Beachgoers stroll by Pops Corn, a popcorn and ice cream shop in the North Beach Village area at Sunrise Boulevard and A1A on Fort Lauderdale beach. The strip of shops, bars and restaurants is being revitalized by the merchant owners in the area.
The north beach area of Fort Lauderdale is getting a much-needed facelift.
New restaurant and bar concepts are joining the strip of T-shirt and convenience stores, a coin laundry, restaurants and bars nestled at the corner of State Road A1A and Sunrise Boulevard.
The revitalization of the block, which is often called the North Beach Village, comes after the 2011 opening of the B Ocean Hotel. The B Ocean brand transformed the former Holiday Inn into a full-service boutique hotel and its flagship location.
“This area has changed over the years as Fort Lauderdale beach has changed,” said Dev Motwani, managing partner with Chieftain Holdings. “There are some great longtime businesses here, but it’s time to breathe some new life into the neighborhood.”
Red Dog Cantina Tacos and Tequila will open inside the former Cafe Bluefish, a 22-year-old Fort Lauderdale establishment that shuttered last month. The new restaurant is owned by the same partners behind Reef Road Restaurant and Rum Bar on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach, said Tom Prakas, a South Florida restaurant broker.
“That area of Fort Lauderdale is finally starting to grow,” Prakas said. “It’s really going to make a pop.”
Barber Bar, a casual, barber shop and bar opened this month on Sunrise Boulevard on the north end of the village. Owner Lee Garipoli chose the spot to attract locals and tourists alike.
“I’ve been attracted to that spot on the beach for a long time,” Garipoli said. “It’s been a slow revitalization, but it’s becoming a popular area with people who live here.”
SandBar Fort Lauderdale, a nightclub behind the B Ocean Hotel, opened in late 2011. About the same time, Liquid Addiction Surf Shop opened on Sunrise Lane.
McSorley’s Beach Pub, which faces the beach on A1A near the Primanti Bros. restaurant, added a sun deck and bar to its second story in 2010.The bar has become a popular nightlife spot, even though it’s a mile north of the busier strip of A1A near Las Olas Boulevard.
“We’re an area that people have forgotten about a long time,” said Donal Kearney, owner of McSorley’s. “But once one business did a facelift, the rest started renovating behind it. We need more restaurants here to bring in more people.”
But more people means the area needs more room for parking, said Tim Schiavone, who owns Parrot Lounge, a 42-year-old Fort Lauderdale establishment.
“There is no future for the north edge of the beach without parking,” Schiavone said.
There are two valet parking areas in the village area that start at $6 per car on the weekends, but Schiavone said that’s not enough.
Long-term beach parking solutions are in the works but are still far from completion, said Matt Little, spokesman for the city of Fort Lauderdale. The city commission is considering a parking garage or lot option near Sebastian Street, a mile away from the North Beach Village.