Clematis Street rides a new wave with the opening of Longboards

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Related: Surf’s up: The story behind Longboards

Longboards was hopping during its grand opening party.

Longboards was hopping during its grand opening party.

Even on-and-off rains throughout the night couldn’t douse the good vibrations permeating the 500 block of Clematis Street on Saturday night during the grand opening party for the surf-themed Longboards restaurant and raw bar.

Longboards was packed to the gills all night as the free food and drinks flowed from this cool raw bar and restaurant that took over the dormant space formerly occupied by Ray’s Downtown. The surf theme was carried through with great effect, from the dozens of surfboards gracing the walls and ceilings, to the surf videos on TVs and a big screen, to the “beach” area on the back patio shared with the neighboring Lounge (we can’t wait to see what’s to become of the “VIP” trailer).

The Surfaris headlined the main stage to cap the evening. (Photo by Mike Jones)

The Surfaris headlined the main stage to cap the evening. (Photo by Mike Jones)

Needless to say, the place was swamped on its opening night, so we’ll wait until a later date for a full food and drink review. But the menus definitely look promising (we’ve posted the drink menus in the gallery below). The excellent retro theming, gastropub quality food and drinks, and laid-back atmosphere are exactly what west Clematis Street needs right now to keep the hordes from gravitating east.

The block party was a well-designed, multi-generational affair with high-energy skateboard demonstations on a huge half pipe for the kids (or kids at heart) and a classic car show for the older folks. Live entertainment on the main stage also ran the gamut, with young Miami garage band Jacuzzi Boys drawing a big mid-evening crowd. Legendary surf band The Surfaris (featuring original guitarist Bob Berryhill, his wife and two sons) were hampered by a late deluge of rain but finally went on around midnight and cranked out the classics to an appreciative crowed who stuck around.

Longboards grand opening block party
(Photos by Jim Hayward unless noted)

(Click on thumbnails to see larger images or to view as slideshow)

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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