Culture Crusaders Take West Palm Beach
March 23, 2018Pola Bunster
As Miamians, we tend to go about our days thinking we know our sister cities all too well, believing there’s nothing left to be discovered. That couldn’t be father from the truth. If our past Culture Crusaders adventures to Orlando and Tampa proved, it’s that we’ve got a lot to learn about the rest of the state. Two weeks ago, we riled up the crew and took a day trip to West Palm Beach, only to be awed once again.
Not What You’d Expect.
Growing up in South Florida, I’ve known Palm Beach County to be one level. Prim, up-scale, and a majority one-sided. Over recent years, we’ve been hearing buzzing about a bursting creative scene happening up, regardless of our hesitance. When we made our way up there, we were met with kind local business owners, passionate creatives, and blown expectations. We’re confident to say that you will be too.
We started our adventure with, you guessed it, coffee. Thanks to Missy Pierce‘s suggestion, we jumped at the chance to taste the new French bakery in town: Loic Bakery Cafe Bar. A light-filled and clean atmosphere, lined with tropical patterns and mint green finishes greets you, but it’s the fresh pastries that catch your eye. Owner Loic Autret believes that food is art, and when biting into the best ham & cheese croissant you’ve ever tasted, you understand. Only opened back in December, his ’52 Shades of Loic’ cookie is already a local staple. Make sure to eat it with your eyes closed for the full effect. It’s already one of those places that feels ingrained in the neighborhood, with baristas remembering customers, and Loic greeting patrons like an old friend.
Although it was hard to pull away, we had to continue the explorations. Next stop: the booming Warehouse District. We got lost inside Elizabeth Ave Station, easily one of our favorite places in all of West Palm Beach. Part co-working space, studio, and curated market, it’s one of those spots that would fit right in along the streets of Austin or Brooklyn. It too feels like it’s been there forever, only coming on shy of a year. From records and fresh coffee to vintage finds and handmade pieces, you can find anything at The Station–even motorcycles. On the weekends, it’s a local hotspot for shows and drinks, and we’re not surprised.
Our souls might have been fed, but our stomachs were already rumbling for lunch. On such a sunny day, we sat outside at the town’s newest food hall: Grandview Public Market. We did what the locals do and tried as much as we could. From fried chicken and gooey desserts to flavorful ramen and authentic poke, each concept was more vibrant than the next. The large and open space lends itself for exactly what food halls are meant to create: connection. Locals merging with curious travelers, and coming together to relish the native eats. Wash it down with a drive through the Grandview Historic District, established in 1910 and brimming with bougainvilleas and rustic houses.
We then made our way to the area that most of us know West Palm Beach for: City Place. But don’t be deterred, the area has changed a lot over the years, with more creative endeavors on the horizon. We checked out Culture Lab, a pop-up hub for creatives in a shell of an old Macy’s developed by the Related Group. It’s an experimental space currently occupied by a three-part sound and video exhibit for an immersive experience. Stopping by Flower + Fringe for some floral inspiration, we made our way to Clematis.
Roasting and Growing Culture.
One of the city’s main streets, Clematis has its fair share of local shops, eats, and breweries–the vibe you yearn for. It’s a booming local community and y’all know we’re already about it. It was hard not to spend the rest of the day at Subculture Coffee, but we broke away eventually. Filled to the brim with roasted beans, books, local art and trimmings, it’s exactly what you envision when “coffee shop” comes to mind. They’re all about building relationships in every sphere at Subculture, and it shines.
Peep the artist alley along the sides and back to see some incredible murals by renown artists like Cobra and more. On the weekends, this spot also brightens up with live music and community happenings. Hop down the street and pop into Hullabaloo for some delicious grub, a sister business to the roasters. This area is home to the Brightline stop, which makes the trip from Miami even easier.
Places like Celi’s Produce, Simplicity in Mind Boutique, the Norton Museum of Art and the West Palm Beach Brewery are all great stops to round out the adventure as we did. It’s a place where even the Restoration Hardware has a serious following, featuring one of the sweetest rooftop bars around. Don’t forget to save the best for last: Sons & Daughters Farm & Winery. The locals know it, the travelers have experienced it, and now you should too. If the name didn’t give it away, the lush farm is family-owned and self-sustainable.
Teaming with native plants, herbs, and friendly cats, it’s a true hidden gem by every definition. Choose between the kombuchas on tap (our favorite’s hibiscus!), beer flights, or seasonal wine to wet your whistle. Then, make your way through the brush to the back loading dock-turned-performance space for some pizza, live music, and bonfires. Chat with owners who instantly become friends, explore the spacious property, and relish in life’s simplicity. We will definitely be back, and often.
See you soon, West Palm Beach.
Photos by FujiFilm Girl. Check out the full album here.
Eats & Drinks:
- Loic Bakery – ’52 Shades of Loic’ cookie, assorted croissants, lattes for all.
- Grandview Public Market – Just try it all. But mostly the pizza and fried chicken.
- Subculture Coffee – Try a sandwich and a coffee.
- Hullabaloo – Don’t miss their Brussels sprouts and fried zucchini chips.
- Celi’s Produce – Organic, locally-sourced market.
- West Palm Beach Brewery
- Sons & Daughters Farm & Winery – Hibiscus Kombucha, and a Paradise Pizza.
- Elzabeth Ave. Station – Get lost in Rust & Wax’s record selection.
- Flower & Fringe – Drool over their handmade floral creations.
- Simplicity in Mind Boutique – Cute clothes for the ladies.
- Restoration Hardware