Modern Caribbean Rum

Old and new favorites take home South Florida “Best of” awards

Last week’s special “Best of 2012” issue of Broward / Palm Beach New Times recognized many of the area’s coolest places to eat, drink and hang out after dark. Among the winners are several Atomic Grog favorites worth noting:

Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton
Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, December 2011)

“Best New Restaurant” and “Best Happy Hour” in Palm Beach County both went to Kapow! Noodle Bar in Boca Raton, which we reviewed in depth back in December. We loved the craft cocktails and small bites on the inventive menu and have been eager to return ever since. The latest recognition just gives us more reason to move it up on our bucket list.

New Times says the restaurant’s Mizner Park location “is flourishing, thanks in no small part to the challenging but accessible dishes streaming out of the kitchen during a slamming dinner hour and an aesthetic that is simultaneously trendy and unpretentious.” In Kapow’s second award, the alternative weekly praised the menu’s $3 bar bites menu: “These are treats — steamed buns, shishitou peppers, roasted cauliflower — that are well worth full price, drunk or sober. Add to that the cool tunes, hip décor, and energetic crowd and you’ve got a solution to the mystery of how to build a happy hour that doesn’t compromise standards.”

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Minimalist Tiki

Art shows bring to life the golden age of hip

Updated March 31, 2012

Two art shows on the opposite ends of South Florida offer not only the sights but also a glimpse into the sounds and tastes of a bygone era when style and cool ruled our culture.

These exhibits won’t be around long, however, so catch them now if you can:

Cocktail Culture at the Norton Museum of Art

Tucked into the large ground-floor gallery used for rotating exhibits at the upscale Norton Museum in downtown West Palm Beach is a somewhat unlikely sight. Just one floor below priceless artifacts from ancient China and two floors below the paintings of European masters is a motley assortment of relics of 20th century excess: silver cocktail shakers and champagne buckets, vintage jewelry, and glamorous cocktail dresses and shoes.

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The highball goes highbrow at Norton Museum exhibit

It’s a good sign that the blossoming interest in mixology and cocktail culture is reaching mass appeal when exhibits pop up at acclaimed art galleries. One such gallery, the Norton Museum in West Palm Beach, is taking a highbrow approach to an intoxicating topic with a fine art exhibit that premieres tomorrow (Dec. 15) and runs through March 11.

Summer Cocktail Party with English Butler, 1961. Watercolor, gouache, ink on paper by Larry Salk.
Summer Cocktail Party with English Butler, 1961. Watercolor, gouache, ink on paper by Larry Salk.

Titled simply Cocktail Culture, it’s one of the first multi-disciplinary exhibitions to explore the social rituals of the cocktail hour through the lens of fashion and design. It features more than 150 objects, including attire, accessories, ads, decorative arts, illustrations, photography and more from the 1920s to the present.

The show is like a travelogue through decades of cocktail history, from the 1920s jazz age to today. Each decade features a different cocktail (the Flapper, the Prohibition, etc.), plus period clothing, objects and accessories. Also included are advertising illustrations and movie clips.

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