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Fort Fabulous

The former spring break capital of Fort Lauderdale is all grown up—but still has its groove.

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

American Social

STAY
The Pillars Hotel and Il Lugano Hotel & Residences
It’s true: Fort Lauderdale has a shortage of contemporary boutique hotels. So the two that do exist are often in hot demand (read: book early). The beach-home inspired Pillars wins out on location, with great Intracoastal views, and it’s situated within walking distance to the best beach hangouts. Il Lugano takes the prize for style, with its chic interiors, clean-line symmetries and new apartment-style lodgings, complete with private kitchens (perfect for hosting impromptu house parties). Pillars, rooms from $179, pillarshotel.com; Il Lugano, rooms from $129, illugano.com, @illuganofl

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
It’s not every day that big pimpin’ at The Ritz-Carlton seems within reach. Yet during summer, the Fort Lauderdale outpost offers bargain rates for some well-deserved beachfront barefoot luxury. At just five years old, this modernized The Ritz-Carlton has zero stuffy factor, no floral prints or gold trim and no portraits of pasty bluebloods. Rooms from $229, ritzcarlton.com/fortlauderdale, @ritzcarlton

EAT & SIP
Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House
Downtown’s former post office has been reincarnated as the ultimate brunch destination. The supercozy old breakfast house is the perfect remedy for hangovers and morning hunger pangs, with huge mugs of cappuccino, bowls of cheesy grits, mega-pancakes and overflowing omelets. Service can be brisk, but the delish food and homey atmosphere make up for it. o-bhouse.com

Wild Sea Oyster Bar & Grille

The menu changes often at this boutique seafood-centric resto, dictated by what’s fresh, in season and available from local fisherman. Yet, at all times, the restaurant showcases a vast variety of our favorite aphrodisiac—oysters—and a smart menu of artisanal libations (including an extensive wine list) to wash down the saltwater delights. riversidehotel.com/dining/wild-sea-oyster-bar-and-grille, @wildsealasolas

PARTY
American Social
Las Olas Boulevard’s new bar on the block has a sexy-nerd vibe, in part from its patriotic-Life magazine-library theme, in part from its young, sophisticated crowd. It’s the kind of personality-driven place you’d expect to find in Boston, but Fort Lauderdale is definitely digging it. Arrive early on weekends—it’s usually standing-room only and reaches capacity by 11:30pm. On weekdays, check out $5 Burger Night on Mondays and Ladies Night Wednesdays, with half off all drinks for the gals. americansocialbar.com, @american_social

Royal Pig Pub & Kitchen

Packed seven nights a week, the Pig is currently Fort Lauderdale’s “it” gastropub. Insanely caloric Cajun cuisine (or, as chef Stanton Bundy calls it, “upscale redneck” food) lures the early crowd (think New Orleans shrimp swimming in beer, and butter and sweet-potato casserole with walnut crumble and homemade marshmallows). After 9pm, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a space around the bar, as the pub transforms into the city’s biggest party scene. One too many blood-orange mojitos is the perfect excuse for a Friday night tryst...royalpigpub.com, @royalpigpub

Sublime Pool Party at W Fort Lauderdale

Sunday Fundays are back in Fort Lauderdale. The weekly summer Sublime Pool Party on W Fort Lauderdale’s Wet pool deck (open to the public) kicked off the season Memorial Day weekend, and the trendy set will keep the party going through summer, with flowing pitchers of mojitos and margaritas from noon till sunset. Just be careful what you do in the pool: After all, it is see-through from decks below. whotels.com/fortlauderdale, @wftlauderdale

Tap 42 Bar & Kitchen
This wildly popular beer garden features an ever-changing selection of 42 beers on tap, a large selection of bourbons and whiskeys, and plenty of inventive cocktails, including the Te-Kill-Ya. It’s loud, casual and the perfect place to kick back a few pints before moving on to hard-core late-night drinking endeavors. tap42.com, @tap42bar