“Slawn-cha,” April says, pronouncing the pub’s name in slow, punchy syllables. “It’s Gaelic. It means 'cheers to good health'—” she stops abruptly, spying a familiar face behind the bar. “Let me let you talk to Clem. Don’t let his accent throw you. It’s thick—and he knows it!” The two scuffle a bit before he comes forward. “You were talking to an obnoxious lady, were you?” he says. “She’s better known as the princess. She drives me crazy.”
But April’s right. Clem's intonation is heavy with lilts, a nod to his Irish birthplace; it’s perfectly at home amid the thick-slatted wood floors, rustic stacked-stone walls, and wooden furniture all imported from Ireland. “There’s also live music five nights a week. And there’s the food,” he adds. “I’ve always been in the bar business, and these recipes are from top chefs in Ireland.” He’s especially proud of the fish 'n' chips. “Best in the county,” he says. “Made with cod and homemade beer batter—my family’s recipe.”
Clem goes on to explain that he met his partner at a St. Baldrick’s festival—an event dedicated to children fighting cancer. He throws out a startling statistic: “we’ve raised over $1,000,000 for the charity over the last four years.” With this humble side note, and with what he says next, it’s clear the earlier banter comes from a place of deep caring. “My favorite thing is the people I get to meet, everyone from firefighters to teachers. There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met yet.”
Palm Beach Smoothies’ baristas are known for shaking things up—both literally and figuratively. The colorful shop flouts tradition by blending fresh oranges and pineapples with such unconventional smoothie add-ons as Red Bull, green tea, applesauce, and cinnamon. Aside from fruit-based concoctions, the baristas whip up five varieties of smoothies with creamy almond milk and low-fat yogurt. When ordering an indulgent blend of graham crackers and marshmallows, guests can ask their barista to top off the s’more-style shake with whey protein, wheatgrass, or the fiber-packed pages of a campfire songbook. Each of the more than 25 smoothie varieties pairs nicely with the café’s grilled paninis, turkey wraps, and organic steel-cut oatmeal.
With its homey atmosphere and penchant for pub-style comfort food, The Living Room was already a destination for nights of relaxed revelry. With the opening of The Pub at The Living Room, that vibe just took on a decidedly English accent. Within this comfortable, no-frills pub, guests kick back the way they do in Merry England, munching on casual comfort food and knocking back pints of strong ales. If the rotating beer list is any indication, the owners here know a thing or two about brews; seasonal selection and year-round favorites from Founders, Blue Point, and Cigar City Brewing currently fill the tape lines.
The aroma of salt and butter fills Alco Capital Theaters in Boynton Beach. Manager Larry Forbes has worked in theaters for three decades, having started out projecting midnight rock flicks at a drive-in in Fort Lauderdale. He therefore balances a sentimental attachment to film with the practical aspects that make it good for business. "If there's a problem and you have a technician—which we do onsite all the time—you can fix it immediately," he points out. Although the majority of work is projected from film, the theater's eight screening rooms are not warehouses for nostalgia. Digital and Dolby 3-D projectors deliver sharp pictures and immersive experiences to stadiums of 1,500 lumbar-supportive seats, as digital speakers and ADA listening devices make eardrums quake.
During the winter, moviegoers prepare for the upcoming awards season with a full slate of Academy Award–nominated films. On some summer days 700–800 kids will flood the theater by 10 a.m. for adventure flicks and romantic comedies, and when things slow down in the fall, Forbes fires off notices of indie premieres and director Q&A sessions to members of the Movi-E Mail Club, who have chatted with director Susan Seidelman and burgeoning stars from The Palm Beach County Film & Television Institute. On federal holidays, the staff host a special matinee for students, and every Tuesday they pile free popcorn into reusable plastic buckets and vacant laps. The theater's dedication to its audience extends to special requests—Forbes remembers slipping a man's wedding-proposal video into the previews one night. Although he doesn't remember the film, Forbes does remember the woman's answer: she said yes.
Not many actors can say they've performed in a production directed by a 12-year-old, but Erin Coley has always had an instinctive sense of how to put on a show. Years later, she and her husband, J.R., founded Standing Ovation Performing Arts, assembling eight other experts in the field to encourage kids to get on the stage as early as possible. Improv comedy, puppetry, and playwriting help students express themselves while giving them the skills to deliver confident class presentations and rousing monologues on the futility of naptime.