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Three Cocktails to Try at Lake Worth's Newest Spot, C.W.S. Craft Bar + Kitchen

It's official: Lake Worth has welcomed C.W.S. Craft Bar + Kitchen to the fold, the area's first craft cocktail bar and restaurant. The bar quietly launched a soft opening Thursday, May 12, during which it will be offering drinks and a limited food and cocktail menu.

In February, 3-J Hospitality founder Jeff John and partner Brian Freed — best known for their Broward-based concepts including Revolution Live, America's Backyard, and Stache 1920's Whiskey Den + Coffee Bar  — announced they had selected Lake Worth to debut their new concept dubbed C.W.S. (short for Charles William Stache, the group's fictional proprietor), overseen by general manager Anthony Savoia.

"We really feel we hit Lake Worth at the perfect time," says Savoia. "There are other places we could have considered, but this community is the right fit for growing our brand."

To kick off the opening month, a series of special events are scheduled for Thursday, May 19-21, when the establishment will offer several short menus for both cocktails and dishes built around the day's theme (see below for details). C.W.S. will officially open on Tuesday, May 24.

For now, patrons can get a glimpse of the multifaceted concept for a sneak peek during the coming days. It starts with the outdoor bar, where 28 craft beer taps include selections from Florida breweries such as MIA Brewing, J. Wakefield Brewing, Funky Buddha Brewery, and Due South Brewing Co. Inside, the "den" allows diners to order sharable plates from executive chef Jessie Steele in an "intimate, speakeasy setting." 

Lounge-style seating offers several distinct options for quiet conversation, drinking, or dining. Decor, all handpicked by members of the 3-J Hospitality team, includes hooded leather chairs, antique-style chandeliers, and a red "Jubilee" British telephone kiosk that will act as a secret entryway for guests making dinner reservations on Open Table.

At the 10-seat, copper-topped bar patrons can order from a menu of more than 15 classic cocktails or original recipes crafted by 3-J Hospitality creative beverage director Bill Binder, who helped to develop and manage bar programs for a number of top South Florida establishments, including Miami Beach's SoHo Beach House.

A section dubbed "Nothing but the Classics" gives patrons the opportunity to sample classic cocktails like the French 75, Negroni, Manhattan, Sazerac, or Sidecar using the bar's wide array of spirits sourced from three distributors. Drinks can also be "upgraded" to draw from C.W.S.'s extensive spirit portfolio, which will offer as many as 300 whiskeys as well as dozens of vodkas, tequila, Scotch, and gin.

Another section labeled "In-House Creations" gives guests a more creative flavor journey, says Binder. 

"Think of it as a roller coaster ride for your palate where we start you off slow, build you up, and then bring you down to a nice, smooth finish."

Although selections will rotate every six to eight weeks, the current list offers up a series of seasonally-inspired cocktails. This includes Ahead of Lettuce, a combination of Hanger One vodka with Romaine lettuce, salt, pepper, lime juice, and a chili-infused oil.

Also highlighting a number of vegetal selections, the Suffering Succotash is a libation that balances the flavors of Fords gin with a roasted corn-infused agave, lime juice, and smoked salt garnished with a dollop of roasted corn, pepper, and celery succotash.

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You can even opt for a walk on the wild side with the Bartender's Choice — what's been described as a customizable, guided experience provided by any of the inside bar staff. Give them a few of your favorite flavor profiles or spirits, and they'll whip up something special just for you. The daily Old Fashioned, a recipe created anew each day by the opening bartender, will offer similar inspiration.

The C.W.S. Bar + Kitchen is located at 522 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth. Call 561-318-5637 or visit cwslw.com.

The soft opening will run May 12-14 with a limited menu starting at 5 p.m. The bar will be closed until the grand opening weekend starting at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 19, with a New Orleans Jazz night; Friday, May 20 with Ole! Tacos & Tequila; and Saturday, May 21 with an All-American BBQ. Regular hours begin Tuesday, May 24 at 7 a.m. with Panther Coffee service through 3 p.m. The Beer Garden opens at 4 p.m.; the Den opens at 5 p.m.; and the bar is closed Mondays. 

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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