Make West Palm Beach Your Bitch: A Newbie's Guide to the Area

Sleigh Bells at Respectable Street in 2010. 
Sleigh Bells at Respectable Street in 2010. 

Two years ago, I found myself alone in the coastal territory known as downtown West Palm Beach. Being quite the experienced mover, I saw this big transition as an intriguing challenge, where others may have seen merely a sea of pizza places and tank tops.  

The first Friday night of my new WPB life, I leapt into a cab knowing nothing of my surroundings except that there was potential fun to be had on Clematis Street, and damn it, I was going to get me some of it! When asked where I wanted to go, I explained, "Somewhere casual with reasonably priced beer and maybe live music." Although I and the cabbie met with a language barrier, he got the gist and knew to drop me off at a destination that would very quickly become one of my going-out staples: O'Sheas. By the end of the night, I was best friends with the band and ready to come back next week for $3 Car Bomb Thursdays.

For those of you newbies out there who just got into town and aren't sure where to start, check out my WPB insider tips before wasting all your time on Yelp. You too can dominate West Palm Beach! Just follow these five easy steps.

5. Love Thy Neighbor 
Since you just moved to West Palm, chances are you've taken up residence in a friendly and reasonably priced apartment building. Contrary to the opinion of your friends in your former town, South Florida is not packed with just old people (well, Boca, maybe), and downtown West Palm is proof that the Sunshine State knows how to party. 

Don't just unpack your boxes and become a hermit; seek out the neighbors in your age range, and let them be your first tour guides. Make elevator chat, go hang out at the pool, tell everyone you're new in town, and just generally force them to like you. Partying at home is key, and recruiting a DD isn't such a bad idea. 

4. Befriend a Local
That following Thursday, I kept my promise to myself and strutted back to O'Sheas with car bombs on the brain. It was on that magical evening that I met my new local bestie. My friend is a West Palm lifer, making him my instant source for the best beach and drinking spots. He immediately had the sense to take me across the street for $2 PBR Flaunt Night at Respectables, showing me the nightlife ropes before I was even settled in. A big plus to seeking out locals is they come with friends. These people have already been friendship-approved. Instant social life: Just add Yuengling.

3. Always Say "Yes!" When Invited Out 
This is a strict rule for your first three months in town. I don't care if it's to a show, a networking event, or a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- if someone invites you out, just go. West Palm is known for throwing stellar block parties at the drop of a hat. Every time a new restaurant hits Clematis, it opens with a huge party, and the entire town is there shaking hands and shoving free food into their faces. This is the ultimate place for a newbie to hang out and meet all the right partymates. Even if you think the kind and generous person who invited you out is a terrible shrew, chances are good that if you attend and make the effort, you'll leave with new friends and a big fat smile.  

2. Go to World of Beer
The obvious draw here is that it has a whole bunch of beer, but the advanced downtowner knows you get a lot more than just a tasty bev when you walk into this paradise. World of Beer is located right on West Palm's beloved waterfront, our beautiful event-ready area overlooking the scenic Intracoastal. This is the perfect location for all the best WPB events, everything from the Green Market to SunFest to free concerts. Every Thursday, and occasionally Fridays and Saturdays, the city kindly provides us with some sort of free musical adventure.   

But what fantastic bar is complete without a totally kick-ass staff? The team members behind World of Beer are the friendliest and most knowledgeable beer experts in a 100-mile radius. So call up one of those friends you made at that new Asian fusion restaurant's grand opening, get to know your bartender, grab a seasonal brew, and sit outside to enjoy some live, local music.  Now that's an order!

1. Embrace Your Newness
Now is your moment! You have all the glory of West Palm Beach standing right in front of you and a blank slate to fill. Beloved newbie, you've been blessed with the ultimate conversation starter: "Hey, I just moved here." Go up to literally anyone, say this, and they will engage you. Tell the person in front of you in line at Publix, tell your bartender, tell the drummer of the jam band you just saw. Ask them for local tips, which pizza place on Clematis is the best or even where to get your tires rotated. Turn strangers into friends. It's time to be the best version of yourself. Embrace your newness!

Whether you want to fist-pump the night away at Off the Hookah or catch some live reggae at Reef Road -- you will soon find your niche. As you get comfortable with your new surroundings, the good times will start rolling in and, with them, friends. It's time to make West Palm your bitch!

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