A new late-night venue is coming to downtown West Palm Beach, and before you roll your eyes and mutter "Oh, what now?" just wait and hear us out.
The man behind the concept is Rodney Mayo, South Florida's foremost nightlife connoisseur who, of late, seems on a mission to revive downtown West Palm Beach with a string of projects spanning the 500 block of Clematis, including -- most recently --
his microroasting coffeehouse Subculture, which opened this Monday.
Next up for him is Camelot, a nightclub for the sophisticated South Floridian. In a recent interview with County Grind, Mayo says he hopes to attract the Palm Beach County crowd that no longer travels to downtown West Palm Beach, those who stopped patronizing the area because -- as Mayo puts it -- there is nothing worthwhile for them to see.
Camelot will be a bar and lounge dedicated to the "Camelot lifestyle," an homage to the Kennedys' love of the ocean, sailing, and Palm Beach. The idea: to bring back the memory of some of the old-time, long-gone watering holes of Palm Beach, like Peter Dinkles, Conchy Joe's, the New York Bar, Taboo, and the original Bradley's, says Mayo.
Mayo chose the spot because, he notes, "it's not on Clematis, so it's away from the silliness yet still close enough to Palm Beach." Basically, something a little more sophisticated in atmosphere, music, and attitude. That could be for the area's sailing and
yachting crowd or for the artists, musicians, and jet-setters.
Although the concept sounds appealing, and -- quite honestly -- refreshing, why not set up shop on Palm Beach Island? According to Mayo, Palm Beach isn't the right atmosphere anymore.
"The old Palm Beach would have welcomed it, but the new Palm Beach has a different attitude," says Mayo. "In West Palm, we can be open until 4 a.m."
And let's not forget that downtown West Palm Beach needs an alternative to the late-night haunts it's currently known for -- high-volume clubs like Feelgoods (now Pawnshop, which opens tonight) and Off the Hookah, which often draw a rowdy crowd.
Instead, Camelot will offer a quiet, more reserved spot to drink, dance, and mingle. One thousand private member cards will be issued for the club that will give cardholders preferred entrance. It'd a way to entice and maintain the clientele they envision for the space.
Over the past five years, the 3,500-square-foot space has seen 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.
The décor will be clean and preppy. Think Sperry Top-Siders, sailboats, and Ernest Hemingway, Mayo tells County Grind. And the music? Open format, says Mayo, anything from the Rolling Stones to Hall & Oates and classic house. Looking for Top 40, pop, or hip-hop here? You won't get it.
He's also creating a more upscale watering hole with a wide variety of drinks but no well liquor. The bar will serve only premium brands, says Mayo, but for a good price.
"We want to create an environment for those who don't want to be immersed in a meat market or surrounded by [people screaming] and unintelligible conversations. There are people looking for a safe haven from that, and I think Camelot will fill that void," says Mayo. "We expect everyone that comes to Camelot to act with a certain bit of class and decorum. Think of it as the new gentlemen's club, but coed."
Camelot will open later this spring, located at 114 S. Narcissus Ave., West Palm Beach. For updates visit the Facebook page.