Got Out of South Beach for Cryin Out Loud, Part 1 – Hallandale

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Ahhhh, Hallandale Beach. The fresh air, the sunny skies, the almost complete absence of douchebags.

Ever wake up on a Saturday morning and you’re not hung-over (rarely!) and sick of going to South Beach for your yucks (always!)? Then get an early start and drive on over to Hallandale Beach for a day:

1) Grab some brunch at local legend Sage Bagels – What a Bagel! as they say

2) Head over to the American Range and Gunshop for some target practice – hence, no hangover is required

3) Unwind at the Aqua Golf Driving Range – this range offers a bit more peace and quiet than the first, so for those with hangovers, skip step two

4) Get your feed on at Mott Street Chinese Restaurant – please order the crispy salted pepper shrimp!

5) Bring a pair of socks to the Holiday Bowling Center – work off the fried wontons, and order a bucket of beers

6) End the night with drinks and music at the Billabong Pub – they have hundreds of different beers here, so you’ll be sure to make up that hang over on Sunday morning!

Here’s some more info on the places mentioned above:

1) Sage Bagels, I have a friend who has lived in Hallandale FOREVER and when I asked him his opinion on where to have brunch, this was his immediate, no-hesitation answer. Sage Bagels has been around since before I was born, and is just one of those places that embodies old school Miami.

2) Granted a gun range isn’t necessarily everyone’s cup of tea, but I just had to see what this place is about. And it’s definitely worth checking out. The counter-people who help you choose your gun, give you some (very basic) instruction and provide the all-important bullets look like snap-you-like-a-twig former Navy Seals. You can choose from a range of target posters – the traditional silhouette, the terrorist-looking fella, the mafioso thug: there’s an outlet for all sorts of rage. And when you finally walk up to the shooting gallery – well, it’s like all hell has broken loose. (Be sure to opt for ear plugs.) I’ll tell you what, most people who frequent gun ranges like REALLY big, REALLY loud guns. The greatest part was that on one side I had a SWAT-type guy with his high and tight haircut, and on the other a total gangster kid wearing falling down jeans and socks with slippers. Everybody is equal and anonymous in the bowels of the shooting range. Watch out for flying, red-hot bullet casings! They can fly in your cleavage, as I found out, which is why they made my put a t-shirt on over my halter top.

3) I’m a girl (see: halter top experience above). As a girl I’m expected to not like golf. Golf is for men. Men play golf and drink beer with other men. You know how it is. Except, guys, you must take your girls to Aqua Golf. On a golden South Florida afternoon it’s, dare I say, downright romantic. The cottony silence is broken only by the soft thwacks of golf balls being hit, the sun glints off the water, and if you hit that ball just so (the wrong way) it shimmies over the water like a skipping stone. Oh yes, did I mention – you’re driving these balls into a big ol’ pond.

4) The shrimp, man, the shrimp. When I went there with Bennett, our hostess and cashier was an unnaturally poised 5 year-old girl who handled us with aplomb – panache, even. It worth going just for her, but you’ll get suckered in completely when you sit down and find that every table is pre-stocked with a generous bowl of fried wontons, so just sit down and start eating and then order those damned shrimp.

5) The Holiday: a true hole-in-the-wall bowling alley. About 100% cheaper than Lucky Strikes on Lincoln Rd, and about 1000% fewer douchebags. Go for the bowling, stay for the sassy bartendresses and the fact that you hardly (never) have to wait for a table. They have the usually fried, greasy spoon eats, insanely inexpensive drinks and a couple of pool tables for when you get tired of throwing strike after strike.

6) Haven’t been to the Billabong myself, but when Bennett needs a chill night out with a bud, that’s where he goes – namely because of said friend above, who lives in Hallandale. But check out their website for their beer menu – it’s so long it took about 2 minutes to load the page inspite of my highspeed connection. Speaking of highspeed connections, they advertise free wireless internet too.

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