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10+ things to do this weekend in Fort Lauderdale and beyond: Cookies, beer and historic pizza

Sun Sentinel logoSun Sentinel 4/23/2021 Ben Crandell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

A little J&J on the rocks, a double shot of Pfizer or Moderna neat — locals are loosened up for a weekend of music, cookies, homemade beer and historic pizza. Here are some options:

Sugar rush

Would you be more inspired to drop by if they called the Fort Lauderdale Art Walk something like the Fort Lauderdale Cookie Walk? Doughnut Walk? Saturday’s night’s monthly downtown gathering includes a side gig in the MASS District called The Taste of Art, hosted by Chef Max Santiago of Batch, the Cookie Company fame (before that, Wynwood’s internet-breaking Salty Donut), Notorious Creamery and other local pastry chefs. Visit

Weekend DJ

Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Rhythm & Vine (a little slice of Austin, someone said to me the other day) will celebrate seven years of drink-y community on Saturday, with Grammy-nominated Swiss DJ EDX. Doors open at 2 p.m. and there’s no cover (21 and older). Visit

Lucky 13th

The 13th Street corridor in central Fort Lauderdale (north of Sunrise) has been on a low simmer with the pandemic, so it’s good to see the Urban Jungle Artisan Market popping up in the 600 block of the street on Sunday afternoon. At the risk of coming off as an irredeemable Philistine, I feel compelled to mention (because I know my audience) that along with live music and displays by local artists and crafters, the market will offer the opportunity to pop in at LoveLee Bake Shop and Gulf Stream Brewery. Hosted by JAM Hospitality Group, the market is open noon-5 p.m. Visit UrbanJungleMarketFTL.Com.

New pool party

This really is opening weekend for the Easton, the rooftop lounge and pool deck bar at Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown hotel (721 N. Federal Highway), originally set to debut last week (inspections, paperwork, yada). The space is in a soft-opening phase before its official debut on May 15 with a party featuring Grammy-winning producer and DJ Diplo. This weekend the Easton will open at 4 p.m. each day. Beginning next week, hours will be 4 p.m.-3 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Visit

Bacon + bourbon

The seventh annual Wellington Bacon and Bourbon Fest returns Saturday-Sunday in a beautiful new spot at the waterfront Wellington Town Center Promenade, where you’ll find tented and socially distanced places to enjoy the bacon and pork dishes from local chefs that make this event so popular. Admission is free, with entrees running $9 to $17 a plate. Of course, there will be hard-to-get bourbon, with many of the most prized bottles served at the Last Drop Bar, hosted by respected barkeep John “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick (once of 32 East and the Wine Room). Visit

Historic pizza

This is your last weekend to soak up the atmosphere and the red sauce at Franco & Vinny’s, and institution on Fort Lauderdale beach, as is its personable owner, Vinny Esposito. Vinny’s retirement marks the end of a 50-year run for the restaurant, shutting its doors for good on Sunday. This will be an emotional weekend and a table will be the toughest reservation in town. But you can always do takeout — locals consider the pizza to be among the best around. It’ll be your last, so savor it. Visit

Drink local

LauderAle will host its sixth annual Home Brew Competition 4-8 p.m. Saturday, with 15 local beer makers, more than 40 beers, food trucks and limitless beer talk. Tasting tickets are $25. The address, because LauderAle is famously over yonder, is 3305 SE 14th Ave. Visit

Rock local

Equal parts soulman and jumpy blues rocker, charismatic Fort Lauderdale-based guitarist Joel DaSilva will play an outdoor show at Grump Gary’s on Hollywood Beach 8 p.m. Friday. Satisfaction guaranteed. Visit … Another guitar worth seeking out belongs to JP Soars, who will bring the Red Hots to the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton 7 p.m Saturday (tickets start at $15). Visit

Driving Las Olas

LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, whose pop-culture influence extends beyond the sport, took some swings at the simulator on Wednesday at Senna Made Clubhouse, a reminder that behind the fashionable Las Olas storefront, the shop has a putting green, the simulator and a little lounge in the back (a cool hang on a rainy weekend). Also a reminder that Gulbis looks better than I do swinging a golf club, and pretty much everything else. Visit

Delray Beach pod music

News came this week that Jimmy Buffett is bringing his distinctive vibe to Old School Square in Delray Beach next month, but that’s just one of a series of welcome outdoor shows coming to pod-enclosed audiences on the square. On Saturday, versatile singer-songwriter Grace Potter plays Old School Square (alas, sold out). May highlights include weekend concerts by the North Mississippi Allstars (April 30), comic filmmaker and author Kevin Smith (May 7), trailblazing guitarist Tommy Emmanuel (May 15), Nashville twangers Old Crow Medicine Show (May 20), Southern soul band St. Paul & the Broken Bones (May 21), singer-songwriter Martin Sexton (May 27) and a ’90s night with Vanilla Ice, Stevie B, 2 Live Crew, DJ Johnny Quest and DJ Laz. For tickets and more information, visit

Lots of laughs

People want to laugh. Need to laugh. So Kevin James’ shows at the Palm Beach Improv on Sunday are sold out, as are all five performances this weekend by that guy Andrew Schulz. Now may be the time to jump on popular acts coming up on the schedule in the next month: Carlos Mencia (April 29-May 2), Damon Wayans (May 7-9), Drew Lynch (May 13-16), Cedric the Entertainer (May 21-23) and Adam Ray (May 28-30). Visit

KISS of life

About a month ago, I was part of a group at Galuppi’s in Pompano Beach for a show by the South Florida-based band Smokin’, a tribute to Boston. Awesome. No other word for it. Galuppi’s, which had just finished a major remodel of its outdoor stage last year when the pandemic hit, will host KISS Alive on Friday beginning at 7:30 p.m. What I know about them: Great Paul Stanley, even better Gene Simmons, and the drummer hands out roses at the end of “Beth.” Kitschy? Sure. But, c’mon, KISS! For table reservations (highly recommended) and more information, visit

Shorts in a bunch

Cinema Paradiso is one of my favorite South Florida theaters, for its storefront intimacy and location in the center of the action in downtown Hollywood. Like its sister theater, Fort Lauderdale’s Savor Cinema, the Hollywood screen will be home this weekend to this year’s Oscar-nominated short films, in live-action, animated and documentary categories. For times and tickets, visit

Staff writer Ben Crandell can be reached at


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