Exit 66 foam sausage partyRemember the days of Exit 66 when the place was filled with bikini models and low-level celebs? Well not lately…

The crowd inside Exit 66 these days seems more wanna be thug, aka unemployed loser, than young exec getting bottle service. Not sure if the change, which lets face it has been happening the last year or so, is because of a change in management, marketing, or if the club has just run its course, but its sad to see one of the best venues on the beach, and the only venue with a pool for that matter, going down hill.

Perfect example was this Sunday, when the crowd at Exit 66 was so sketchy that girls wouldn’t even go inside. Management at the club actually had to stop letting guys in all together since the place looked like a bad rap video inside a foam party. Imagine having to turn away patrons ready to spend money, because you can’t get girls to enter your venue, even though your front doors open on to Fort Lauderdale Beach! Do you know how bad of a job you have to be doing to not be able to get girls into your club, when your based on a beach full of girls? Just take a second and comprehend that, because that is Exit 66 circa 2013.

The change at Exit 66 probably has something to do with these God awful reviews on Google that cover everything from the bartenders making the wrong drinks, to bouncers hitting on patrons, and bouncers trapping people inside the club. They also have something to do with the fact that the family that owns Exit 66 and a lot of the rest of the beach. Never hires real managers and instead installs family members in all key management positions. Now I’m sure having family members in all management positions of a mostly cash business, has its “IRS Perks” but it doesn’t do a damn thing for the quality of the business. Most of these managers spend the day hiding around corners, or upstairs from the venues. Only showing up for brief seconds to breeze through, or for some odd reason to count the bartenders tips for them behind closed doors. There is literally no effort at all put into staffing, training, or quality control. Also no one ever gets fired, so most of the staff at their establishments is cocky, cranky, and knows they can do whatever they want. Since after all there is no one there on scene to care anyway.

What a lot of people don’t realize about Exit 66 and most of Fort Lauderdale Beach is that the run down look and crappy service is the result of a local monopoly. Fort Lauderdale Beach is almost completely owned by one family. They own pretty much everything except for the Elbo Room, effectively giving them a monopoly on Fort Lauderdale Beach tourism. What has history taught us about business monopolies? That when you have a monopoly quality drops sharply and the consumers get screwed. In a capitalistic economy it is the competition between competitors, that drives quality and service standards in that particular field or area. Without it you simply have one company, whose sole focus is bringing down costs and increasing profits.

Though our beach has the illusion of separate business, that is all it is, just an illusion. Thus Fort Lauderdale Beach misses out on all competitive specials, events, and most importantly all the PR and advertising to attract new visitors, that the other South Florida beaches have through the constant competition of their beach businesses.

The fact that Fort Lauderdale beach has allowed this family to get a monopoly on our beach business is the reason our beach is falling behind every other beach in the area. This family knows that no matter who comes to visit Fort Lauderdale beach, a good portion of the money that tourist is spending, will be going straight into their pocket, no matter what venue or store you choose to patronize. So there is no reason for them to put any money into the appearance, service, or marketing of any particular one of them. After all they would only be competing with themselves.

Take a minute and imagine our beach if it was all separate proprietors like on Las Olas. How awesome would that be? The beach would be beautiful and thriving with competition, only the best businesses, with the best appearance, products, and service would be left. Allowing Fort Lauderdale to compete with up and coming cities like Delray Beach who have not allowed one family consolidate their beach tourism, into their own personal piggy bank. If you’re a tourist and you know about Delray beach, why on earth would you ever come to Fort Lauderdale Beach? Maybe because you like bad service??? As more people find out about these new up and coming areas in South Florida, you can expect our tourist dollars to shrink and don’t count on this family to cut you a check for the difference in your income.

In the end if there is no competition, there is no advancement of the area. For Fort Lauderdale beach to fully thrive the beach monopoly needs to be shattered. The only people who can do that would be local and state government officials, and to be honest I haven’t heard of something like that happening, at all in recent South Florida history. Though it should be noted that just cause it hasn’t happened in a long time, doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. To be honest I believe Fort Lauderdale beach and the level of disrepair and general grunge on the few blocks around Las Olas are one of the biggest stains on Mayor Seiler’s record. Combine that with the lack of a much-needed pan handling ban in the city and beach areas, as well as the library park in the center of downtown that has been taken over by the homeless, and its easy to see why fort Lauderdale’s tourism numbers are currently down, and why we have giant empty hotels sitting on our beach like a ghost town.

I wish I was mayor! I would Giuliani this city so fast the bums and bad businesses wouldn’t even know what hit them. I honestly think I’m running for office next time, I’m going to turn this whole city around with four quick moves. 

1. Ban Pan handling in the city and its beaches.

2. Shut down every pain clinic without exception.

3. Shatter the beach monopoly.

4. Get New Times with its pain clinic and hooker ads off every street corner. You can literally pick one up free across the street from Croissant Park Elementary school right now. Are you kidding me???