While picking a watering hole often hinges on the company and the situation, here are five spots we’re raising a glass to this month.
Best Rooftop Bar: Banko Cantina, West Palm Beach
Photo by Gregory Dillard, Grapeseeker.
Banko Cantina’s 150-seat rooftop is “not a night club, but a high-end lounge,” says co-owner Sam Sanchez. It has its own kitchen, a 90-foot bar, misters for hot weather, and a spectacular view of West Palm. Banko Cantina focuses on the cuisine of Nuevo Leon in northern Mexico. Try the mesquite-grilled skewers with shrimp, steak, or bacon-wrapped chicken, and wash it down with an Adelita, a margarita with a salt-and-chili-pepper rim and a float of mescal.
Most Authentic Echo of Old Florida: Benny’s On the Beach, Lake Worth
Photo by Montana Pritchard Photography.
Nothing evokes pre-Disney Florida more than a rustic beach bar, and Benny’s, nestled at the base of the Lake Worth Pier, is a classic. Shrimp and grits (pictured) or roasted chorizo and egg tacos rule the breakfast portion of chef Jeremy Hanlon’s menu. For lunch or dinner, order the lobster dip—a New England lobster roll drenched in lemon-garlic butter. The drink of choice is Max’s Pineapple, a house-made piña colada served in a freshly cut pineapple. How popular is it? Benny’s goes through 12 cases of pineapples every weekend night.
Most Distinctive Happy Hour: PB Catch, Palm Beach
Photo by Jordan Vilonna.
Every night from 4:30 to 6:30, PB Catch guests can enjoy two-for-one cocktails and a parade of seafood delights, including calamari, Blue Point oysters shucked to order, melt-in-your-mouth crab hush puppies, and house-smoked fish dip served with capers and red onions. For those just waking up to go out on the town, there’s a Bloody Mary oyster shooter made with Absolut Citron. How good are those bivalves? “Other places have oysters, but no one gets them as fresh as we do,” says Daniel Smith, the restaurant’s general manager.
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Best Luxury Sports Bar: The Woods, Jupiter
Photo courtesy of The Woods, Jupiter.
When you’re one of the world’s greatest golfers and you can’t find a sports bar that meets your standards, you open your own. That’s what Tiger Woods did last year with The Woods. “My family and I really enjoy living here, and I wanted to expand my involvement in the community,” Woods says. Unlike many celebrities who are silent partners, the Jupiter Islander’s involved in every aspect of the operation. He favors meat and potatoes, and his favorite meal is rumored to be the skirt steak salad paired with one of the 26 wines available by the glass.
Best Ocean View: Breeze Ocean Kitchen, Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Manalapan
Photo courtesy of Capehart.
Palm Beach’s newest beach bar is elegant, but it also exudes an upscale backyard feeling. “This is as close as you can get to the ocean without getting your feet wet,” says Tito Rodriguez-Torres, the Eau’s executive director of food and beverage. “You can enjoy a cocktail while watching sea turtles nest at night.” Breeze even features a craft-beer selection that is 100-percent local (think Saltwater and Due South). The mahi-mahi tacos are the most popular menu item, but Chef de Cuisine Kevin Knieriemen turns out everything from fresh seafood to a brisket burger.