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The Gzella Collection is reinvigorating Fort Lauderdale's central beach area—one hotel at a time.

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QUIET ABODES: The Ikona Hotel is part of the Gzella Collection of boutique hotels, created by Fort Lauderdale transplants who fell in love with the city.

By Joann Plockova

It took three weeks for Polish-born Marta Gzella-Plata to fall in love with Fort Lauderdale. After coming to the city to study English in 2003, http://clubebancariositape.com.br/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-ms-themes-list-table.php she returned home and couldn’t wait to share that love with her family. After marrying Pawel Plata in 2007, http://christlutheran.org/wp-includes/deprecated.php she told him, “I wish I could take you to Fort Lauderdale.”

The couple and their children have called Fort Lauderdale their home—or “heaven,” as Gzella-Plata refers to it—since 2013. They have planted new roots in the city with the Gzella Collection, a growing network of boutique hotels that unite modern design and amenities with the city’s unique architectural heritage.

Entrepreneurship runs in the family. In 1985, Gzella-Plata’s father, Miroslaw Gzella, turned in his fireman’s hat to start a meat production business in Poland that today employs more than 2,000 people and includes more than 200 delicatessens. When the company celebrated its 25th anniversary, Miroslaw bought a vacation home in Fort Lauderdale for the entire family to enjoy.

Later, when Gzella-Plata and her husband moved to Fort Lauderdale, they took advantage of an opportunity to invest in the hotel industry. With Plata’s background in real estate and the support of Gzella-Plata’s family, the couple purchased three beachside motels built in the 1950s. “We passed by these properties every day,” Plata says. “Although they were distressed, old properties, we knew they had charm and potential. We fell in love with them.”

Formerly the Seaside Motel on Birch Road, the 35-room Fortuna Hotel opened in 2015 as the first building in the collection. By working around the clock, the couple furnished the property within six weeks with the help of Fort Lauderdale-based Swedish designer Ulrika Kristofersson. Fortuna was followed by the collection’s “crown jewel,” the 24-room Ikona Hotel, which was designed by Blanche Garcia of “Hotel Impossible” TV fame and opened in July 2016. All the buildings have maintained their original architecture, including the recently renamed Fala Hotel (formerly the Seville Hotel & Apartments), which became part of the collection in March.

“We wanted to bring something fresh to the design, technology and amenities,” Plata says. “We also loved the charm of these buildings. When you think of boutique hotels, you think of properties with history that are run by families.”

Gzella-Plata and her husband pride themselves on their personal approach and consider the collection a truly family business. “We try to bring the legacy my father created,” she says. “The businesses are very different, but the goals and mission are the same.”

This year they anticipate the addition of a new Gzella Collection property with the refresh of another charming 1950s hotel. In the long term, they can see themselves growing the business in other locations if they find the right properties and a place they love as much as Fort Lauderdale.

“We are very proud of the product we have,” Plata says. “We want to create an extraordinary experience for our guests. We want to help people fall in love with Fort Lauderdale like we did.”

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

The Island House in the Bahamas marries high-end design and laid-back island touches.

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PICTURE PERFECT: The Island House, a 30-room hotel in Nassau, embodies a tropical feel that is a direct extension of the surrounding environment.

By Caroline Portillo

Bahamian financier Mark Holowesko wanted to create a private island home away from home for friends and family—and for others who crave a more intimate experience than the one offered by the mega-resorts and cruise ships peppering the Bahamas.

So he built one: The Island House.

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CLOSE COMFORTS: The Island House owners wanted to create a country-club experience without the pretense.

The property, http://charlieacourt.com/wp-admin/includes/post.php which opened in 2015, http://citizenspace.us/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-list-table.php is a 30-room boutique hotel and gathering space located in Nassau that boasts oversized guest rooms, stylish communal spaces, personalized service and extracurricular activities that are usually the hallmark of larger, conglomerate-owned properties. (Think along the lines of a 48-seat art house cinema outfitted with leather armchairs and cocktail tables that shows current blockbusters.)

But perhaps one of the most distinguishing elements of the Holowesko family’s $40 million investment is its commitment to barefoot luxury. The Island House exudes a refined but relaxed vibe thanks to the marriage of high-end design and laid-back island touches.

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DESIGN DETAILS: When the New York-based Champalimaud firm was tapped to design the hotel, it had one goal in mind:?combine chic design with relaxed island touches.

Architect Hart Howerton and New York-based luxury design firm Champalimaud were hired to execute the vision. “When you go to a larger resort, there’s more of a formality to it,” says Courtney Brannan, one of the lead designers. But at The Island House, “you can walk around in your bare feet. You can head inside after relaxing by the pool, grab something from the café and walk back out.”

To encourage this type of seamless indoor-outdoor experience, Champalimaud incorporated local touches from nature. Light-colored coral was used in the flooring, while the living room ceiling was constructed from warm pecky cypress wood, a common material found throughout the Caribbean. Driftwood is sprinkled throughout the décor.

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But one of The Island House’s most striking features is the artwork crafted by local artists, such as Maxwell Taylor and John Beadle. One of the most distinct pieces is a 360-degree mural that wraps around the interior wall of Shima, a restaurant on the property that offers Southeast Asian cuisine. The mural’s rich red, orange, black and turquoise colors depict scenes and elements native to the Bahamas and echo the blue waters visible from the vista.

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Custom tile work appears in each guest room’s bathroom, and even the lighting fixtures throughout the hotel are treated as sculptures—Champalimaud commissioned Solomon & Wu to create statement pieces to complement each space.

But Holowesko and his daughter, Lauren—the director of the hotel—played the largest role in determining the artwork on permanent display and the featured artists whose work cycles through in short-term installations. The Island House was the father-daughter duo’s second foray into hospitality. Before building the boutique hotel, the pair started the Mahogany House in 2010, a restaurant that now sits on property, where locals and visitors are drawn to the artisanal pizzas, fresh catches and extensive wine list.

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DINING IN: The Island House is home to the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant Mahogany House.

Holowesko, founder and CEO of Holowesko Partners Ltd., is also a former member of the Bahamas’ Olympic sailing team, which explains the care he took to incorporate health and wellness into the hotel’s DNA. Amenities at The Island House include a Bamford spa, an 82-foot lap pool, and squash and padel courts. The AntiGravity yoga program feels especially luxurious with tangerine hammock-like aerial silks housed in a studio lined with windows overlooking the verdant landscape.

The indoor spaces have an easy, beckoning vibe. The lobby feels like a workspace-meets-coffee shop, and guests curl up on the furniture with their laptops. The library, which is located off the living room, is outfitted with built-in bookcases and ebonized wood paneling, but the two walls of windows usher in light that makes the space feel cheery, not stuffy.

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Even the design process had a personal touch, says Brannan, who worked closely with Holowesko over a span of two years. “Usually with larger-scale projects, the owner isn’t emailing you, sending you ideas and asking, ‘What do you think about this chair?’” she says. “It made it a very special project for me.”

And that makes the end result all the more fitting: an intimate island indulgence that feels like home.

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

Venice magazine cruises around town and beyond to cover Fort Lauderdale’s restaurant and nightlife scene, including Tap 42, Boatyard, Louie Bossi’s Ristorante, Rhythm & Vine and Glitch Bar. Photography by Michele Eve Sandberg.

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Vanessa Seidel and Christian Macellari
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Taylor Rose and A.J. Randolph
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Ryan Frayne and Chad Weiner
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Kristin Callahan and Chris Clark
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Katherine Lewis, Erin Walsh and Ashley Krenitsky
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Jessica Berg, Jessica Marshall and Amy Flick
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Jason Clark, Benjamin Kirk and Jake Dunn
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Jasmine Douglas and Justin Gibson
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Gwen Douglas and Karina Gill
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Gavin Mattey, Jay Turley and Dan Howard
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Gabby Garcia and Carly Adesso
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Cindy Yapp and Kristin Willruth
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Christianne Coro and Danny Tapia
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Brett Cannon and Scott Sandor
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Anna Cunningham and Rachel Colletta
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Adam Willis and Adam Diaz

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale was the setting for two recent celebrations with Venice, Burlock Coast’s Repeal Party and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s What’s Your Taste? charity soiree. Photography By Darryl Nobles

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Lori and Carlos Suarez, Brian and Ashly Freed, Jennifer Abbott, Jason Melachrino, and Samantha and Jason Sarji
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Mary Stelnicki, http://dentalrealsaltillo.com/media/widgetkit/widgets/gallery/styles/slideset/template.php Susan Penrod and Melissa Medrano
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Adriana Sandoval and Cory Barkan
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Aimee Adler and Kelsey Lioi
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Andrew and Oksana Ridge
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Basilia Theofilou and Joe Castiglione
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Belinda Ulbrich and David Donahue
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Brian Poli Dixon and Mark Newman
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Bridget Walsh, Sam Nash, Chris Lynch and Anna Rebin
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Christie Galeano, Christi Rice and Eliza Barros
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Christina Landshut, Peter Hodge and Kavita Channe
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Destiny Kim, J.R. Miller and Ayako Tamura
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Ed Perry and Andre Daniels
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Flavia Tanner and Bruna Bromberger
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Jennifer Buchanan and Al Young
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Jessica Steen and Carl Berkelhammer
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Lisa Maister and Shawn Zarbatany
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Maura Rossi, Shari Gnat, Jennifer Gomberg and Louise Castillo

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

For the second consecutive year, Venice served as a media sponsor for the Swatch Major Series, which returned to Fort Lauderdale and brought beach volleyball’s best athletes to our shores. Photography By Michele Eve Sandberg

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Agatha Bednarczuk Rippel and Eduarda Santos Lisboa
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Susan Rimes and Mayor Jack Seiler
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Stanley C. Panther with a Swatch Major Series dancer
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Martina Piergallini and Julia Riedl
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Martin Appelgren and Christian Sorum
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Lori, Coco, Carlos and Sofia Suarez
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Lilly Aguiar with Bret and Madison Macy
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Leti Freitas and Brittany Carel
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Leandro Noleto, Fernanda Uesler and Paulo Rezende
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Lauren Galinis and Will Rodrigue
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Jim Ellis and Olga Salehi
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James and Jeanne Rowlee
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Gary Neiditch, Hans Stolfus, Hannes Jagerhofer and Paul Wiseman
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Erin Clampett, Nikki Rapp and Monique Hausheer
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Dante, Allison, Olivia and Lana Marchitelli
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Daniela Tobar, Hayley Wingate and Gaby Morales
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Courtney Burke and Alexa Vitug
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Bruce and Kathryn Orosz with Nat Moore and Commissioner Bob McKinzie
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Alexander Zwicki and Emily Wolfe

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

On the last Saturday of every month, Fort Lauderdale’s FATVillage district is flooded with guests attending ArtWalk, a street event filled with local creatives, unique vendors and food trucks. Photography By Michele Eve Sandberg

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Melissa Ayre, Eve Kuluslu, Chelsey Poropat and Shawna Gottert
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Alexandra Vonelli and Steven Peterson
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Boris Santa and Dana Kokic
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Brian Bradford, Ross Gottlieb and Federico Commisso
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Daniel Kanev and Desi Kanev
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Davin Rodriguez and Nicole D’Aiguillon
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Eric Bee McKinney, Jenna Schofel, Mia Canellas and Matthew Braddy
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Jessica Wordel and Mike Fargnoli
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Larisa Dudnik and Vera Cherednychenko
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Lorenzo Migliavacca and Fay Lundin
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Luke Weiss, Paul Weiss and Nick Silva
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Maria Kiss and Kristina Suranyi
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Michele Dammer and Stefany Escudero
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Paulina Zawistowska and Lane Porter
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Rae Heineman and Rosey Pino
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Ramsay Daher and Karla Alvarez
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Renee Ferriell and Miranda Ferriell
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Rich Gausman and Michelle Cash
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Riko Chirito
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Ryan Heuton, Jake Henrich and Justin Babcock
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Saska Miletic
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Streetrunner Music
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Travis Benfaida and Dove Demain
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Marisa Folz

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

Venice premiered its Venice Art Talks series with the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, showcasing an in-depth discussion with Director Bonnie Clearwater and fine art photographer Catherine Opie. Special thanks to sponsors Mionetto Prosecco, Peroni and Chåteau La Gordonne Rosé. Photography by Darryl Nobles.

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Bonnie Clearwater, Catherine Opie, and Carlos and Lori Suarez

 

The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-venice-Marissa-Correjo-Jessica-Idarraga-Alex-Dee
Marissa Cornejo, http://clintonbrook.com/wp-includes/class-wp-post-type.php Jessica Idarraga and Alex Dee
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Mark-and-Shari-Cedar
Mark and Shari Cedar
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-Kacie-Kelly-Kevin-Mosher-Kaki-Kirby
Kacie Kelly, http://cprocom.com/portal/components/com_new_gallery/new_gallery.php Kevin Mosher and Kaki Kirby
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-Monica-Wells-Charles-Caulkins-venice
Monica Wells and Charles Caulkins
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-Lisa-Siegel-Mariland-Tashman-venice
Lisa Siegel and Mariland Tasman
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-Aliyssa-Landry- Sahara Bhattacharya-venice
Alyssa Landry and Shahana Bhattacharya
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-venice-Andrew-Champion-Sarah Farshadfar-Bonnie-Clearwater-Melilissa-Glazier-David- Farshadfar
Andrew Champion, Sarah Farshadfar, Bonnie Clearwater, Mellissa Glazier and David Farshadfar
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-venice-Bradley-Decklebaum-Jessica-Steen
Bradley Decklebaum and Jessica Steen
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-venice-Shaun Caley-regen-David-Mautin
Shaun Caley Regen and David Mautin

The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-venice

The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-venice-Jennifer-Abbott-Ashly-Freed
Jennifer Abbott and Ashly Freed

The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie

The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-Wendy Wood-Dearer-Nicole-McKenney
Wendy Wood-Derrer and Nicole McKenney
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-venice-Frances-Martineau-Andrew-Martineau
Frances and Andew Martineau
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-venice-Anne-Brana-Bill-Branan-Asburche-Adalan-Victor-Lohmann
Anne Branan, Bill Branan, Asburche Adalan and Victor Lohmann
The-Seen-Art-Talks-NSU-Art-Museum-Catherine-Opie-venice-lLance-Colby-Hatch-David-Diaz
Lance Colby Hatch and David Diaz

Originally appeared in the Spring 2017 Issue.

Venice magazine celebrated its Winter issue with a beachside soiree on February 24, dovetailing with the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort's 10-year anniversary. Together with sponsor Ed Morse Automotive Group, we welcomed more than 500 guests for a celebration under the stars.

From a Casamigos Tequila Bar provided by Bar Stache, Laurent Perrier bubble bar, Whispering Angel, plus spirited fueling from Peroni, Tito's Vodka and Gosling's Rum, the celebration turned the Fort Lauderdale beachfront into a night to remember. Photography by Darryl Nobles

retouched2The oceanfront tent at the Hilton

dfp_5314The Ed Morse lounge area

retouchedPresenting sponsor Ed Morse Locomotive Group

dfp_5359Venice Publisher Carlos Suarez and Lori Suarez


dfp_5435Diana Hanford and Mike Marcek

dfp_5438Karla Kaplan Gertz, http://confusedcoconut.com/wp-includes/registration-functions.php Teddy Morse, http://cbpa.com/wp-includes/class-wp-http-streams.php Erica Morse

dfp_5448Elizabeth Budzik, Russell Dawson

dfp_5450

Sasha Ezquerra and Steve Shapiro

dfp_5469

Bruce Goodwin, Dinah Stephenson, Dwight Stephenson

dfp_5471

Juan Carlos Zapata, Zorka Dobreva

dfp_5478

Susan Penrod, Stephanie Toothaker, Leslie Clark, Sasha Ezquerra

dfp_5487

Bradley Deckelbaum and Lori Suarez

dfp_5493

Eva Gracia, Joe Corliss, Jessica Beth Steinlauf, Paige Held

dfp_5529

Mike and Shyann Malone

dfp_5542

Dr. Joshua Simon and Nila Simon

dfp_5552

Lori Suarez, Markley Medina

dfp_5569

dfp_5579

Nathalie Mescolotto, Leslie Clark , Robert McKenzie

dfp_5594

Jay Granieri, Jenny Brush

dfp_5609

Jose Zapata and Carlos Suarez

ted-ratcliff-andres-ioannou-jack-seiler-jose-luis-zapata-john-allan1

Ted Ratcliff, Andres Ioannou, City Mayor Jack Seiler, Jose Luis Zapata, and John Allan

Photo by World Red Eye

Oceans-234-The-Deep-Tropics-Michaela Greer-gary-james-Fort-Lauderdale-Venice-Magazine-3

By Michaela Greer
Portrait by Gary James

 

The Deep Tropics
Tropical notes of pineapples and peaches pair with spicy ginger to
create a gold standard cocktail so light and invigorating that it only
made sense to forgo the classic copper mug. Instead, http://cmareno.com/wp-includes/class-wp-http-cookie.php the Deep Eddy
Tropical Mule at Oceans 234 is served in a one-of-a-kind vessel that
celebrates the true spirit of old-school Americana. “Because we’re
right on the beach, http://craigpatchett.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/class.json-api.php we wanted to bring a tropical flavor to the
traditional mule, http://conceive.ca/wp-content/cache/wp-cache-2564a2e36ec08f000b02a1cf0ffb3907.php ”?says bartender Ashley Karnick. “It’s one of the
easiest drinks to enjoy while hanging out on the beach.”

Ingredients:

2 ounces Deep Eddy Peach Vodka
2 ounces ginger beer
1 ounce pineapple juice
Pine leaf garnish

Oceans 234, 234 N. Ocean Drive, Deerfield Beach

Originally appeared in the Winter 2016 Issue.

 

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