Cocktails & Spirits

Cheap Drinks in West Palm Beach: The Bus Loop Makes Its Debut This Weekend

Northern Palm Beach County will soon get to see what all of the party-bus fuss is about when the bus loop so popular in Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach expands to West Palm Beach. The first West Palm Beach Bus Loop will roll out Friday with routes connecting participating bars in CityPlace, on Clematis Street, and Palm Beach Island.

Event co-organizer Jay Zeager said the loop, which will mirror the events in Delray Beach and Fort Lauderdale, will include nine stops where participants can get a complimentary cocktail and raucous atmosphere, free of the "frat party" vibe typically associated with a pub crawl or party bus.

Zeagar expects the loop -- which includes stops at Brewzzi CityPlace, Blue Martini, Backyard Bar, World of Beer - West Palm Beach, O'Shea's Irish Pub, Longboards, Gratify American Gastropub, Roxy's, Cha Cha's, and Wine Dive -- to attract people from the Jupiter and Lake Worth areas who might not yet have attended bus loop events held farther south.

"We're gotten a lot of good feedback from people [in the area]," Zeagar said. He

helped to get the ball rolling on the loop as a fundraiser for the

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (he's a candidate for the Leukemia &

Lymphoma Society Man of the Year for 2012) and received support from

Bus Loop chairman/founder John J. Haley. The Palm Beach County Gator

Club Scholarship Fund and Little Smiles also will benefit from money

raised during Friday night's event. Tickets cost $20 per person in advance and $25 at the door with "buses" (trolleys marked with Bus Loop signs) running from 6 to 11 p.m.

For anyone who wants to make a weekend of it, the Fort Lauderdale Bus Loop returns on Saturday night with ten stops. Details about that event are here.

No matter which loop you join, Zeager offers some universal advice for newbies: Tip bartenders and servers at every stop for those complimentary drinks, and play it safe by lining up a designated driver or cab for postevent transportation.

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Tricia Woolfenden