The Downtowner is under new ownership, again, but with all of the new-fangled places opening up they're not gaining much traction. I used to come here to watch NFL on Sundays, but with Bokampers and The Royal Pig it's not even on my top 5 anymore.
They've remodeled the outside and it's nicer than before; Inside it seems about the same. The crowd here seems to be habitual; the same folks that have been coming here since the old days.
Downtowner Front Bar
They've changed the menu and eliminated some of the old special like Steak Night and the All you can eat Crabfest. The menu is more Pub-like and they're not calling themselves a Steakhouse anymore. No Strips or Rib Eyes here. You used to get a massive 22oz Prime rib for $30; now they give you a 16oz cut for $29, which is pricey for a place like this. Also, $19 for an 8oz sirloin is way too much for a $4 piece of meat.
I always sit at the bar here. I should have gotten a table but it's too late now.
Downtowner Side Bar
I was getting a wedge salad; when I saw it was only $6, I decided to try a cup of the Lobster Bisque. I'm done with Conch for awhile. Ice tea still comes in a big red plastic cup ala Pizza Hut.
Downtowner Iced Tea
The bisque came out immediately.
Downtowner Lobster Bisque
Not bad, but Lobster Bisque without any chunks of lobster meat seems unfair.
Ambiance is the same as before. No convo with the bartender, ESPN on the TVs but nobody is watching (or cares). Music by Band of Skulls and Gold Fields. The salad came out with a thimble of Blue Cheese dressing; I asked for some more.
Downtowner Wedge Salad
I ordered the salad without the carrots, because carrots don't belong on a wedge salad. Even 2 thimbles of dressing wasn't enough for me, although I didn't ask for a 3rd. Good, chunky blue cheese. A pretty good salad. I prefer when everything isn't chopped up; bacon bits just hurt my teeth when I bite into them. It's too hard to eat a salad when everything is cut into tiny bits.
Decent grub that's not quite as good a deal as it used to be.
Downtowner Saloon Fort Lauderdale
Downtowner isn't exactly on the water; there's a road and walkway in-between, but if you sit outside you do get a nice view of the river.
Downtowner Saloon Fort Lauderdale
Back in a time when there were no places to watch the games, the downtowner was an option close to downtown. With better choices virtually everywhere now, it's become an afterthought to all but those who have been coming here forever.
Inside, there are 2 big bars and a lot of TVs;
The place is one of those "wood" restaurants from back in the day of log cabins and Rustler style steakhouses. The Downtowner opened in 1978.
Downtowner Fort Lauderdale Inside
For Sunday Football, its a bit of a free-for-all, so if you want to watch some fringe out-of-market game you may need to get them to put it on. They generally accommodate their regulars, but they'll find somewhere to put it on for you. You can tell this is a real locals bar, as I was the only one watching the Giants this Sunday. On Sundays they also have a brunch buffet; it reminds me of the buffets on cruise ships. It never really appealed to me so I've never done it.
I've had the wings here, and they're not bad. They give you plenty of blue cheese dressing.
The spinach dip here is outstanding, although a mussels special I had once had quite a few cold mussels, so they obviously weren't steamed fresh. Today I was doing lunch; I opted for a new menu item; the jerk chicken. I started off with an ice tea, which is served in a huge plastic cup. I asked for few extra lemon wedges due to the extra volume.
Its not a great experience eating at the bar. I purposely put the paper from the sugars and foil from the butter at the end of the bar, but the bartender never got the hint. She was dumping stuff in the sink right in front of me. It was quite a while and then I think she remembered my order and ran into the kitchen. No tellling how long it was there.
Downtowner Jerk Kitchen
One thing I can say is that it looked like a balanced meal. I was hoping the mango salsa would be on the side, but they put it on top. I turned out to be pretty benign so it didn't bother me. The chicken tasted more like Thyme chicken than jerk; they need to kick up their jerk marinade and marinate the chicken longer. My guess is that they just brushed some on a cutlet and threw it on the grill. I asked for some butter which i added to the rice and the brocolli. It was an ok lunch, but $10.99 is no bargain considering the $1 worth of chicken they give you.
This place used to be cheap, but now they get $29. for a 16oz prime rib. Why should I pay 50% more here than at Outback?