Two Fun Parties on September 12 and 13 Lead Up to the Main Event on September 14
Ramrod (1508 NE 4th Ave., Fort Lauderdale) opened its doors 20 years ago this month, and since then they have grown to become a formidable presence in the South Florida bar scene. Ramrod’s success and legacy have been noticed across the country and overseas. Since 1995, Ramrod has fielded contestants in the International Mr. Leather Contest, winning twice and placing second twice. This is a particularly impressive feat, as no other bar in the world has even placed in the top three twice, much less boasted two winners.
Ramrod’s 20th anniversary celebrations are planned across three nights, starting on Friday, September 12 with a nostalgia night. Be sure to come to the bar wearing a vintage Ramrod shirt, dog tags, club pin, wristband, handkerchief with a Ramrod logo, or anything else that symbolizes Ramrod from the past 20 years, and you can get a free anniversary shot from your favorite bartender. On Saturday night, September 13, the star of the evening is going to be Titan and Colt adult video star/model Sam Colt, who has flown in from New York City for the special occasion, and will be featured in the cage starting at midnight.
The main 20th anniversary event is going to be held on Sunday, September 14. This evening, commemorative anniversary pins will be handed out. Also, Sam Colt will be returning for another evening and will lead the bar in a countdown to midnight. At the stroke of midnight, it will feel just like New Year’s as balloons with cash and prizes will fall from the ceiling. The cash and prizes add up to a total of over $1500 so get ready to pop some balloons! You might walk away with some cash and some awesome goodies!
Recently I had the opportunity to talk to owners Zak Enterline and Steve Whitney about Ramrod’s 20th anniversary, how things have changed since the grand opening, and how the Ramrod name is recognized all over the world.
How does it feel to celebrate 20 years in business?
Steve: It’s gone by so fast! Too fast, I think. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years. Sometimes it can be hard to keep a business like this going.
Zak: You have to continuously reinvent yourself.
Steve: When we first opened, the bar was just for people interested in leather, and now we cater to…everybody.
Zak: It’s been fun to see, over the course of the past 20 years, different customers come and go. I always get a thrill from seeing all the people at the bar having so much fun, and it’s all because of what we’ve created. I never stop getting a thrill from that.
You’ve outlasted so many leather bars in the time you’ve been open.
Steve: There used to be five leather bars in Fort Lauderdale, and now we’re the only major one.
Zak: And seven leather shops.
Steve: Right, and now there’s only LeatherWerks, basically. LeatherWerks has helped us maintain our status as the best little leather bar in the world. They have a little shop right in our bar when you first walk in, and they’re open here every single night.
What is the secret to your success?
Zak: When we travel around the world, and we hear people comment about Ramrod, the comments we hear the most are usually about our music. We don’t stick to the Top 40 list like a lot of other bars do. We’re more techno and more underground, and there is a demand for that kind of music.
Steve: Plus, a lot of our bartenders have been with us for 13, 14, 15 years, and that’s really a long time to stay at one bar. A lot of our bartenders have large followings so they are one reason crowds keep coming. We get great comments about our staff and the music, those two things. Our staff is always friendly and they make sure you have someone to talk to at the very least.
How has your business model changed over the last 20 years?
Steve: We just had to keep tweaking it every so often. The formula is already written down, but we’ve made a few changes along the way to keep things fresh.
Zak: We started the Pig Dance six years ago and it’s very popular now. Twenty years ago we wouldn’t have had a light show…or dancing, even, but now we do both of those things. Now people come in from other bars and they’re not afraid to come in because they know we have dancing going on Fridays and Saturdays, and the Pig Dance has every type of person there. It’s just important to try new things.
Steve: And it’s important when you try new things, to keep trying them. A lot of other bars try out new things and if they don’t immediately work out, they stop doing those events. To give you an idea of our persistence, we’ve had Battle of the Bulge on Thursday nights for the last twenty years. We kept going with it and it’s continued to be popular even twenty years on.
What’s the biggest compliment you’ve received as a bar owner?
Steve: People have driven from Tampa, Naples, Fort Myers, St. Pete, everywhere…to come to our bar, and that’s so touching and amazing. We’ve stayed in Tampa Bay before and we’ve heard people talk about Ramrod, not knowing that we’re the owners or that we’re right near them, and they’ll say “Oh, the other week we visited Ramrod and there must have been a thousand people there!” And you hear them talk about how there was a line to get in and everything was so impressive and they couldn’t believe it. That’s always nice to hear.
Ramrod is open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. Friday through Sunday. It is located at 1508 NE 4th Avenue (Wilton Drive) in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, call (954) 763-8219 or visit ramrodbar.com. “Like” Ramrod on facebook for real-time updates at facebook.com/ramrodfortlauderdale.