An urban oasis in downtown West Palm

The Backyard delights with zingy cocktails and chef-fashioned bites


The bar: The Backyard Bar at the Palm Beach Hibiscus bed and breakfast in West Palm Beach

The scene: “Chill” is not the most usual word used to describe the Rosemary Avenue area around CityPlace, between the retail craziness and the revelers down the way on Clematis Street. But step into the shaded courtyard behind the charming Victorian-style bed and breakfast, the Palm Beach Hibiscus, and find a covered outdoor bar just up a wooden walkway, and below, a relaxing backyard paradise that seems miles away from the nearest blowout sale and urban bustle. The crowd might be locals, guests at the B&B or hungry and thirsty folks drawn by events like the place’s wine dinner or other events.

The drink: The Hummer ($12), prominently featuring a strikingly fragrant liqueur called Hum, made from hibiscus and ginger root. Sommelier and co-owner Melanie Robertson-Ober says succinctly that you “either love it or you hate it.” We happen to love it, the way the Hum, the lavender, Champagne and citrus notes punch you fragrantly in the face. Also, it’s gorgeous.

Other noteworthy libations: The St. Germain Cocktail ($11) with its fancy Champagne, as well as an impressive collection of wine and beer. We also like that even the water’s special, designated as either “silent” or “loud.”

Best bites: Hands down, the most delicious thing we sampled during our visit were the Herbed Feta Cigars with sun-dried tomato dip ($9.50). The feta is wrapped seductively into delicate phyllo dough and baked till crispy. You will never look at a run-of-the-mill cheese stick again. In fact, you will be mad at cheese sticks and disown them. They will be dead to you.

Other bar bites: Ober’s husband, Michael “Cheffee” Ober, is a European-trained master chef from Germany. His roots are evident in a lot of the Backyard’s offerings, including the Schnitzel Fingers, the Baby Back Ribs and the unique Thai Shrimp Cakes ($9.50 each).

Deals: The Backyard’s Happy Hour goes from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, featuring $3 sangria, $3 well drinks, $3.50 imports and a $5 food menu.

Info: The Backyard Bar, 213 S. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach; 561-339-2444



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