal spring break vibe should stop by the Elbo Room, a landmark dive that’s served drinks since 1938.

The Scene: Located across from the city’s main beach at the intersection of A1A and Las Olas Boulevard, the Elbo Room is the place to admire bikini-clad coeds, preferably on one of several outdoor decks with a cocktail in hand. Expansive inside, the bar boasts plenty of seating, an aged dance floor and a stage that showcases bands exuding a mellow classic rock vibe. The bar itself has a storied history, from keeping sailors in the ’40s satiated to serving as the backdrop for the 1984 remake of the campy spring break film Where the Boys Are. Throughout its various incarnations, this watering hole has always amicably served stiff drinks to those looking for an escape.

Girls at the Bar: “We’re kind of spoiled here,” says Joe, a junior engineering student. “You come to school in Florida and all you know are beautiful women.” His buddy Mike, a junior education major, agrees. “I’m learning a lot in school,” he says with a smirk. “But I’m learning more about women here — which is a more important lesson.” There’s a wide variety of women on the prowl at the Elbo, from cute sorority girls to aging cougars old enough to be your mom. (Hotter, though, probably.) Get your game face on.

When to Go: Bartenders recommend starting early on Saturday nights when drinks are two-for-one upstairs from 6-9 p.m. The same deal applies on Wednesday and Thursday nights, and all drinks are two bucks on Sunday from 7 p.m. until close. All are good times to get an early start and still avoid the crowds and seasonal spring break mayhem. And if you’re looking to enjoy the annual March coed migration and can’t make it, you can always check the streaming video on the bar’s website, including great footage from one camera aimed at cuties sunning themselves on the beach.

Dress Code: In a bar that sits literally feet from the ocean, don’t expect too much sartorial flair. Flip-flops, tank tops and shorts are the norm for both guys and girls. But after 7 p.m., shirts and shoes are required.

At the Bar: Don’t get caught ordering a martini or anything that requires a degree in mixology. Stick with college staples like draft beers, stiff well drinks and shooters. With the city’s lax open container law, drinks are served in plastic cups “to-go” style, perfect for when you decide to walk your newfound love interest home.

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