Evolving beyond pork belly, brussels sprouts, and IPAs, gastropub offerings have become anything but cookie-cutter. These four local establishments represent the concept’s limitless possibilities.
The Alchemist, West Palm Beach
Executive chef Joe Peebles’ recent menu additions showcase the gastropub’s versatility and finesse through unexpected flavors. Frequenters of this sexy, speakeasy-esque haunt will now find favorites like dry-aged steaks and bone marrow with homemade spaetzle alongside health-conscious options such as a local heirloom tomato salad dressed with sherry and sumac lemon preserves. The shake-up continues behind the bar, where resident “intoxicologist” Scott Hart’s new creations harken to that of a mad scientist. Heads turn when the Smoked Old Fashioned arrives at tables and cherry wood smoke pours out of a beaker, or when drops of rare tea from Thailand transform the Ovid cocktail into a deep shade of purple. “It engages all the senses,” says managing partner Craig Steel. “Alchemy is happening right in front of you.”
C.W.S. Bar + Kitchen, Lake Worth
Led by an outstanding cocktail program that highlights whiskey, Prohibition-era libations, and original concoctions, this quaint watering hole opened less than a year ago but has quickly become a neighborhood hot spot. It’s easy to see why. The copper-topped bar, tufted leather couches, and antler chandeliers create a cozy, lodge-like setting for savoring dishes such as house-made pappardelle or braised short rib and sipping on one of the bartender’s daily variations on the classic Old Fashioned or a bright, complex Mexican Mai Tai with smoked almond orgeat and orange shrub. C.W.S. hosts weekly events with local bands, and its outdoor beer garden boasts enough drafts to entertain the most discerning craft connoisseur.
Hullabaloo, West Palm Beach
A jovial atmosphere fueled by cocktails named after late musicians like David Bowie, as well as refined plates with Italian flair, position this four-year-old joint as a fun hangout on Clematis Street. Chef Fritz Cassel’s staples include braised meats and artisan pizzas from the fired-stone oven (viewable from almost any seat), but he and mixologist Brett Hart are constantly reinvigorating the menu. Currently, Hart is riffing on classic cocktails like the Jungle Bird and the Brooklyn with updated versions that incorporate fresh produce. In the kitchen, Cassel’s new burrata dish with creamy pesto, balsamic onions, pea tendrils, and charred crostini looks like a hit in the making.
The Sybarite Pig, Boca Raton
Daniel and Roxanne Naumko’s love for beer spurred this hidden gem, which draws an adventurous crowd primed to appreciate its wide range of brews from small producers and hard-to-find European bottles. The menu reflects Daniel’s unique background—his family emigrated from Ukraine to Venezuela before he settled in the States—and highlights eclectic, made-from-scratch fare. “Love is something you can taste when you eat it,” Daniel says. “There’s a lot of love and thought behind our food.” We recommend the Hellswine sweet and spicy sausage, made in-house with pork, Peruvian rocoto peppers, and guava, as well as new additions like seafood bites and yucca fries.