Gazing longingly at the mega mansions in Palm Beach used to be my pastime when I was a kid. The undeniable history, charm, and romance of some of the island’s cobblestone streets had a way of winning me over as I rode my bike through the maritime neighborhoods—beautiful homes, waterfront hotels, restaurants, and high-end boutiques.
For me, the shift in focus happened in the late 90s, when West Palm Beach downtown underwent drastic renovations and local businesses like the Monkey Club—a tropical-themed club located in the former JC Penney building and owned by local nightclub impresario Cleve Mash—helped resuscitate the city. In less than a decade, what was once an eyesore of old buildings and disused storefronts, today this trending area has people gravitating to it, mainly clamoring for Rosemary Square and…Clematis Street. In my view, the epicenter of the thriving and vibrant 561-area code.
And on the most popular block of Clematis street, people are still riding the after-buzz of Clematis Social’s debut last May. You have to give it to Mash—the place is striking. The building, formerly known as Pawn Shop [also owned by Mash], has transformed the 200 blocks, demanding attention to its towering, three-story dark façade.
It’s really at night when Clematis Social comes alive, as Amanda Valdes’ beautiful mural of Clematis flowers twisted up in a green vine illuminates the nightclub into a cool place where locals, celebrities, and tourists alike go to have fun. And going by today’s growing lifestyle trend, fun is measured by finding a place that’s a bit more organic, where dancing is not the focal point.
While a younger crowd admittedly frequents Wynwood, Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale, and Delray’s Atlantic Avenue late-night bars and stylish clubs, in West Palm Beach, mingling and entertaining with a pool table or ping pong table game, or watching music videos by their favorite artists or catching a main sporting event on the big screen TVs, is becoming the next cool thing. Clematis Social may be the beginning of a new trend.
Creativity. Freedom of thought. A new experience.
For Mash, the visionary behind some of the most successful and longest-running nightlife ventures in South Florida, back then on Clematis Street the scene was more of patio bars, club safari, Key West café type of places. Now you see this evolution, where the downtown is growing with hotels, condos, businesses, and apartments filled with people of all ages craving for a better nightlife scene.
“We saw the evolution happening and rebranded accordingly,” said Mash, who didn’t change the club name from Pawn Shop to Clematis Social because it wasn’t doing well, but because the street called for a change. “We have always been everybody’s bar every day and are excited about this next chapter.”
I applaud Mash’s decision. Scope out the street and give the people what they want. What they want is a new, elevated nighttime experience.
The club hits its stride around midnight. There is a good mix of locals and people from all corners in South Florida for fun and entertainment. Expect a mixed batch of music that jumps from throwbacks to global hits, keeping things interesting with an eclectic, friendly lineup of regular DJs. A menu of fancy bar snacks and cocktails will help transition from evening to night. And for Instagram-savvy clubgoers, the most obvious draw is its murals and a psychedelic bus.
There are plenty of reasons everyone’s been “ending up” at Clematis Social these days. #iykyk 💥
If you visit, the buzzing, funky Clematis Social is at 219 Clematis St. Open Thursday through Sunday from 9 pm to 3 am. Online at clematissocialwpb.com
Clematis Social heating up Downtown nightlife social scene