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Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post

New craft cocktail speakeasy and restaurant coming to Lake Worth

Customers needed to use a password and look through a peephole to get past the doorman and to prove they weren’t Feds at those hopping joints.

Well, the country has changed a lot since the 1920s. Liquor is now legal, but speakeasies, quite interestingly, still exist.

A new one will be opening next month in downtown Lake Worth on Lucerne Avenue in the 10,500-square-foot space formerly occupied by The Cottage, the old bar and restaurant.

C.W.S., a craft cocktail bar and full-service restaurant, is an offshoot of Stache, a craft cocktail bar in Fort Lauderdale, and will feature an inside whiskey den and an outdoor beer garden.

“We’re trying to create a lifestyle in Palm Beach County,” said Jeff John, owner and managing partner. “This city is ripe for development.”

The inside bar will showcase a variety of spirits with an emphasis on bourbons and whiskeys. Look for a few signature drinks, including the Lucerne Sizzle, which boasts aged rum, brandy and mint leaves.

The outdoor beer garden will have a tented bar featuring 28 imported craft beers, Oktoberfest-style picnic tables, a gaming area (pingpong, a putting hole) and multiple flat-screen TVs.

The menu will have everything from smoked bone marrow to burgers. Panther coffee will be served daily starting at 7 a.m., when customers can order muffins or a croissant sandwich.

The early hour suits John, who will run C.W.S. with his partner Brian Freed, just fine.

“I don’t make money when my doors are closed,” he said.

There’s a garden nestled in the back of the property that will be used for a swanky 10-seat chef’s table for wine tastings, product launches and other special events, John said.

As for music, look for a mixture between bands and DJs. There could be a steel drum band playing outside and a saxophonist inside.

“I’m not going to be blowing out rock bands and trying to disrupt the community,” John said. “It’ll be light and fun.”

The space was remolded to look more speakeasy-ish, meaning it’s now decked out with bricks, wood and a lot of dark colors — reds, grays and brown.

“Remember, the old speakeasies weren’t supposed to be seen,” John said.

John is no stranger to the bar/restaurant business.

John and Freed own 3-J Hospitality, the company behind such venues as Revolution Live, America’s Backyard and Stache, all in Broward County.

C.W.S. is the company’s first Palm Beach County business. John said he’s excited about working in downtown Lake Worth, an area known for its funky vibe, vast number of restaurants and cool nightlife.

“Lake Worth is going to be the next hot spot in South Florida,” John said. “It’s the last undeveloped pocket from Miami to Jupiter.”

John said he wants C.W.S to entrench itself in the community by hosting art events, music events and the occasional weekend roast in its 5,000-square-foot parking lot. “We want to be more than just a bar,” he said.

John won’t say how much it’s costing to open C.W.S., only hinting it’s six-figures. “I’m spending what I need to to make this concept work and be vibrant,” he said. “It’s not cheap.”

C.W.S. will seat up to 150 people — 80 outside, 70 inside. The bar’s name comes from Charles William Stache, a fictional character created by John who in the early 1900s was an entrepreneur, world traveler and smuggler.

“The goal is to open a line of these bars based on this character,” John said.

[Read original feature here]

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