For those aspiring to have a successful career in the hospitality industry, this podcast will give you great insight from a man who went from creating an AOL chat room as a source to promote parties and bars, to owning several bars, restaurants and mega parties, plus he just a released a beer in his name.
Naughty Natalia sits down with this successful creative to get the inside scoop on how he created a party empire in South Florida and puts most social media influencers to shame without even trying.
The best part, is he does not take himself seriously, so, this was a fun interview!
About Alex Passakos
Written by Desiree Avila, Editor LivingInOaklandPark.com
What do you call a guy that has a great sense of humor, a unique perspective on life and who makes a living by throwing parties and having fun? A party animal? A bon vivant? A hedonist? Well, you could call him all that, but here in Fort Lauderdale, he has a very specific name, Alex Passakos.
Passakos is originally from Buffalo, New York. When he was a toddler, his parents, both immigrants from Greece, decided it was time to move to a place where the weather was more agreeable. Soon after they made that decision little Alex and the family made their way to South Florida and settled in Lauderdale Lakes. Little did they know that that choice would make an indelible mark on nightlife in South Florida!
IT ALL BEGAN WITH A BREAK-UP
When Alex was a young man he went through a rough break-up. In searching for a way to distract himself he and a friend teamed up and began to go out to clubs. Soon they were club connoisseurs sniffing out the best and worst spots to go out at night. This being the early days of the internet, Alex decided that he had the knowledge and the wherewithal to found a website about nightlife in Broward and with that BrowardHotSpots.com was born. They eventually sold the website but not before it catapulted Alex into the spotlight of nightlife in Broward.
“I LIKE SOUP”
When Alex founded the Broward Hot Spots website, Facebook was a fetus and other social media didn’t exist. So this site was equipped with a message board on which members could chat. In order to populate the message board, Alex and his friend Tommy decided to start a thread, entitled simply “Hey”. When the viewer opened it up, it simply said: “I like soup”. He posted it as a joke, part of his wacky sense of humor, but it stuck and became the most popular topic on the message board.
FROM CLUB OWNER TO RESTAURANTEUR TO BEER CREATOR
At the time Passakos was enjoying nightlife he had not yet begun to work in nightlife. But he could not resist the pull of a life he loved so much and eventually he transitioned from a day laborer to a well-known figure of Broward County nightlife.
For years he worked at Passion Nightclub at the Hard Rock and often promoted events at other clubs including some beyond Broward in Wynwood and Downtown Miami. But Broward was Alex’s home and that’s to where he naturally gravitated to open his own bar. He and two longtime friends, Ritchie Rockstar and Riste, founded Booze Garden in 2017 on the concept of playing 80s, 90s and 2000s rock. While it was a risk it turned about being worth the reward, as Booze Garden was an instant success. Next July they will celebrate their 5th anniversary.
More recently, Passakos, Riste and another group of friends felt that Downtown was missing a taco spot. So rather than go to another taco spot in town, they decided to find one themselves right on Himmarshee Street. The restaurant, Bandoleros, opened in the Summer of 2021.
But Bandoleros was not Passakos first foray into food. He has a slew of dishes named for him in restaurants all around town. The first dish was the Passakos Roll at his friend Thuan’s sushi restaurant. There is also the Passakos Footlong Hot Dog at Peter Pan Diner in Oakland Park, the Passakos Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Wilton Wings in Wilton Manors plus another five or six dishes which have been inspired by Passakos himself.
But perhaps one of the achievements Passakos is most proud of is the Holy Passakos beer which he fully and wholeheartedly participated in creating. Being in nightlife for so long he had a pretty good idea of the taste of different beers but had not yet tried one that he really liked. He mentioned it to his friend, Ehab, who owns a small brewery Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers, and Ehab said “well then why don’t we create one?!” That’s all it took! Passakos worked closely with Ehab’s team and just after three attempts they nailed the recipe for the Holy Passakos beer.
AN INDELIBLE MARK ON BROWARD NIGHTLIFE
Passakos has been a part of Broward’s nightlife for nearly 20 years. He is so well-known in South Florida nightlife circles that even when he goes to Miami he finds himself at home. His ideas have ended up on restaurant menus with dishes named after him and now with his very own restaurant and beer, there is no doubt that the little boy who immigrated from Buffalo to Broward has made an indelible mark on nightlife and much more in Broward!