This Labor Day weekend, South Florida restaurateur and nightlife maven Rodney Mayo is celebrating the grand opening of his thirteenth establishment. Tonight, the doors officially open for Camelot, the new late-night spot in downtown West Palm Beach. And as last night's soft opening revealed, it brings to life a unique nightlife concept.
But hold up ladies and gents: Before you go slapping on your party dress and lacing up those dancing shoes, check the mailbox for the special VIP card you'll need to get in the doors.
Oh, what's that? You didn't fill out the online application to request one of Camelot's 1,000 charter member cards? That's a shame. You'll probably have to buy one now.
You see, Camelot isn't really a nightclub -- but it's also not a lounge, nor a restaurant. It's sort of a blend of all three, something altogether unique to South Florida's party scene.
In March, Mayo shared his vision for Camelot, describing it as a late-night spot for the "sophisticated South Floridian." With his new establishment, Mayo said he hoped to attract a more high-class crowd with an upscale lounge dedicated to the "Camelot lifestyle." The place is an homage to the Kennedys' love of the ocean, sailing, and Palm Beach. The idea, said Mayo, is to bring back the memory of some of the Island's old-time, long-gone watering holes like Peter Dinkles, Conchy Joe's -- even the original Bradley's.
Over the past five years, the current Camelot's 3,500-square-foot space underwent a few incarnations, formerly clubs like Aura, Mystik, Cocoon, Metropolis, and -- long before that -- the Candy Store Lounge, which had a long run as one of downtown's only strip clubs. To help you forget the past, Mayo wasted nothing transforming the space, gutting it to create a roaming, open layout.
Inside, the décor is yachty and preppy: Framed photos of the Kennedy's spread throughout the space as though it were their family's den, a crew boat hanging from the ceiling, and nautical themed everything. As with many of his establishments, Mayo himself did most of the woodwork inside, everything from the teak-deck bar top, to a DJ booth fashioned to look like the front of a ship, and a special lounge area that makes guests appear to be sailing off into the sunset from the back of a boat.