Oh, the adventures of date night. Last night was our first Friday night out in a few weeks. Needless to say, we were excited to be out and about. However, our first two stops were a bust.
First, we tried Coconuts on the Beach, a tiki-type bar at the Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront. We walked in around 6:30 and to say they were not busy would be to understate the situation. There were a couple of occupied tables and a handful of people at the bar. Even so, we sat for about fifteen minutes and no server or host approached us. Mr. R. went to the bar to order some cocktails and couldn’t even get waited on there. Why did we even try a corporate place?
We left the Hilton and headed south on Singer Island to the Sailfish Marina. Again, it was not crowded, and by this time it was after 7:00. On Friday night. We inadvertently pulled into the ‘Valet Only’ parking lot which had a couple of cars parked in a sea of empty spaces. The attendant helpfully pointed out that if we wished to self-park, we could pull back out onto the street and drive about a block down and park there. Yet, here we were, in a virtually empty parking lot. Here’s the thing–it’s Friday night and we just want to have a nice time together.
Instead, we did what we should have done from the beginning, and that is we headed to Northwood Village for the Art and Wine Promenade. Parking at the west end of Northwood Road, we strolled along the closed down street stopping now and then to look at various wares offered by the artisans and vendors set up there. There was supposed to be a tropical mango theme for the evening, but the only mango I saw was on one table giving samples of sangria. There was lots of live music; I’m reasonably certain that Sweet Home Alabama doesn’t qualify as tropical, but I’ll let that go because it’s one of my favorites.
Eventually, we ended up at O-BO, taking a table in the street, the better to people watch. I ordered a sauvignon blanc and Mr. R. had a soft drink while we considered the menu. Owner Jeff Thompson greeted us like old friends (take that, Coconuts) as did our server. A lady at another table graciously offered to take a picture of Mr. R. and me together. Live music was provided at the restaurant by O-BO regular Micheal Boone. He used the wireless mic to move effortlessly back and forth between inside and outside. His version of John Legend’s All of Me was spot-on and enjoyable. The evening was exceedingly warm and muggy, a fact that cut down on my appetite, but we ordered the exquisite truffle waffle fries anyway. Great service and amazing food are the reasons we keep going back to O-BO.
On our way back west on Northwood, we stopped at a vendor’s table and Mr. R. thoughtfully replaced my hand painted wine glass that was broken a couple of months ago. More about that in a future post. Back to date night.
Leaving Northwood Village, we headed further south to downtown West Palm Beach and Clematis Street. Walking west, we passed one of our favorite hang outs, Bar Louie, to go further up the street to Rocco’s Tacos. Mr. R. is not often in the mood for Mexican food so when he offers, I readily accept. Rocco’s was busy and there were several people waiting for seating, in spite of the fact that there were one or two tables available on the sidewalk. Many people don’t prefer the small sidewalk tables because they’re right next to the street. Mr. R. went inside to ask about the wait. He mouthed to me that the wait was 25 minutes and I said no, let’s just go back to Bar Louie. However, the manager, Ryan, witnessed this exchange and seated us immediately at the outside table that we wanted in the first place (take that, Coconuts). Outdoor seating on Clematis Street is the best. It’s fun to watch people walking up and down the street: couples on dates, groups of dudes (or chicks) on the prowl, the trolleys full of tourists that ride past, looking afraid to get out and experience the ‘real’ West Palm Beach.
Our server Price was friendly and helpful, explaining the menu and the evening’s specials. Ultimately, we ordered a pitcher of pamaritas and Rocco’s homemade tortilla chips and salsa which we enjoyed while we watched the crowds and listened to the music pouring from inside the restaurant. I’m certain I heard Jesse’s Girl at one point. After a couple glasses of pamarita, I made my way inside and found that the movie Napoleon Dynamite was inexplicably playing in the loo. But I’m a fan of quirky.
After we settled up with Price, Mr. R. agreed to take me a few blocks further west to Respectable Street, a club he introduced me to when we first started dating. One day I want to write a whole piece about Respectables. The place has changed a great deal over the years, but one thing that remains the same is the friendliness of the bartenders there (take that, Coconuts), a fact which Mr. R. wanted to emphasize. It was only 10 o’clock, very early for the Respectables crowd, and the place was nearly empty. We ordered our drinks and sat on a banquette to watch the action. We noticed the lonely guy sitting at the bar taking selfies, which seemed a little sad. There was the skeevy guy standing where he could look into the ladies’ room, a fact I noted as I washed my hands and looked into the mirror, finding him looking at me. One other guy was sitting down the banquette from us, but he finished his drink and left. Thumping retro new wave music was playing to the empty dance floor. I love to dance but I prefer when the floor is packed, when you know no one is looking. Slowly, people began to trickle in, some heading directly out to the back courtyard to set up music outside. Eventually, some girls started dancing and I let Mr. R. take us out on the floor for a bit. A few songs later, we’d had enough and we were ready begin making our way back home.
Despite the rough start, we had an excellent date night. We visited some superb establishments, met some nice people, and witnessed some interesting scenes. The beginning was a little rocky, but don’t we need the bad to appreciate the good?