10 Jul Sun Sentinel – Whiskey Neat, a new Fort Lauderdale cocktail lounge, opens next to Quarterdeck
The brown liquors of the cocktail world — bourbon, scotch, rum — are making a comeback at Whiskey Neat, a new Fort Lauderdale cocktail lounge next door to the newly built Quarterdeck on 17th Street.The 1,700-square-foot drinking hub and tapas bar at 1035 SE 17th St., from James Flanigan and Trent O’Connor, shares a shaded courtyard with the two-level Quarterdeck, the long-running pub franchise founded by Flanigan’s father, Paul.
The bar quietly debuted over the long Fourth of July weekend.The tavern features 11 craft cocktails and 60 bottles of wine, but the main attraction is the eye-popping backsplash behind the bar: a 17-foot-wide wall ringed in red lights and stocked with 238 whiskeys.The whiskey-centric menu, Flanigan says, seizes on the national revival of brown spirits and craft cocktails surging in popularity among millennial and older drinkers.
“I’ve been tracking sales trends at our eight different restaurants, and it was craft beer centric for a long time, but now the trend is moving to brown liquors, gins, vodkas,” says Flanigan, 33, of Fort Lauderdale. “Liquor has really come full-circle.”Flanigan says his team plotted Whiskey Neat’s location long before shutting down Quarterdeck’s aging Fort Lauderdale flagship, which reopened in May as a two-story complex two blocks west. Flanigan and O’Connor, who will serve as Whiskey Neat’s cocktail director, operate the restaurant group Old School Hospitality (Good Spirits Fifth and Fed) with Paul Flanigan and business partner Frank Zaffere.