By Dorie Cox
Jeff Rudd looked for a place to move his “dive bar”. But, realistically, he cannot. He has run the The Treasure Trove, a neighborhood bar and regular stop for many yacht crew, for more than 23 years on Fort Lauderdale beach. Now he has to vacate by Sept. 22. The block is being razed for development of a boutique hotel.
Jeff Rudd, owner of The Treasure Trove.
“You can’t move this place, plus rents are too high,” Rudd said as he stood on the sidewalk looking east to the Atlantic Ocean half a block away. He is disappointed that he has to close before the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this fall and sad that he has to close at all. He decries the high-rise developments on Fort Lauderdale beach and believes even visitors to the Ritz-Carlton nearby like to sit in his “airy, no-frills, beachside bar,” as the internet describes it.
Yacht crew often stop in, especially when the yachts are docked at nearby Bahia Mar and Hall of Fame marinas.
“This place reminds me of the [Florida] Keys, it always feels like home,” Chef Dan Wright said. Wright works on a Westport 130 and has made a point over the past eight years to visit friends at The Treasure Trove when he is in town.
All crew are equal at The Trove.
“It’s a no-sniveling, come-as-you-are bar,” Wright said. “There are no [epaulette] bars in here, whether deckhand or captain.”
Bartender Jeff Jordan
Bartender Jeff Jordan was a patron for years before taking the job behind the bar. He said the closure will be a loss for for people who want to experience “a real Florida atmosphere.”
The full windows and doors are open to the outside and the afternoon light further yellows the walls and ceilings packed full of flags, signs, photos and artifacts. Rudd is not sure where all the things will go.
“I’ve collected treasures, stuff from the Air and Sea Show, and things given to us by our friends in the military,” Rudd said. Initially he wanted to create a museum with artifacts from the waters off the coast in the bar. In a way, he did, just less formally. He wears a silver piece around his neck that was found in a shipwreck, and behind the bar is a 3,200-pound cannon that is scheduled to be picked up by a collector.
There are several countdown boards that list the number of Taco Tuesdays, kitchen days, and weekends left. The kitchen will close at the end of this month and the doors will close for the last time on Sept. 22.
For anyone trying to call for details, the phone number is listed, but the line has only been used for credit card transactions for a long time, Rudd said.
“There’s been no phone in here for years, that’s why no one answers it,” Rudd said. Instead, he recommended people just stop by. The bar is located on the corner across from the International Swimming Hall of Fame, south of Las Olas Boulevard at 2933 S.E. Fifth St. (33316).
For those who want to join the locals, yacht crew and tourists on the last day, bring your own beverage because everything will be dismantled, Rudd said.
“But come now,” he said. “Why wait?”
Dorie Cox is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome below.