Openings and Closings

Stache Founders Opening C.W.S. Craft Cocktails and Kitchen in Lake Worth

The founders of Fort Lauderdale-based 3-J Hospitality — the group behind popular South Florida venues including Revolution Live, America's Backyard, and Stache 1920's Drinking Den — are headed north to Palm Beach County this spring with a new social dining concept.

Stache owners Jeff John and Brian Freed have selected downtown Lake Worth to debut a new concept they've dubbed C.W.S. Craft Cocktails and Kitchen, a bar and restaurant slated to open in March at 522 Lucerne Ave., the space formerly occupied by the Cottage. Both men describe C.W.S. — short for Stache's fictional proprietor Charles William Stache — as a casual, sophisticated establishment serving craft cocktails and contemporary fare.

"The opening of C.W.S. will be a significant move for us, because it signals 3-J Hospitality's expansion north of its Broward home base, as well as its evolution," says John, who founded 3-J Hospitality in 2003. "C.W.S. will be a must-try for craft cocktail enthusiasts and late-night carousers, as well as foodies. This is a concept we've been developing for some time and we're thrilled to be going to Lake Worth. We see the city as South Florida's next hot destination, and think there's a real hunger — and a thirst — for what C.W.S. will offer."

Whether it's coffee in the morning (a Panther Coffee bar serving drinks and light pastries will be available every morning), or post-work cocktails at the end of the day, C.W.S. has been designed to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience unlike any other in the downtown Lake Worth area, says 3-J Hospitality beverage director William Binder III. A master mixologist, Binder helped to develop and manage bar programs for a number of top South Florida establishments, including Miami Beach's SoHo Beach House, before joining 3-J Hospitality in 2014.

In a similar vein to Stache, considered one of Fort Lauderdale's first craft cocktail bars when it opened in 2013, C.W.S.'s inside bar will showcase a wide array of spirits with an emphasis on bourbons, whiskeys, and ryes. Several Stache classics will make it onto the menu in Lake Worth, but Binder says he will also be developing a number of new signature drinks for the Palm Beach County bar. That will include the Lucerne Swizzle, a drink that will incorporate aged rum, brandy, and mint leaves.

To compliment Binder's cocktails, expect an equally crafty menu of contemporary small plates designed by executive chef Joshua Hedqvist,    protégé of celebrity chef Todd English, as well as Eden Roc chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Stewart Woodman of Heidi's in Minneapolis. Hedqvist will be developing two menus for C.W.S., designed to reflect both indoor and outdoor spaces, each offering respective menus.

Inside, diners will be able to experience sharable plates in an intimate, speakeasy setting. Prices will average $25 per person. The menu – still in development – will include dishes such as Social (smoked bone marrow, radish, mushrooms, olive oil, lemon zest, parsley, and garlic bread); and the Deal (a local catch served with corn jus, native succotash, and Cajun rouille).

On the outdoor patio, which seats 80, guests can enjoy the ambiance of a classic beer garden, complete with a tented bar featuring 28 local and imported craft beers; Oktoberfest-style picnic tables designed for a communal dining and imbibing, and a gaming area with a ping pong table and putting green. Menu items will include Bavarian pretzels and sausages on house-baked rolls, cured meats and cheese boards, and burgers.

Patrons will also be able to reserve a chef's table, what will be an intimate 10-seat table set in a private garden at the back of the restaurant. Surrounded by planters featuring herbs and spices used by Hedquist and Binder, the space can be reserved for a guided chef's tasting, a cocktail clinic, or to host private events.

"Our goal is for C.W.S. to feel sophisticated without being stuffy. It'll be about cool and casual," says John. "We see C.W.S. as the type of establishment that will embrace the Lake Worth lifestyle." 

C.W.S. is located at 522 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth. Visit

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna