THE PALM BEACH SCENE
Byline: Anita Finkelstein
Palm Beach, Fla. — This private, upscale enclave isn’t quite as stuffy as it seems to be. Maybe Jimmy Buffet’s arrival two years ago helped the situation, and Rod Stewart and Rachael Hunter’s appearance this year certainly hasn’t hurt.
Or it could be the newest generation of Palm Beachers are waking up the place.
Whatever the reason is, there are actually places to be seen, people to talk about and must-have items to own.
Here, a roundup of what’s hot in Palm Beach right now.
Centennial Bar. Think jazz, smoke, rich leather and old money. That’s the idea behind The Cigar Bar, the newest space to lie low and take in life’s pleasures. Hidden on the ground floor of the four-diamond Centennial Dining Salon on the grounds of the Breakers Hotel, this is where to go for Macanudos, Partagas and Davidoffs, as well as a selection of wines, champagnes, cognacs and ports.
Sit in one of the leather wingback chairs and talk business, or amuse yourself with a game of chess or backgammon. Just keep in mind that it isn’t 1920 and the cigar prices start at $8 and go up to $20.
Galaxy Grille. The Galaxy Grille is the absolute place to be seen this season. Owned by the same pair who run the hip, trendy Italian restaurant Amici in town, their new space on South Country Road is just as hot. The bar is the best place to survey the crowd, but do check out the menu. The owners call it “Global New World” cuisine, which means fresh fish dressed with sweet chili ginger sauce, Grand Marnier mandarin basil sauce or tequila lime marinade.
After 11 p.m., a piano bar atmosphere takes over, and customers nibble on stone crab and smoked salmon bites. Claim you are going for drinks or dinner, then spend the time people-watching and figuring out who’s who in the world of Palm Beach.
Art de Tico. We’re not quite sure how Tico Torres, the artist/drummer of Bon Jovi, ended up with his own gallery, Art de Tico, in Palm Beach. Though it all started with a piece of art called Deja Vu, which he gave to Donald Trump, who hung it in the grand ballroom of his Mar-a-Lago country club.
The Cuban-born Torres’s paintings are bold, colorful and inspired by his travels with the band. His five-month-old gallery, housed in the Esplanade shopping center, has made just about everyone in town curious. Prices average $3,000 to $5,000, and if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of his new bride and Wonderbra’s cover girl, Eva Herzigova, checking things at the store.
Kieselstein-Cord. Designer Barry Kieselstein-Cord has created an incredibly refined and elegant setting to show off his handbag, jewelry and small leather goods collections.
Designed by Christopher Barricale, the year-old, 1,500-square-foot shop in the Esplanade shopping center is the only freestanding Kieselstein-Cord boutique. Right now, everyone in town is buying up the popular alligator-clasped Tiny Trophy bag in hot new summer colors, including butter, olive and bone, or they’re toting around the new Ischia bag in red, coral, navy or sable leather, with a golden frog perched on top.
Stop by and admire the attention to detail, or, if you’re feeling decadent, one of the trendy bags can be had for a mere $1,500 — and up.
Deborah Koepper Salon. Deborah Koepper may be the new kid on the block, but her three-year-old salon’s special services — like aromatherapy manicures, foot massages and glycolic facials — are luring even PB’s Old Guard. Deborah’s an esthetician who knows every new trend in the business.
“The clients here are worldly and educated, you have to know about Cellex-C and have it in stock before they come in and ask for it,” she said.
The bright, well-lit second-story salon on Sunset Avenue is a perfect place to spend an hour or two getting pampered. Try the aromatherapy hand mask/manicure for $21, or the reflexology foot massage/pedicure for $51.
A facial by Deborah starts at $85.
C. Orrico. “Women just come, eat lunch, shop and hang out here,” said Colleen Orrico, of C. Orrico, the women’s clothing shop she owns with sisters Cathy and Casey.
The 12-year-old, 2,000-foot-square shop got a jolt of notoriety last year when it staged the first fashion show for the reborn Lily Pulitzer collection. Now, half of the shop is dedicated exclusively to Lily’s bright print dresses, capri pants and shirts.
The other half mixes lines like Nicole Miller, Jill Stuart, Trina Turk and BCBG. Prices range from $100 to $250, making it a perfect spot for a quick fashion fix. If it ends up as a big shopping spree, the girls have a nice big TV on the premises to keep any male companions happy.
Acquario. One of the newest restaurants in town, Acquario works double-time as a Ladies Who Lunch spot and power dining place. The indoor space is elegant, warm, a touch romantic and reserved for serious eating. During the day, most of the customers can be found in the adjoining Gallery Cafe 9, which offers covered outdoor seating and a great view of the strolling shoppers in the Esplanade.
Italian-born Theo Schoenegger, the chef and a partner in the restaurant, is known for his mix of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. He focuses on fresh, light, flavorful dishes and shys away from heavy sauces.
Try the gnocchi with wild mushrooms in white truffle oil or the lobster salad with thyme potatoes, artichoke hearts and lemon dressing.
Friday evenings, there’s live music to listen to while you linger over one of their refreshing gelatos.
NOT TO BE MISSED:
Martinis at Beebe’s Tavern on Royal Palm Way. Ask for owner Jerry Beebe; he’ll make sure you are taken care of.
The wonderful cashmere collection at Manrico, in the Esplanade. It’s one of the few places to find pure white cashmere.
The selection of sunglasses at Couture Optique, also in the Esplanade. The owner, Barry Franzblau, made all of Barbra Streisand’s shades for “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”
A coffee and dessert break at Caffe Spagnuolo’s. Bring a dog, sit outside and relax.
A leisurely stroll down Worth Avenue. You can window-shop on the most expensive strip of property on the East Coast, but it’s more fun to watch the people.