Poor Palm Beach County. Forty-seven miles of coastline means forty-seven miles of azure waves lapping and frothing at clean and uncrowded beaches. But barely a beachfront bar to be found. In the infinite, albeit unintended, wisdom of bureaucrat land planners and developers, Palm Beach County has left waterfront bars to Broward, where the sunburned among us can traipse salt and sand into any of dozens of oceanfront and Intracoastal bars and get a draught in a frosty mug. But Palm Beach is more genteel. Instead of bikini contests and stale keg beer, Palm Beach offers the Seafood Bar, which features a $55 two-pound lobster and merely overlooks the Atlantic by way of a giant picture window behind the bar. It's a stunning view indeed, particularly within the context of this aristocratic, century-old Palm Beach hotel. An ocean view is an ocean view is an ocean view. So why is this the best? Because of the bar itself. It's an aquarium. The lighted, horseshoe-shaped bar seats 16 and comes complete with tropical fish -- clown fish, trumpet fish, and damsels -- and faux ferns and fauna. "You want to ask me how we feed the fish?" asks bartender Kenny Willig. "Room service takes care of that." Considering its the tony Breakers of Palm Beach, he's probably not joking.
Poor Palm Beach County. Forty-seven miles of coastline means forty-seven miles of azure waves lapping and frothing at clean and uncrowded beaches. But barely a beachfront bar to be found. In the infinite, albeit unintended, wisdom of bureaucrat land planners and developers, Palm Beach County has left waterfront bars to Broward, where the sunburned among us can traipse salt and sand into any of dozens of oceanfront and Intracoastal bars and get a draught in a frosty mug. But Palm Beach is more genteel. Instead of bikini contests and stale keg beer, Palm Beach offers the Seafood Bar, which features a $55 two-pound lobster and merely overlooks the Atlantic by way of a giant picture window behind the bar. It's a stunning view indeed, particularly within the context of this aristocratic, century-old Palm Beach hotel. An ocean view is an ocean view is an ocean view. So why is this the best? Because of the bar itself. It's an aquarium. The lighted, horseshoe-shaped bar seats 16 and comes complete with tropical fish -- clown fish, trumpet fish, and damsels -- and faux ferns and fauna. "You want to ask me how we feed the fish?" asks bartender Kenny Willig. "Room service takes care of that." Considering its the tony Breakers of Palm Beach, he's probably not joking.
Bathtubs overlooking the Intracoastal are what give this place so much charm. Like some clandestine hideaway, Le Tub lurks behind lush foliage and a big brown picket fence. Inside you'll find South Florida's wackiest theme bar, a wooded alcove of rusty tubs and toilet seats and a quiet place to ponder moonlight ripples in yacht-disturbed waters. We like to find a perch where we can feed the catfish that gather just offshore and dig into Le Tub's superior gumbo. A well-stocked jukebox, brandy in plastic cups, and a lonely, scuffed pool table only add to the experience.
Bathtubs overlooking the Intracoastal are what give this place so much charm. Like some clandestine hideaway, Le Tub lurks behind lush foliage and a big brown picket fence. Inside you'll find South Florida's wackiest theme bar, a wooded alcove of rusty tubs and toilet seats and a quiet place to ponder moonlight ripples in yacht-disturbed waters. We like to find a perch where we can feed the catfish that gather just offshore and dig into Le Tub's superior gumbo. A well-stocked jukebox, brandy in plastic cups, and a lonely, scuffed pool table only add to the experience.
To families, block parties are a way to commune with neighbors, to fight suburban isolation with lawn chairs and potluck picnics, basketballs and bicycles. To college students, parties are a way to commune with the opposite sex, to fight social ineptitude with couches and kegs, bongs and bongos. And to the City of West Palm Beach, Clematis by Night is a way to commune with citizens, to fight downtown deterioration with restaurant tastings and refreshments, live bands and local artisans. The crowd comes in waves, first children bopping around their parents' ankles as a musical group warms up on Centennial Square, then teenagers trying on twisted silver rings and embroidered backpacks, and finally seniors waltzing in the street outside the Clematis Street Theater. The fashionable set arrives still later, swarming around Sforza's sidewalk tables and air-kissing acquaintances, ears abuzz, at My Martini. They stay later, too, sealing Clematis by Night's status as the weekly social event and showcase for the city. Not only has the program spurred redevelopment of downtown since it began in 1995, but proceeds from alcohol sales help support local museums, civic organizations, homeless shelters, and perhaps most appropriately, neighborhood associations.
To families, block parties are a way to commune with neighbors, to fight suburban isolation with lawn chairs and potluck picnics, basketballs and bicycles. To college students, parties are a way to commune with the opposite sex, to fight social ineptitude with couches and kegs, bongs and bongos. And to the City of West Palm Beach, Clematis by Night is a way to commune with citizens, to fight downtown deterioration with restaurant tastings and refreshments, live bands and local artisans. The crowd comes in waves, first children bopping around their parents' ankles as a musical group warms up on Centennial Square, then teenagers trying on twisted silver rings and embroidered backpacks, and finally seniors waltzing in the street outside the Clematis Street Theater. The fashionable set arrives still later, swarming around Sforza's sidewalk tables and air-kissing acquaintances, ears abuzz, at My Martini. They stay later, too, sealing Clematis by Night's status as the weekly social event and showcase for the city. Not only has the program spurred redevelopment of downtown since it began in 1995, but proceeds from alcohol sales help support local museums, civic organizations, homeless shelters, and perhaps most appropriately, neighborhood associations.
You could spend days scouting the dozens of commercial galleries in Broward and Palm Beach counties for that perfect piece of art, or you could do one-stop shopping at Gallery Center. This 30,000-square-foot complex is more like a museum than an art mart, with a small outdoor sculpture garden that draws you into the building, a sprawling, airy complex where you can wander among eight galleries under one roof. The art, all for sale, is mostly contemporary, although the works of such art-world trendoids as Mark Kostabi, Julian Schnabel, and David Salle are conspicuous only by their welcome absence. Instead there's a far-ranging selection of photography, sculpture, glassware, and oil, acrylic, and watercolor painting, including works by major artists. You might stumble across a Pousette-Dart or a Botero canvas, for instance, and the breathtaking glasswork of Dale Chihuly is a staple. There's first-class art for as little as a couple hundred dollars or as much as a quarter of a million. In other words, don't go there looking for something to match the sofa.
You could spend days scouting the dozens of commercial galleries in Broward and Palm Beach counties for that perfect piece of art, or you could do one-stop shopping at Gallery Center. This 30,000-square-foot complex is more like a museum than an art mart, with a small outdoor sculpture garden that draws you into the building, a sprawling, airy complex where you can wander among eight galleries under one roof. The art, all for sale, is mostly contemporary, although the works of such art-world trendoids as Mark Kostabi, Julian Schnabel, and David Salle are conspicuous only by their welcome absence. Instead there's a far-ranging selection of photography, sculpture, glassware, and oil, acrylic, and watercolor painting, including works by major artists. You might stumble across a Pousette-Dart or a Botero canvas, for instance, and the breathtaking glasswork of Dale Chihuly is a staple. There's first-class art for as little as a couple hundred dollars or as much as a quarter of a million. In other words, don't go there looking for something to match the sofa.
If we're talking exhibition space only, the best area museum would have to be Lake Worth's Museum of Contemporary Art, a small but aesthetically appealing and tremendously versatile facility that's intimate without being claustrophobic. But if we're talking museum in the larger sense of the word -- as a cultural entity -- the winner is Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art, which has begun to shake off some of its stodginess. From last year's landmark Cuban exiles show to a refreshingly quirky Hortt Competition, the museum is opting for more and more adventurous programming. It also makes its auditorium available to other worthy arts organizations, including theater groups and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale
If we're talking exhibition space only, the best area museum would have to be Lake Worth's Museum of Contemporary Art, a small but aesthetically appealing and tremendously versatile facility that's intimate without being claustrophobic. But if we're talking museum in the larger sense of the word -- as a cultural entity -- the winner is Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Art, which has begun to shake off some of its stodginess. From last year's landmark Cuban exiles show to a refreshingly quirky Hortt Competition, the museum is opting for more and more adventurous programming. It also makes its auditorium available to other worthy arts organizations, including theater groups and the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Best Of Broward-Palm Beach®

Best Of