Mr. R. and I had a classic date night last night, choosing to spend our Halloween on Clematis Street in West Palm Beach. Unsure of where, exactly, we wanted to go, we parked at the east end and walked up the street to see what was happening and where. Arriving around 7:30, I saw fewer costumes than I expected, although there were some families with small children out trick-or-treating.
On our way up the street, we passed a couple of new places, notably The Alchemist Gastropub which opened where J. Flynn’s used to be. It might be worth a try sometime. There was also Snooty’s Wine Dive, which seems to have opened in January of 2012 and I never heard of before. I definitely want to check out that one.
Eventually, we walked all the way to the 500 block where we had a round of drinks at O’Shea’s, poured, by the way, by a bartender dressed as Waldo. So if you were still wondering where’s Waldo, now you know.
I had an average chardonnay while Mr. R. ordered a black and tan, but there was an issue–apparently there is a shortage of Bass, so the black and tan was Guiness and something else. Thus saith Waldo. Alert the media.
We sat at a hightop on the sidewalk in front of O’Shea’s, the better to people watch. As time passed, we began to see more and more costumes. Mr. R. got a kick out of the girl dressed like Hulk Hogan. I especially liked the Abe Lincoln we passed (twice), who was reading a book in front of a coffee bar. His look said, “I’m literary, historical, and very serious, because I’m reading on Halloween.” The irony wasn’t lost on me that nothing can prevent people from creating their own MoonFest by coming out in costume on Halloween rather than acquiescing to the city-sanctioned, ticketed event.
Upon finishing our drinks at O’Sheas, we made our way back east to Bar Louie, which was where Mr. R. really wanted to spend the rest of our time. Bar Louie is a great place to hang out because it’s at the crossroads of the eastern Y of Clematis. It’s probably one of the best people-watching spots. We pulled up a sidewalk table and ordered another round, this time Stella for Mr. R. and Louie’s Cosmo for me. We split a boneless chicken wings app.
The food and drinks were great and we enjoyed watching the world go by from our vantage point. There were the homeless people dressed as, you guessed it, homeless people. It feels a little odd to be sitting at a sidewalk table enjoying appetizers and cocktails as homeless people walk by. The city fathers passed an ordinance some time ago against feeding the homeless in public, so there’s a charity that merely sets out food for the needy in the nearby park. The homeless serve themselves in an efficient, effective way of sticking it to the man.
As it got later, there were more costumes. We saw Cleopatra, lots of Batman characters, Flo from Progressive, and a naked guy (actually naked) who’d tied an enormous dildo in front. All I could think was, In your dreams, dude. I figured he’d get arrested pretty quickly, but I saw him again about an hour later. So what do I know?
You should be aware that Clematis Street was recently on the list of 2014 Great Places as deemed by the American Planning Association. If you ever consider vacationing in Florida, may I suggest skipping the pit that is Orlando in favor of Palm Beach County? We have less congestion, better beaches (remember, Orlando is land-locked), and more authentic (less touristy) restaurants and bars.
And don’t pass up Clematis. You’ll have a great time. We always do.
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