Local Guide

The Perfect Negroni? Why yes, it is.

Cocktails are best when they are trusted to the abandon of minimalism. Few well-chosen and finely crafted ingredients mixed together with a knowing gesture, and finally topped-off with just the right garnish. Bonus points for an epicurean touch in this new era of mixology.

This is true in the case of the Negroni. Deceptively simple with only three ingredients: Campari, sweet vermouth, and (traditionally) gin. We opted for Perfect Vodka instead, which turned out to be a very good decision on a rainy, tropical afternoon. Vivid red, practically glowing. As sexy in the daylight as it is at night. Heavy but not sweet. It satisfies both sides of the palette at once.

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We enjoyed our after-work drink at 1000 North, the celebrity-owned waterfront restaurant that features an American Modern menu and sophisticated mid-century interiors that will have you making mental notes during your stay.

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“I think the Negroni is the perfect cocktail…It is both aperitif and digestive. It’s a rare drink that can do that.” -Anthony Bourdain

Lucky for us, Galo Biaggio was behind the bar when we arrived. He made a perfectly balanced drink that was beautifully presented.

Cocktails like this easily become your go-to, signature drink. It’s classic and style-defining.

So, cheers to that!

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215 Speakeasy: transport to another time and place

Entrance through the alley door.

Entrance through the alley door.

Nestled on the second floor of Sour Bon (formerly the historic Doran’s) in downtown West Palm Beach, 215 Speakeasy is a hidden gem. That is not to say that it is hiding: with live jazz on the weekends and hours that end when the party does, this spot is a favorite of those who are in-the-know.

Walk past the main dining area, down a narrow hall, past the kitchen window, and up a dark stairway painted in blood red. Consider the tone set.

Good drinks will be had.

Good drinks will be had.

The speakeasy is small, it feels full with 20 people inside. The ceiling are low, the walls are dark, the wood is old. There is no other place I’d rather be.

The proprietor and bartender is Vincent, a welcoming Frenchman, bearded and tattooed. He makes drinks for people based on interactions instead of ordering from a menu (which does not exist here).

Vincent Toscano.

Vincent Toscano.

The bar is a wall of colored glass, well stocked with influential players and rebellious up-and-comers. It inspires discovery, trying something new and unexpected that you would not get in a street-level locale.

On this occasion, Vincent makes me a nameless concoction made with Pine Barrens Gin and a home-made syrup in a vintage cut crystal decanter. The pièce de résistance is the aged balsamic he delicately lays across the the top of the ice and on the edge of the glass, so that when I take my first sip, my lips taste the rich and complex reduction followed immediately by the impeccable freshness of the cocktail. It’s amazing. I’m haunted by it still.

WHEN are we??

WHEN are we??

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Next he makes an Old Fashioned by smoking a glass with Michigan cherrywood slices, Old Forester Kentucky Bourbon, and a Washington cherry that he batches himself. With no simple syrup it is considerably less sweet than what I am used to, and I like that.

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Every element of the bar has a story: the dried lavender comes from his mother’s garden in Toulouse, the citrus garnish he dehydrates in his own home, the vintage barware that he has collected along the way. The paper origami boats and planes with handwritten notes that he clips to the edge of his cocktail creations.

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By the end of my time here I realize that, clearly, this is the way to drink. The word “mixology” doesn’t do justice to the approach taken to making drinks. A woman next to me orders a mocktail, and over the course of 4-5 minutes I watch Vincent create a drink with a hand-crushed ice ball, dried daffodil, fresh blueberry and a dried lavender sprig that he lights like incense.

Because, as Vincent would say…

C’est la fucking vie.

And, who doesn’t want to enjoy the hell out of it?

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215 Speakeasy is located at 215 Clematis Street, 2nd Floor, West Palm Beach Florida

Open Wednesday through Saturday after 7:30 pm.

https://www.instagram.com/215speakeasy/

Creativity reigns at Elizabeth Avenue Station

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Located in an airy converted warehouse, Elizabeth Avenue Station has established itself as a hub for local makers, designers and artists.

The concept behind the experience is something that you might see in places like New York and Los Angeles, with the Brooklyn Flea and Chelsea Market creating semi-permanent pop-up spaces for creators of small-batch goods.

Rust & Wax has a wide selection of vinyl records.

Rust & Wax has a wide selection of vinyl records.

With everything from bohemian homewares to letter-pressed greeting cards, the Station has products at every price point with two things in common: coolness and quality.

It’s easy to let time drift as you peruse Rust & Wax’s bins of vinyl records, or imagine re-decorating your entire place with global moderne details from Row House.

305 MIA’s hand-crafted wooden accessories.

305 MIA’s hand-crafted wooden accessories.

In addition to being a vendor marketplace, the Station also hosts live events including music, comedy, discussions and workshops.

Let’s be clear: the Station knows how to throw a party. If you’ve ever been to one of their events (that can go well past midnight) you know that they open up the bar, put on some great tunes, and let the mingling begin.

The lines between gift-shopping and personal shopping become blurry, quickly.

The lines between gift-shopping and personal shopping become blurry, quickly.

A sunny sitting spot.

A sunny sitting spot.

The light-spilling industrial windows and ubiquitous of tropical plants alone are worth the trip. With Grandview Public Market, Burn Up Company and Steamhorse Brewing as neighbors, you could easily make this a half-day exploration of the Warehouse District.

Locally produced beauty products? Mm hmm!

Locally produced beauty products? Mm hmm!

Greeting cards with game.

Greeting cards with game.

Homewares by Row House Shop.

Homewares by Row House Shop.

Elizabeth Avenue Station is located at 1500-C Elizabeth Ave West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Station Hours

Monday : 10 AM - 6 PM

Tues - Sat : 10 AM - 8 PM

Sunday : 10 AM - 6 PM