Openings and Closings

Tonight: First Ladies' Night at Dirty Martini in Palm Beach Gardens with American Idol's Taylor Hicks Live

​The perfect dirty martini isn't just shaken, not stirred. It's also not too strong or too sweet -- and definitely not too weak. 

No, the perfect dirty martini is made to your precise specifications -- which is exactly how you'll get it at Dirty Martini, a new martini lounge located in Downtown at the Gardens. 

Here the drink menu features five dirty versions ($14), from the "not so dirty" James Bond blending Finladia vodka with Bombay gin and Lillet to the "sweet" Marilyn Monroe made with Grey Goose, Chambord, and fresh lemon juice. With so many ways to do just one cocktail, it sums up what Dirty is all about: choice.

The latest late-night hot spot from Cleve Mash -- a partner in crime behind such Clematis Street establishments as Feelgoods,

Monarchy Night Club, Lost Weekends and Reef Rd Rum Bar -- Dirty Martini is exactly what Palm Beach has been missing. And that is a martini bar that manages to be more than just a martini bar. 

"This is an upscale martini lounge, but that's not all we're about. We're really excited about our sharing plates -- a lot of research went into creating this menu." -- Rob Samuels, Floor Manager 

Like any premium cocktail, Dirty takes the top shelf of many ingredients and blends them to produce one helluva punch. There are three bars -- each offering a different vibe -- and live music every night of the week. It's a vibrant scene backed up by a creative cocktail list (all made with fresh juices, even the olives) and a killer Asian-infused, small plate menu, making this chic-hip lounge a little bit of something for everyone. 

Want a quiet spot to sit and sip the night away? Try any of the bar's numerous private nooks. Need a dance floor to get your groove on? One of the two interior bars transforms into a stage, complete with light-laser backlit paneling and ample space for plenty of revelers. Like it outdoors? The patio bar has the most laid-back feel, complete with high-top tables for sampling Kubo chef Roy Villacrusis' innovative, "finger friendly" sharing plate selections (available 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday).

​Villacrusis' culinary genius shines with more than 15 choices ($8 to $18), each unique takes on familiar favorites served in portions just right for sharing and grazing alike. The shrimp and vegetable egg rolls are a must -- not a hint of grease, each stuffed with a whole shrimp swaddled in a tasty cocoon of somen noodles, served swimming in a shallow dish of the chef's own house-made kimchee sauce peppered with a generous helping of basil seeds.

Another well-known favorite kicked up a notch: the tuna tartare, a work of art with delicate cubes of finely seasoned fish beneath an airy layer of avocado cream sauce, topped with tobiko and served beside a sampling strip of sesame oil and wasabi. 

Other must-have menu items include the cremini mushroom Rockefeller stuffed with bacon, spinach, and Parmesan; or the duck confit wontons with goat cheese and sundried cherries alongside a sweet-and-sour dipping sauce. Sample it with a blood-red Bellini martini (a fresh twist on the standard served with peach schnapps, blood-red orange liquor, fresh orange juice, and sparkling champagne), or eight-ounce pour off the selective red and white wine list.

​TONIGHT: Get a little dirty and be among the 400 guests to hear Taylor Hicks perform live for Dirty Martini's first ladies' night (first drink is free) with half-priced signature cocktails, premium/well drinks, and food from 8 p.m. to close. 

And boys, take note: Baggy clothes may not be the best choice for this establishment.

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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