The word 'gastropub' is one of those trendy big city restaurant ideas of the early oughts, where the reinvention of the usual pub fare (burgers, fish & chips, mac & cheese) melded with the growing popularity of high end beer.
Once relegated to metropolitan high streets, over the years it has transformed into an approachable dining experience based upon familiar-with-a-twist menu items. In addition, the growing breadth of craft beer has changed many drinkers tastes and has shown that good food works very well with good beer.
With that, here's our pick of the Top 10 Gastropubs in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.
See Also: Ten Best Ribs in Broward and Palm Beach
10. Rebel House
The duo behind Charm City Burgers and El Jefe Luchador, two of Deerfield Beach's popular restaurants, have plopped this upscale gastropub right in the middle of downtown Boca Raton. Though the self-titled Rebel Burger may be kissing cousins to those from Charm City, the differences are there. Bar Nuts made with bacon lardons, candied pecans, pistachios, craisins, and aged cheddar are unique. And the sweet potato 'skins' loaded with braised duck and ancho-blackberry BBQ sauce makes a delicious alternative to the classic pub fare. Boca priced beers meld with interesting cocktails to make this gastropub a highlight in east Boca Raton.
This ode to the speakeasy days has a lot going for it, and is in an interesting area of Boynton Beach. Situated on the corner of Woolbright Rd. and Federal Hwy. amongst towers of recent real estate development, Sweetwater has been bringing a cocktail-culture heavy gastropub idea to this slice of paradise. Drinks like 'Death & Taxes' entice with a heaping of Earl Grey infused gin, St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur), stone pine liqueur, lemon, and house tonic. The food here is spot-on gastropub fare: maple-bacon Brussels sprouts with golden raisins, roasted beet salad, tri-beef sliders... the list goes on. The beer list isn't long or extensive, but offers a spectrum of styles from brewers like Founders, Avery, and Dogfish Head.
Bacon mac & cheese, how I love thee. This burger-centric joint in Fort Lauderdale (which has another location in Miami) is right smack in the center of the action on Himmarshee. Go with your gut and check out the bison burger topped with maple cheddar cheese, crispy pancetta, and pale malt extract mustard paired with Dogfish Head's Palo Santo Marron, which is aged on Paraguayan Palo Santo wood, and you have the lunch of champions. Good luck going back to work. For the cocktail crowd, there's a fine selection to be had, including an in-depth whiskey/bourbon/scotch menu.
7. Gluttonous Goat
This recently opened gastropub in east Boca Raton brings a Florida-focused aspect to the gastropub scene with a Caribbean-American influence that shows across many of its dishes. The site's decor is vintage-industrial with a welcome outdoor patio. The Gluttonous Goat stays true to its namesake by offering, what else, goat. Like the all day braised jerk goat leg with coconut ginger mash potatoes, spicy tomato jam, and curry nage. Pan roasted monkfish and even a pulled goat sandwich round out the oddities. Don't forget the craft beer though, with plenty of local brews and other out-of-town guests like Left Hand Milk Stout, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and even some lambics and Flemish reds like Rodenbach and Boon Kriek. To hell with it, just splurge on a bottle of Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine and be done with it.
Tucked behind car rental lots in the grundle of Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Port Everglades, The Keg on 6th is an off-the-path delight of good food and good beer. Order up some pork belly sliders complete with sriracha aioli (have fun typing that) and house pickles, or go green with the curried cauliflower, again sriracha topped with pickled jalapeno. Wash it all down with Brooklyn's Sorachi Ace on draft, or go old school cool with the ever-solid Harpoon UFO. Can't go wrong in any case.
West Palm Beach has been living in the shadow of its neighbor Palm Beach in the culinary scene for quite some time. But off-the-island cuisine has been picking up steam, with Hullabaloo off Clematis Ave. adding its weight to the charge. The truly Euro-American fusion of flavors comes evident in dishes from Executive Chef Fritz Cassel that range from a mac & cheese with braised prosciutto and porcini mushroom crumbs, to fresh caught baby octopus and scallops au poivre (black peppercorn sauce) with creamy polenta and grilled asparagus. To go with all of that rich food, there's beer selections like Ommegang's wheat ale Witte, The Bruery's Belgian-style golden strong ale Mischief, and the sour but approachable Duchesse De Bourgogne. Good food and good beer in West Palm Beach.
Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach can be a tough nut to swallow. On the one hand, it's great to have so many restaurant options in one central location, but on the other, there can sometimes be a quality problem. Not so at Tryst, which acts as a craft beer and wine (lots of delicious wine) tentpole among the downtowners. Flatbreads come bigger and tastier than you expect them, but it's the Spicy Vegan Pad Thai that takes you in. Shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, carrots, scallions, peanuts, and chile sauce all come together for a harmonious take on Thai food in a public house atmosphere. Want something more traditional? The Tryst Burger is packed with USDA Prime beef, but a sampling of the assorted meat Charcuterie board with a glass of Argentinian Malbec is divine.
3. Tap 42
Host to some of the most expansive and sometimes most limited-release-heavy tap takeovers, Tap 42 in south Fort Lauderdale makes a name for itself with its massive beer selection as well as its famous $5 Prohibition Burger deal on Mondays. The gastropub life is all about making pub grub interesting, which is why appetizers like crispy Asian fried calamari, drizzled with sesame-ginger aioli are a must-have. Seal the deal with a beer cocktail, mixed by some of the best bartenders in Broward.
2. Tipsy Boar
Situated just west of Young Circle, on Harrison St., The Tipsy Boar is South Broward's defining gastropub. Where else in Hollywood can you find a French onion burger, stacked with gruyere, caramelized onions, and crushed garlic croutons, to pair with a Southampton Biere De Mars or a Green Flash Palate Wrecker? 40 taps, a modest wine list (including Beaujolais by the glass), and custom cocktails make every booze hound happy. Ask them to whip up a Moscow mule complete with required copper mugs and enjoy the evening.
Chef Daniel Naumko heads up this small West Boca pork-based establishment. Let's get one thing out of the way: good luck finding a menu item without meat. That's one of the reasons why we love it here. From the decadent wagyu duck fat burger (complete with bacon and a fried egg), to the roasted bone marrow served with brioche, there's nothing we can find that we wouldn't want to eat forever. But then there's the most killer beer bottle selection that includes rarities such as Brasserie Fantome Artist #1 and the Nogne/Mikkeller/Brewdog collaboration beer Horizon Tokyo Black, a super boozy 16% a.b.v. imperial stout. Oh yeah, and the eight rotating draft beers are usually out of this world selections too. There must be some kind of dark magic afoot.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Instagram.
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