PIER 66:  WHERE ARE YOU?

June 25, 2020

We know many of you are limiting travel during these uncertain times.  Although we continue to feature trips and places to visit, we are not encouraging you to visit them until it is safe.  We want to support Florida's attractions and businesses during this situation, and hope you will plan to visit them when things get better.  In the meantime, enjoy them virtually from the comfort of your home. 

NOTE
We know the Pier 66 resort is undergoing renovation scheduled for completion in 2022.
  This article is about memories of the old Pier 66.

Pier 66 means different things to people depending on whether they are new to Florida or have been around a few years.  My Pier 66 is a tall hotel with a rotating rooftop lounge on the Intracoastal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale.

Vintage Postcard 1960s Pier 66 Fort LauderdaleVintage Postcard 1960s Pier 66 Fort Lauderdale

It was built in the 1950's and was originally owned by the Phillips Petroleum Company, the sellers of Phillips 66 gasoline. To signalize that ownership, there was a Philips 66 gas station in front of the hotel back in the fifties and sixties.

Pier 66 Under ConstructionPier 66 Under Construction (courtesy Fort Lauderdale History Center)

It's easy for me to remember the date of my first visit to Pier 66. It was June 6, 1966, or 6-6-66.  Pier 66 had a rotating lounge on it's top floor named Top Of The Pier that was open to the public.

Spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway, Port Everglades and downtown Fort Lauderdale were an outstanding feature of this slowly rotating lounge.

Vintage Postcard Pier 66Vintage Postcard Pier 66

As I recall, the elevator took 66 seconds to rise from the ground to the lounge floor. The elevator had a glass side so you could look out at the scenery during the trip to the top.

The lounge itself rotated once every 66 minutes while you enjoyed your drinks.  In my prime I could enjoy three drinks per rotation.  

It was important during such periods of libation to memorize where your table was when you left it to go to the restroom. When you returned, the table would be in a different location.

The last time I visited Top of the Pier was in early 2005. The hotel was then a Hyatt and remodeled for probably the umpteenth time.

View from Top of the Pier Looking NorthwestView from Top of the Pier Looking Northwest To Downtown Fort Lauderdale

I met a friend for a drink and to enjoy the spectacular sunset as I had done dozens of times before. As the sun descended below the horizon, the lights of Port Everglades and downtown Fort Lauderdale were twinkling decorations on a golden backdrop of green palms and blue canals.

The following month I was in Fort Lauderdale and went into the hotel for my habitual trip to the Top Of The Pier. I learned that it had been closed to the public and to hotel guests. It was only available for private parties.

Pier 66 at NightPier 66 at Night

Another chapter in Old Florida that is sadly closed. I think if one follows the money, there were probably too many tourists and sightseers using the lounge without having a drink or a snack.

Not enough of 3 drink per rotation types to make it work economically.


MEMORIES OF PIER 66 FROM OUR WEBSITE VISITORS
2/3/2020 to 1/27/2020.  Newest Memories on Top.


Jan 27, 2020
State Employee
by: Susan Baker

I attended a Statewide Food Stamp Conference in Ft. Lauderdale in 1988. My one and only time as a young 34-year-old Supervisor enjoying a night out with others watching the sunset and later the lights of the city come to life.

So glad I had this amazing experience as a public servant of our great State of Florida. I was hoping to revisit with my son and his family. So sad that it is not open to the public.

Jan 27, 2020
Married At Pier 66
by: Anonymous

In March of 1985 I was married on a yacht at the marina. It was a small wedding so we all went upstairs to drink and admire the view. Then my husband and I spent our wedding night in a beautiful hotel room.

Although we're not married anymore, it's still a great memory.

Nov 06, 2019
Pier 66
by: MaryAnn

My first and only trip to Pier 66 was in 1976. It was my family’s first family vacation and my uncle insisted we go to the top floor.

It was beautiful! I will never forget the view. I still have the glass that we got our drinks in.

Mar 11, 2019
What is the current hotel
by: Leigh Cort

This is a great landmark. What is the current hotel that has now taken the place of the Phillips 66 property? Is there actually a hotel today in 2019?

EDITOR SAYS

It is still a hotel called Pier 66 Hotel and Marina. I don't know if it is affiliated with a larger chain; it may be independently owned and operated.

Jun 25, 2018
Pier 66
by: Anonymous

My father worked for Phillips & we went to Pier 66 every summer in the 1960's. It was & still is one of my favorite hotels. I miss the revolving restaurant, but the rest of it is still great!

Feb 25, 2018
Wow
by: Anonymous

My dad worked there for 20 yrs.

Feb 24, 2018
My first job
by: Bob Blank

My first job was scraping barnacles from the pilings in the marina at Pier 66 in 1968.

Aug 18, 2017
Swan Dive
by: Anonymous

We lived on Lake Sylvia as kids back in the 60's. My brother got a telescope for his birthday, and he discovered that he could see Pier 66 - clearly. So, one afternoon, he was watching the top go around, and saw someone on the revolving points of the tower. They swan dived into the putting green below, that was the last time he ever used his telescope.

Aug 17, 2017
Ft. Lauderdale landmark
by: Anonymous

My father's cousin Bette was the head telephone operator for many years...she was the voice you spoke to when you'd call the hotel.

Aug 17, 2017
The Original Pier 66
by: Anonymous

Prior to the tower being constructed, there was a large time and temperature sign out front(I'll never forget the morning I drove by and the temperature registered 29 degrees). Just to the east of the main entrance was a par 3 golf course and the tennis courts.

Dec 02, 2015
Pier 66
by: Glenda Heath

My dad began working for Pier 66 when it opened. He was accounting manager (I think that was his title). We spent hurricane Betsy hunkered down there. I spent many hours in that hotel and remember so many wonderful things about it. Thanks for this article.

EDITOR SAYS

Thanks, Glenda. That must have been something to ride out a Hurricane at Pier 66. I just checked my history and Hurricane Betsy was in 1965. We were living in a shack at the University of Florida back then and had to evacuate to an approved shelter.

Mar 26, 2011
Brunch?
by: Mike Miller

It's good to hear they are open for brunch on Sunday. I thought they were totally closed to the public and only available for private parties. I think I will make the trip over there soon one Sunday.

Mar 26, 2011
Pierr 66 still closed
by: Anonymous

I just called them since I have out of town guests and they only open for brunch on sundays and for private events. Sorry.

Feb 03, 2010
Pier 66. Top still closed
by: Anonymous

Does anybody know if the top of Pier 66 is still closed to the public?


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My grandmother took me to Pier 66 back in the 60’s. It was quite the experience! Every visit included a night out at the Pier for dinner. Good memories! …

Pier 66, My First Memory 
Back about ‘66 was the first time I set my eyes on this beautiful piece of architecture with a spinning top while driving by with my college buddies. …

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As this post was written in June 2020, we know that Tavistock Development Corporation is in the process of renovating the entire Pier 66 complex.  Renovations are expected to be complete in 2022.


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