In Memory of Las Olas Riverfront

I seldom cross the border into Broward. I did this weekend and passed by Las Olas Riverfront expecting something lively and a bite to eat. Instead I found a taste of the post apocalyptic. 

The place was almost completely empty–devoid of activity. I went to the bathroom, but the faucet ran only to a drip. There was no soap. No paper. Still, the fountains were running. The lights were on. The palm tree trunks were hauntingly illuminated. Escalators were broken along with chairs and bar stools. I counted three establishments open–occupied only by employees.

This place used to get jam packed. People spilled onto the streets. It was lively and loud—a pillar of Ft. Lauderdale nightlife. What remains is ghostly.

The directory shows what’s left:

I was stunned. What I saw moved me–literally took my ass to South Beach for dinner.

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23 Comments

Filed under BoB Articles, Commercial Developments

23 responses to “In Memory of Las Olas Riverfront

  1. The movie theater is still open, and you can always find a great seat to a first run movie – although during Batman; it did cut out at peak loudness a couple of times.

    The thing is, just around the corner, Himmarshee is still booming. This center should be doing better than it is. It was picked up last year by a company that plans to re-develop it into a mixed-use sight; perhaps adding a residential component.

  2. Jesse

    With competition out west like Hard Rock Casino and Sawgrass Mills that offer free parking and cheaper shopping options, that pretty much left Riverfront dead in the water.

  3. Alex

    One of the bars/clubs that was in Riverfront just moved a few blocks over to Himmarshee. I’m not sure how accurate it is; but, one of the bartenders said they moved because Riverfront was in foreclosure. The bar didn’t want to deal with the possibility that the future owner might not renew their lease. So, they left.

  4. yawn

    Amazing new dinner places can be found 4 blocks east down las olas. And lively happening bars 1 block west over the train tracks. Explore a little next time. Or for those of us that enjoy las olas, stay in sobe next time;)

  5. BoB

    Las Olas Riverfront is dead. The directory says it all. The nearby bars were mostly empty but it was 8PM. There were a few decent dining options along Las Olas Blvd but nothing to rave about. The area has potential. I hope it picks up.

  6. Himmarshee is like a busy beehive, in fact, a little too busy for my taste … it’s unfortunate but luckily this doesn’t reflect the rest of downtown Ft. Lauderdale. Anyway, I’m always happy to go to Downtowner or Pirate Republic — all enjoyable pubs along the river. Is Briny Pub still there?

    • Jesse

      I enjoy the breakfasts at the Floridian. I go there when I get the late night munchies. The Riverfront now looks like a lonely island compared to its busy counterpart across the tracks. Maybe if the new tenants added storefronts to the back of the facility maybe it could feel like its part of the village. The whole block itself including one river plaza needs an identity change.

  7. Timpanos on Las Olas is fantastic! One of my favorite places to eat in South Florida and the Floridian has one of the best omelets I have ever eaten, which you can order 24/7. What I meant above is that it’s unfortunate this particular mall closed, but it doesn’t reflect the rest of Las Olas and other riverfront establishments on the north and south banks.

    PS Welcome back BOB!

  8. BoB

    Thanks Vice-Queen Maria!

  9. Off the Hookah moved to the old Voodoo Lounge…More Condos = More seniors on fixed income living in Greater Fort Lauderdale, which will eventually lead to less tax revenue and more budget issues. Bring back the parties and the crowds and you bring back the revenue. Of course, if you dont like that sort of ” riff raff” the condos filled with retirees on Riverfront will be a welcome sight!

  10. Jesse

    Plans to make passenger rail available on the FEC line next to the riverfront will probably help boost the complex if done right.

  11. From what I heard, there were a number of shootings at night there and things were heading in a bad direction.
    I think this complex would be better served as a shopping area with some restaurants. Downtown could use some daytime business. A Banana Republic, H&M, with a couple national chain restaurants. There are a lot of people downtown Fort Lauderdale during the day. Workers and tourists. I could see this working better.

  12. Anonymous

    I think the problem was, it was catering too much to late night venues. I understand it got out of hand and there was constant problems and a shooting. I would prefer it become more of a shopping district. Downtown Fort Lauderdale could use a Banana Republic and a Bed, Bath and Beyond. Mixed in with some nice casual restaurants. That would be more conducive to a lively daytime crowd, both office workers and tourists. There are enough, (and more to come), residential hi rises & hotels surrounding the immediate area to keep the shops full well into the evening. Leave the night life on Himmarshee and compliment the continued success of Los Olas

  13. This company is the bgeigst piece of shit! i cannot and will never live in a comunity that is run by PNS- they are thievs. and yes it is illegal!! take them to court for extortion, tampering with and disabling your motor vehicle, and intimidation!! sue for the max

  14. You should abltusoely check it out next time you are in Ft. Lauderdale. There is a second location on US-1 at Victoria Park. The coffee shop at that location doesn’t have the same feel, but the coffee is just as good and parking is a little easier to find.

  15. The problem started when the place became the hangout for blacks and ghetto, smoking weed and harrasing shoppers, with police standing by and doing nothing.

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