Weekend things to do: 10 wine date nights and a bounce house for grownups in Boca Raton

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jan 22, 2022 3:14 PM

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There is nothing like a glass of good wine to set the tone for an evening and make me even more charismatic, possibly better looking, depending on how much my wife has had. It is in that spirit that I am sharing these ideas and opportunities for a date night with wine help. Your results may vary.

  • Taking over the sand in the 500 block of North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard Friday-Sunday, Seaglass: The Fort Lauderdale Rosé Experience brings a stylish crowd and bottles from dozens of winemakers to Fort Lauderdale beach. This edition features a larger tent, more chefs, spirits, craft beer and more music, led by the great Yacht Rock Revue 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Tickets cost $99. Visit SeaglassExperience.com.
  • When onetime Sun Sentinel restaurant reviewer Mike Mayo called the Wine Room Kitchen & Bar in Delray Beacha glorious, grown-up playground,” his primary focus was its broad selection of 400 wines and 80 cheeses, “gorgeous charcuterie-and-cheese boards” and the “simple yet refined fare” produced in the kitchen. But it also has an abundance of atmosphere, critical to any date night. Beyond the expansive dining room and the sidewalk seating (at 411 E. Atlantic Ave.), there is the hidden dining room (just seven tables), the sepulchered display of bottles in the Rare Room, and the intimate, wood-paneled glory of the Speakeasy, so called because it was once an actual speakeasy. There are cocktails in the Speakeasy, of course, but wine by the glass is a co-star. Visit TheWineRoomDelray.com.

The Speakeasy at the Wine Room Kitchen & Bar in Delray Beach was once an actual illegal drinking spot.

The Speakeasy at the Wine Room Kitchen & Bar in Delray Beach was once an actual illegal drinking spot. (Mike Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • Tim Graham and Tracy Pell opened Small Wine Shop in a boutique storefront in Flagler Village (410 N. Andrews Ave.) in 2020 with their sights set on neighborly engagement in addition to commerce. Along with a wide and thoughtful variety of natural and organic wine, they are known for things like BYOV (bring your own vinyl) 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, with old records playing and 10% off bottles, and Sunday School, a casual series of classes about wine. This Sunday, from noon to 1:30 p.m., it’s Bordeaux Part 1, a tasting of six wines and light bites ($45). Looking ahead to Valentine’s Day, Small Wine Shop will bring the drinks around to corner to IS Projects for Drink & Ink Date Night, an evening of wine tasting and a shibori dyeing lesson. Visit Facebook.com/smallwineshop.

Nicolas Riveira and David Lopez at Sidewalk Bottle Shop in the Progresso neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale.

Nicolas Riveira and David Lopez at Sidewalk Bottle Shop in the Progresso neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. (Susan Stocker / South Florida Sun Sentinel)

  • I’m always looking for places to take friends that makes it look like I know what I’m doing. Such a place is downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Sidewalk Bottle Shop, opened last fall by 30-something locals David Lopez and Nicolas Riveira in the interior wedge of that 100-year-old L-shaped building that includes the bar Laser Wolf. Along with the hidden-in-plain-sight vibe, there’s a good selection of organic wine, a sofa inside and a little patio outside. Visit Instagram.com/sidewalk.bottleshop.
  • Around the corner from Sidewalk Bottle Shop, the cavern-like Wine Watch (839 NE Third Ave.) is a mecca for serious wine enthusiasts, where proprietor Andy Lampasone is unconcerned about conventional marketing — his shop is covered in wine-crate labels, but no sign. Lampasone’s invitations to weekly tasting events are legendary explorations of pop-culture esoterica: Friday night’s spotlight on burgundy from 1978 and 1979 comes with tips on movies to enjoy them with, from “Taxi Driver” to “Apocalypse Now.” Visit WineWatch.com.
  • Tucked into the corner of a Wilton Manors strip center that also includes Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers, The Best Cellar (1408 NE 26th St.) and owner Richard Stetler have been hosting wine tasting events for nearly 25 years. Stetler is a serious connoisseur who can probably spell “oenophile,” but he serves the knowledge he imparts with a dry, irreverent wit that is quite delicious. Tastings are at 7 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $20, which can be offset by wine purchases. I’d recommend going with a group. Visit Beaconmgmt.com/rsfwt.
  • I regret the amount of time that has passed since my last visit to the Blind Monk in downtown West Palm Beach (410 Evernia St.), but I’m sure its cosmopolitan blend of wine, cheese and small plates, all presented in atmosphere of unselfconscious sophistication, has endured without my help. Especially if there is live music, this is another date spot that will make you (me) look smarter and more cultured than you (I) may be. Visit TheBlindMonk.com.
  • Located in the direct heat of Fort Lauderdale’s tourist thoroughfare, it’s hard to believe that Vino’s on Las Olas has stayed so cool. With a variety of environments — under the arches outside, in the Napoleon Room, the semi-exclusive Wine Room or the Sidecar II Speakeasy (entrance out back, call 855-BRAMBLE for the door code) — there is a place for you. Visit Facebook.com/vinosonlasolas.
  • Miami Heat icon Shane Battier and wife Heidi are bringing back the fundraiser Cabernet with Battier on Saturday, Jan. 29, at Byblos Miami. The fundraiser for the nonprofit Battier Take Charge Foundation will include a tasting featuring eight Napa Valley vineyards, other rare wines and champagnes, and dinner pairings. Of course, the event closes with a karaoke-themed after party, typically a setting for performances by Battier’s celebrity friends from sports and entertainment. Single tickets cost $1,000, tables $10,000-$20,000. Visit BattierTakeCharge.org.

Weekend movie: The Gateway Cinema in Fort Lauderdale on Friday begins screenings of Pedro Almodovar’s well-reviewed “Parallel Mothers,” another splendid showcase for Penelope Cruz. To make room for the film, “West Side Story” (a “dazzling display of filmmaking craft” from Steven Spielberg, says the New York Times’ A.O. Scott) moves to Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood (which could use your business). Visit FLIFF.com for showtimes. Of course, Coral Gables Art Cinema continues its weeks-long celebration of Pedro Almodovar pegged to “Parallel Mothers,” which will be joined by a 9 p.m. Saturday showing of the iconic “All About My Mother.” Visit GablesCinema.com.

Get bounced: The “Guinness-certified” (apparently not the beer) World’s Largest Bounce House returns to Boca Raton this weekend in all its 13,000-square-foot glory as the Big Bounce America 2022 tour hits Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park Friday-Sunday. The tour also includes three other inflatable environments: Sport Slam, the space-themed airSPACE and the 900-foot obstacle course named The Giant. Tickets cost $39 for three hours; separate sessions for ages 15 and younger and 7 and younger cost $29; ages 3 and younger (with caregiver) are $19. Looking ahead, the tour will be at Miramar Regional Park Jan. 28-30 and Feb. 4-6. Visit TheBigBounceAmerica.com.

Last seen in South Florida in 2019, the world's largest bounce house returns to Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton Frday-Sunday, Jan. 21-23.

Last seen in South Florida in 2019, the world’s largest bounce house returns to Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton Frday-Sunday, Jan. 21-23. (Jennifer Lett / Sun Sentinel)

Weekend burger: There are only two places in the world where you can get the Messi Burger (as in Lionel): the Hard Rock Café at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and the restaurant in Miami. Through the end of the month both restaurants are part of a pilot program for the burger, part of Hard Rock International’s Live Greatness campaign in partnership with the soccer legend. Set to be released globally on March 1, the Messi Burger includes two ground beef patties topped by sliced chorizo, provolone cheese, caramelized red onion and Hard Rock’s signature sauce, with lettuce and tomato on a toasted brioche bun. Cost: $11.95. A side of fries is $3.95. Visit HardRockCafe.com.

Rooftop sound garden: Beach House Pompano will revive its popular ‘90s Party 7-11 p.m. Saturday, with DJ Misha spinning all your favorite pre-Pandora hits on the rooftop overlooking the pier. You know who you are. Visit Facebook.com/pompanobeachhouse.

Open house: Art Walk returns on Saturday to Boynton Beach Art District, the intimate creative enclave in warehouses along the 400 block of West Industrial Avenue. If you are looking for something different and off the beaten track, this is it. Says artist Rolando Chang Barrero, who organized the art walks more than a decade ago: “We are like a David among Goliaths of outdoor events.” Happening from 6 to 9 p.m., this month’s open-studio event includes a DJ, children’s tent and a vintage motorcycle display. Visit BoyntonBeachArtDistrict.com.

Shop talk: The Flamingo Flea returns to Tarpon River Brewing in Fort Lauderdale noon-4 p.m. Sunday. You know the drill: Cool crowd, 40 vendors (curated by Carley Sumner), live music (singer songwriters Christopher Luv and Kyle Rodriguez), food and beer. What more do you need? Visit Facebook.com/theflamingoflea. On a related note, the pop-up market called La Zoola was postponed by bad weather last Sunday at Riverside Market South and will now take place 1-4 p.m. Jan. 30 at the same spot. Visit Instagram.com/lazoola_popupmarket.

Take the kids: Florida Flow Fest is a colorful union of yoga, dance and other movement disciplines with circus arts — yes, acrobatics, juggling, hula hoops, slackline — both as workshops and performances, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday at downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Esplanade Park, on the New River across from the Museum of Discovery & Science. The day will include live music and vendors offering everything from yoga wear to toys. Admission is free, but workshops cost $60. Visit FlowFests.com.

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