A tour of Palm Beach County's and the Treasure Coast's lesser-known 'hipster' locations.
Whether you’re a hipster or not (or you are and don’t want to admit it), hipster, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a person who follows the latest styles, fashions, etc.” so enjoy our list … and be, well … hip.
Let’s play spin the sushi!
Spinning Ninja Sushi Bar
Imagine you are sitting at a bar as sushi, dumplings, seaweed wraps and the like pass you in little boats, floating in a river around the bar. Sound cool? At Spinning Ninja, you have the option to choose your food by what floats on the boat in front of you. You are charged by the plate and the color of the plate. For example, blue plate dishes cost $4 while red ones are $7. Take what you want, but be fast because they can sail by pretty quickly. I suggest going during happy hour when all plates are $3. A little advice: Watch your plates, they add up fast.
Spinning Ninja Sushi Bar: 41 E. Palmetto Park Road, Boca Raton
Indie is for me, but in Boca?
Living Room Theatre
Although this theater doesn’t scream cool, it is on FAU’s Boca campus, so college is cool, right? In a room that holds only about 40 people, this theater shows unique, indie, foreign movies and documentaries. It has all the luxuries of an iPic theater; comfy seats and served food and drinks. Tickets are surprisingly less than a big box-office movie theater, but their gourmet kitchen prices might get ya. But seriously, how can you resist drinking prosecco and eating a Prosciutto di Parma sandwich while watching a movie like “Bicycle Thieves”?
Living Room Theatre: 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
Outta Town Vibes
I used to drive by this place thinking that it was just some random house that threw a lot of parties. Alas, I was wrong. Dada is about sitting by the fireplace, jamming on a guitar and drinking a beer with friends. There’s no other place like it in South Florida. Dada is very chill. It exudes a welcoming small-town vibe, with its creaky floors, large front porch and eccentric garden with twinkly lights. You can meet new people there, bring a date or just sit in the corner and read some prose while sippin’ a mojito. They host open mics and serve a variety of fancy dishes, which may hurt your wallet, but will make your tummy very happy.
DADA: 52 N Swinton Ave., Delray Beach
Related: Beneath a banyan, eclectic scene unfolds at Dada in Delray Beach
Coffee, beer, wine, oh my!
The Coffee District
Downtown Delray Beach can be a surprisingly happening place … that is, if you know how to maneuver the many one-way streets. I myself went in a large circle three times in order to find this spot. By the time I got to The Coffee District, I thought, ‘man I could use a beer instead of an espresso.’ And guess what? They have it! They not only fill your thirst for caffeine, but also alcohol in the ways of craft beer, ciders and wine. They offer buy-one-get-one deals during happy hour. The inside vibe is cool, with a coffee bar and a separate wine bar, with chalkboards on the walls listing their beers. You can take a seat at one of the high-top tables, the bar or on the couch, all Wi-Fi accessible. Did I mention that they have karaoke? Well, they do. The Coffee District is the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a drink while writing the next great novel.
The Coffee District: 325 NE 2nd Ave., Delray Beach
Your home away from home
The Living Room
Ever have one of those days when you really want to get out of the house, have a drink and listen to some music, but your couch is just too comfy? Well, this place solves that problem. This restaurant and pub is your home away from home. Choose your spot on comfy sofas, lounge chairs or booths under colorful lanterns and lights. Dishes range from small plates of baked brie and a Mediterranean plate to the main dishes of crab cake, Shepherd’s Pie and meatloaf. But what makes The Living Room really cool are the events. Thursdays are Quiz Night and Open Mic Night. Show off your random, pop-culture knowledge, listen to some up-and-coming artists, sit back, sip your drink and relax.
The Living Room: 1709 North Congress Ave., Boynton Beach
Related: At Boynton's Living Room, a comfy spot to hoist a pint
Get your caffeine fix
Common Grounds Coffee Bar
Tucked away off Lake Avenue, Common Grounds Coffee Bar is your caffeine hideaway. Their sweet and creamy mocha lattes are worth the trip. Be sure to sign their upright piano and peruse the ‘colorful’ and dare I say ‘inspirational’ writings of past visitors. The best night to stop by? Every second Saturday of the month when it is open mic night.
Common Grounds Coffee Bar: 12 S. J St., Lake Worth
Your vinyl oasis
This little hole in the wall is THE place all hipsters – or anyone else who plays their mother’s record players – need to check out. The place seems small, but probably because it’s loaded with records, CDs and other odds and ends. Find yourself a jazz, classic, folk, indie, rock, movie soundtrack record. They also have new records, and even new records from old bands, that are higher in price (around $20) but still great to add to any collection.
Confusion Records: 846 Park Ave., Lake Park
Beer, music, art
The Brewhouse Gallery
This place has art, live music and, as the name suggests, beer … lots of it. It features brew from locals, such as Tequesta Brewing Company, Boca-based Funky Buddha Brewery, Due South Brewing Co. and Copperpoint Brewing Company. It also has popular favorites like Terrapin (Athens, Ga.), Cigar City (Tampa) and Bells (Michigan). If you want a pick-me-up during the day, try their coffee, which is made with locally roasted beans directly from growers. The place is set up like a living room, with sofas and big arm chairs facing a stage, with a bar and an art gallery in the back. The art, from local artists, is for sale, as is the furniture. If you’re there for their open mic night, enjoy the jams, comedy and spoken word.
The Brewhouse Gallery: 720 Park Ave., Lake Park
Related: Lake Park's Brewhouse Gallery hopes to be catalyst for arts district
For the romantic in you
The Blind Monk, West Palm Beach
Tucked away a few blocks from Clematis, The Blind Monk, is a tiny one-room, wine and beer bar, where old movies like “Metropolis” are projected against a blank wall. The vibe is hip and romantic. Take your wine and cheese platter outside and sit under the strings of lights and somewhat feel like you are on the streets of Paris.
The Blind Monk: 410 Evernia St., No. 107, West Palm Beach
Related: West Palm's Blind Monk wine bar steps up to please cocktail lovers
It’s almost too cool
Question: Is EmKo an A.) art gallery B.) coffee shop C.) restaurant D.) music studio E.) organic store F.) all of the above. The answer is obviously F. Very new to the area, EmKo is the perfect place for artists to come together and create their masterpieces, share a meal and explore the sculpture garden. The place is almost too cool, like the child of Art Basel and MoMa. Experience the place now, before everyone else catches on.
EmKo: 2119 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach
Related: Review of Jereve in EmKo: Where food is a work of art
Don’t let the outside fool you
Evernia Coffeehouse, may seem unsuspecting and typical from the outside, but inside it’s a little indie oasis. They’ve got classic coffee, fancy coffee, milkshakes, Marocchinos and Babychinos (What's that, you ask? Try it and find out!), teas, smoothies, organic wines and pastries galore. They also have open mic nights and book signings. Also with a colorful piano, bongos and guitars, there’s nothing stopping you from forming or joining a jam session!
Evernia Coffeehouse: 300 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach
Swede in the South
Sweden is known for many wonderful things: Volvos, IKEA, Alexander Skarsgard, Swedish Meatballs ... now we can also add Johan's Joe to the list. Now, I've never been to Sweden (it's on the bucket list, trust me), but I have a feeling that the food here is legit, because I couldn't pronounce some of the food items on the menu. In any case, the Swedish Meatball with Beet Salad is delicious, and I can never go back to normal pancakes after trying the Swedish ones here. The best part, the pastries ... mainly the ChocolateBiskvi. Bonus, free parking for customers.
Johan's Joe: 401 S. Dixie Highway, Ste 3, West Palm Beach
Related: New Swedish coffee shop serves bold brew in downtown West Palm Beach
The Italian marketplace
Carmine’s Gourmet Market
I’m sure most of us have heard of Carmine’s Italian Market, not only because it is a great place to shop, but because of the ads placed in our Wednesday paper. Sure you can shop there for a variety of cheeses (guilty) and buy a tiramisu cake that you don’t really need (guilty, again), but what you really need to do is go to the pizza counter. Their special deal - two slices of pizza and a drink for $5 - is where it’s at. The pizza makers are very friendly and will even give you a lesson or two in Italian. Once you get your pizza, take it down the road to one of the nearby beaches and enjoy. You can shop for the rest of your goodies another day.
Carmine's: 2401 PGA Blvd., Suite 172. Palm Beach Gardens
Fulfill some sort of adventure
Take your friends or significant other to this park for a day of fun and relaxation. Rent a bicycle and explore the many paths of the park. Find a quiet place to have a picnic with some prosciutto and goat cheese sandwiches and some sweet tea, and play your ukulele to the little forest animals. OK, so maybe it’s not the Enchanted Forest, but you get the idea. There are hiking trails, biking trails and even horseback riding trails (watch your step!). Unfortunately, camping is not allowed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a quick nap in a sunny field.
Riverbend Park: 9060 Indiantown Road, Jupiter
Skip the coffee chain
This little coffee joint has expanded, but the original location is still the cooler one. It’s quaint and homey, where you can see (better yet smell) the bags and bags of fresh coffee. There are not many places to sit, but you will make friends with those there. The only bad news is for Starbucks, because once you taste Oceana Coffee you may never go back to the chain again.
Oceana Coffee: 221 Old Dixie Highway, Tequesta
Hike, bike, ride, camp
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
JD, as it is more commonly referred to, is a huge state park, covering the majority of Hobe Sound. This place is perfect for the outdoorsmen (or outdoorswomen) hipsters who love the fresh air, camping, and taking photographs with their DSLR cameras. Take a daytime hike and see if you can spot some wildlife. Or bike along the trails and see how far into the park you can get. Go canoeing or kayaking or even fish. There is also a horse trail. My favorite part is when the sun goes down and everyone gathers around the campfire, plays the guitar and sings songs while looking up at the vast night sky. In the park, and pretty much the town in general, there aren’t many lights, so the sky really and truly seems endless. Just maybe wait for fall or winter to go; it is Florida after all. Oh, and beware of wild hogs and even mountain lions.
Jonathan Dickinson State Park: 16450 SE Federal Highway. Hobe Sound
Get lost in literature
Chuckles Favorite Things
While in the small town of Hobe Sound visit a hidden gem called Chuckles Favorite Things to explore its mystical combination of antiques and rare books. You may find a special tabletop item, a watercolor painting or even an armoire from the 1800s. But it’s the used books where dreams come true. Get lost (literally) in rooms of books — fiction, nonfiction, mysteries and westerns, travel, art, science, war, politics, sports, I could go on and on … Like any true used bookstore, finding the book you are looking for won’t come easy. Luckily the owners and others who work there, can find a book like magic. The best way to shop, is to go in there with no idea as to what you are looking for and spend the afternoon browsing. Best part? Books typically range from 95 cents to $10.
Chuckles Favorite Things: 9045 SE Bridge Road, Hobe Sound
Farm fresh fancy
This farm-to-table type restaurant is too cool to be randomly placed on an unsuspecting corner in Stuart. Inside is lit by candles or lights in mason jars hanging from the ceiling, while water is poured from old-fashioned milk jugs. With a monthly changing menu, you are sure to have something different every time you go. Try interesting dishes such as Blue Crab & Pimento Cheese Hushpuppies with Cajun Remoulade or Charred Octopus, Chick Pea Stew with Black Olive, Fennel, Red Pepper Harissa, Pork Phat Potato and Root Top Salsa Verde or maybe Pigs Ears are more your style?
The District: 900 SE Indian St., Stuart
Downtown by the docks
Downtown Stuart is our own little historic town. Not quite Charleston or Savannah, but it’s what we have, and we can work with it. Walking around the town, you can find many places to eat at like Osceola Street Café and Luna. And not one, but two chocolate factories even Charlie Bucket would be jealous of — Kilwin’s Chocolate & Ice Cream and Hoffman’s Chocolate.Once you have your gelato in hand, explore the rest of the downtown. Looking for art? Check out one of the four galleries. Once you’re done perusing the shops, galleries and bars, take a walk to the water. There’s a small park along the edge where you can watch the waves roll in or go take a stroll around the piers and boardwalks where you are bound to see street performers.
Where the cool kids go
Coffee Bar Blue Door
The Blue Door, as it’s more commonly called (well actually, it’s called something very different by those who frequent the joint, but we won’t get into that). Blue Door is a common place for edgy, twentysomethings to hang out day or not night, thanks to its long hours, sipping espresso or any type of alcohol you can think of on an outdoor courtyard garden. Live music, from guitar to accordions, fills the place almost every night. And even if there is no scheduled music, you can be sure that a jam circle will start by the locals.
Coffee Bar Blue Door: 38 SE Osceola St. Stuart
When there’s nothing on Netflix
The Lyric Theatre is not only a great place to see live plays and musicals, but to experience great indie films, documentaries and hard-to-find international films. Live shows happen often, but the movies are sometimes harder to come by depending on the season. Be sure to check the calendar before making your night’s plans.
Lyric Theatre: 59 SW Flagler Ave. Stuart
For a special night
Don’t be fooled by the hipsters’ plaid shirts, beanies and dark rimmed glasses ensemble — they know fine dining and they are willing to pay a pretty penny to be served a meal with matching vintage wines. Chef’s Table in Stuart is a cozy, two-room restaurant. It is simply decorated with wine bottles showcased all around. The quiet atmosphere is the perfect place to discuss hidden metaphors in Oscar Wilde’s writing or why The Smiths broke up over Ravioli Filet mignon, parmesan, beurre noisette and white truffle oil. If you’re feeling uber fancy, try their five-course Chef’s Tasting. Add a wine pairing of six-half glasses and reminisce that time you studied abroad in France.
Chef's Table: 2313 SE Ocean Blvd., Stuart