Vero Beach, FL

Locals Love 'Zero' Beach

Cindy Schwarz
Looking for Some 'Ol Love TimesCindy Schwarz

When Vero Beach was “Zero Beach” we locals and transplants didn’t settle for that small-town-ain’t-nuthin’-to-do scene. We initiated our own prospects - boy did we.

Lennie’s Lounge and Package Store was waaaaay out west of town. Nearly unfathomable to “drive that far?” But we went for the ropy atmosphere, the gossip, the underhanded drawcard: Bring your probation slip or white chip from an A.A. meeting; get a free drink. Wink, wink.

Like when C.J. Cannon’s opened at the airport. “NO one will ever drive out to the airport to eat,” they said. “That’s the boonies.” We went for the table-side take-offs and landings. Thanks, Pat and Chuck!

Rick’s Dugout and Banana Boat teemed alongside one another at Royal Palm Point attracting L. A. Dodgers and New Orleans Saints greats willing to rub elbows, hoist a few. March was spring-training month – pitchers and catchers came early to kick it off. The town clinched this big-league revelry.
A Team of Local Love It HereCindy Schwarz

Wanna see a game? It was a few bucks. No bad seats in the house; plenty of star-studded action; Dodger Dogs, and Vin Scully crooning stats. Remember when Mike Piazza played for the minor league Dodgers? And they’d have Mikey Pizza night? With ‘Squeeze’ the citrus-head mascot cheering everyone on. Getting an autograph, heck, you could see these guys in Publix, Ocean Grill, Houlihan’s, everywhere. Regular folk.
Everyone's a Saint in Vero BeachCindy Schwarz

‘Bum’ Phillips and the Saints had Herschel Walker right after he won the 1982 Heisman. You could literally walk up, shake his hand at Dodgertown (where the Saints trained too) as he jogged into the locker room. No walls, no fences, no problem. Ask the Bobbies at Bobby’s. Standing room only. So was Patio. Especially after a game. Who wasn’t there was actually the question. ‘Dodger – Dodger’ anyone? Limit two of these drinks per customer. A lethal sacrifice!

Many locals rented out their beach-side houses to the ballplayers and families for the month.

The rest of the year was equally active. Waiting for the Barber Bridge’s drawbridge to come down. The traffic lights to change.

Carousing from Bamboo to Hootin’ Owl, Outer Marker at the airport, then on to Marvin Garden’s on US 1 at Aviation Blvd. “It’s a monopoly on good times,” read their bar napkins. They had the famous “Garden Club” too. Ask a server for those specials.

Lest we overlook Bombay Louie’s, Outrigger, 41, Skip Wright’s Steak House. Venturing on to beach side’s Waldo’s, Duke Snider’s, Village South, Charlie Brown’s and glugging some of Tahitian’s icy-coldest draft beer around while hurling darts; yeah, yeah darts.

“What’s that new place with the antique car sticking half outta the building?” It’s Austin’s on US 1 by Golden Corral. You can sit and drink in the car.

One way or another we’d all meet up at the Clock, Denny’s, or Howard Johnson’s after hours for a scrumptious BLT, the four-by-four, or a grilled hot dog. “Hey where you been tonight?” was the familiar phrase anyone got while cramming into an over-full booth or table, meeting some new friends.

Well, if you’re ready, it’s last call for this good ol’ time. Remember stopping in at the US 1, George Frey Band hangout on a Saturday night - 'Your Place or Mine'?

Cheers to seeing you celebrate local love new 'ol times!

Comments / 5

Published by

Cindy Schwarz moved to Vero Beach when it was deemed "Zero" Beach. Even then, stories abounded in the day-to-day-ness lived here. In 2007, she took over compiling the local Press-Journal newspaper's history column. That weekly column inspired a degree in writing and journalism, and researching stories that showcase positive impacts on the community.

Vero Beach, FL

Comments / 0