Get Your Pride On:
Arts & Culture Abound for LGBTQ Community

by Rob Lucarelli

 

Beige. That was my first impression of South Florida when I moved here six-and-a-half years ago. But over time, I’ve discovered a kaleidoscope of arts and culture, especially in Palm Beach County. Here I’ve highlighted the best through my own quirky LGBTQ lens.

 

Where to Hang – Clematis 500 Block

Clematis Street is the bustling center of downtown West Palm Beach. Tables line the sidewalks filled with diners enjoying its trendy restaurants and make for great people-watching.

While all of Clematis Street is LGBTQ friendly, I find the 500-block exudes the gayest aesthetic. Recently, the block welcomed Lucky’s Gay Bar. This small, friendly pub opened in spring 2024 filling the void left since 2020 when fire destroyed Roosters, West Palm’s long-time historic gay bar. Although Roosters is due to reopen, Lucky’s is West Palm’s current flagship queer watering hole. I was thrilled to learn that on Fridays and Saturdays, the bar becomes Club Lucky’s with a DJ spinning high energy dance mixes between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. When I recently checked it out, the crowd was a decent mix of ages, and as the night went on it skewed younger.

Surrounding Lucky’s are eclectic spots to either peruse or grab a bite to eat before clubbing. Hullabaloo features Italian fare, cocktails, and brews, along with a vintage Airstream camper on its patio! As a music fan, I love their slate of specialty cocktails with clever names honoring rock stars both past and present. Kapow Asian Noodle Bar offers small plates, ramen, and cocktails. If you just want to sit and chill, or read, Subculture Coffee is a hip spot for craft coffee drinks, beer, and wine with light breakfast and lunch fare.

 

The Peach on Georgia Ave: A Unique Creative Space

The Peach packs a punch as Palm Beach County’s newest art collective. Located on Georgia Ave, a semi-industrial corridor, adjacent to railroad tracks, this rustic artists’ enclave offers six studio spaces, galleries, and performance areas.

Home to a variety of artists and creatives, The Peach hosts monthly events, classes, and workshops. For example, the first Saturday of the month features an evening Art Walk with live music, local vendors, with both artists working and with their work on display. New restaurant El Segundo is located on site, serving up its unique fusion of street tacos and Texas barbecue, in a fun and funky 1970s carriage house. Definitely try the brisket burnt ends taco!

 

Everyone Needs A Little Drama

Live theatre holds a special place in my heart. I started my career at The Cleveland Play House, America’s first regional, professional theatre. The regional theatre movement gained momentum in the 1960s. Today, you’re bound to find one in most major U.S. metropolitan areas. Typically, nonprofit, and mission-driven, these theatres produce a season of plays relevant to its community, while also nurturing and developing new work. Palm Beach Dramaworks is West Palm’s regional theatre and will celebrate its 25th Anniversary during the 2024-2025 season.

Located on the eastern edge of Clematis Street, Dramaworks is committed to “producing classic, contemporary, and world premiere plays that entertain, enlighten, stimulate discussion, and illuminate our shared humanity,” according to its website. The performance space is intimate which means you’re never far from the action on stage. Dedicated to a welcoming and inclusive environment, the theatre hosts Outstage performances on Fridays, where the LGBTQ community can gather and enjoy receptions pre- and post-show. Given its prime location on Clematis, the theatre is convenient to several restaurants, cafes, and eateries. In addition, it’s only a short walk from the intracoastal water way, perfect for a night-time stroll to ponder and discuss the play you just experienced.

maltz jupiter theatreIf you’re interested in slightly lighter fare, check out the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Originally the Burt Reynolds Dinner Theatre, the Maltz has completely transformed itself over the last 25 years into a large non-profit regional professional theatre, producing both classic and contemporary Broadway musicals, in addition to comedies and reviews. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Andrew Kato, the Maltz has expanded its commitment to developing and workshopping new musicals and plays, and its Goldner Conservatory houses a robust performing arts education program for all ages.

 

Art After Dark at The Norton Museum

Located on the southern edge of downtown West Palm Beach, the Norton Museum of Art boasts a collection of more than 8,200 works in five curatorial departments: European, American, Chinese, Contemporary, and Photography.  Founded in 1941, the museum recently expanded its footprint with 12,000 square feet of new gallery space, classrooms, a state-of-the-art auditorium, plus a new store, restaurant, and great hall.

Art After Dark is the crown jewel of the museum’s community programs, transforming it into a vibrant social scene from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For $10, you can join docent-led tours, create your own art, and enjoy music live or curated by a local DJ. Boasting a new experience each Friday, the evening can also film screenings, along with talkback discussions. First Fridays feature jazz, and on third Fridays local artists give informal talks discussing the Norton’s collection. The June 21st edition of Art After Dark will celebrate Pride Month.

 

An appealing array of arts and cultural opportunities await LGBTQ visitors to Palm Beach County. Now get your Pride on!