Summer Fridays at Galley in the New Hilton West Palm Beach

Summer Fridays at Galley: Fire Pits, Grilled Tapas and Mai Tais | By Sandra Schulman WPB Magazine arts & entertainment writer, music and film producer.

Mai Tai at Summer Fridays at Galley
Mai Tai
Summer Fridays: Mai Tai at Summer Fridays at Galley
Mai Tai

After a long hard working week, my girl Squad needed a night out, so when we were invited to check out the new Summer Fridays at Galley at the brand spanking new Hilton West Palm Beach, we gleefully accepted the offer.

Outdoor courtyard on a balmy night? Check. Live jazz from the Javier Garcia Band with fun, upbeat reggae tunes? Check. Craft cocktails with some imaginative kicky ingredients? Check. Food on the grill from chef Chef Miguel Santiago? Check.

The Squad – me, artist Maureen, makeup artist Linda, and author/rock royalty Vera – took advantage of the free valet parking and strolled through the gorgeous, soaring lobby of the new hotel. The design is great, very earthy and luxurious. There’s a beautiful cascading glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling and a large aerial beach scene photo in the hallway leading to the Galley restaurant and bar. The Galley has a nautical theme with some glass buoys, a seating area with couches and a long bar.

We settled in at a table outside while the sun was setting and ordered up some drinks. The “Kraft & Infused” menu has a couple of fun concoctions including the WPB Mule with Indian River Grapefruit infused vodka, fresh lime and ginger; Bathtub Gin has fresh lemon, gin, elderflower, rosemary and cucumber; while the Bees Knees goes for a sweet buzz with vanilla and apple infused bourbon, Amaretto, lemon and agave. I opted for a Speakeasy with jalapeno infused tequila, blood orange, fresh lime, agave and ginger beer. Served with a lime and jalapeno pepper slice speared together, this drink had the spicy kick I was hoping for, refreshing and tangy and strong.

Summer Fridays: Chef Santiago works his grill magic
Chef Santiago works his grill magic

Vera had a Mai Tai that came with a little purple orchid, so pretty and fun she had two. Maureen tried the Mule. There are also “Zero Proof” selections that mix up fresh fruit juices like the Giggle Juice with cranberry, pina, and lime.

By now the band had started, the Javier Garcia band is a high energy, reggae tinged trio that did fantastic takes on everything from Bob Marley standards to Rolling Stone covers. Some local kids joined in on maracas and they mercifully were not too loud so we could enjoy the music but also talk at the table.

It was getting dark so the Galley cranked up the fire pit. You don’t see many fire pits at bars in Florida but they are a staple in Long Island and in California where nights get colder. This large rectangular rock filled pit has a glass wall around it so we didn’t feel the heat, something really not needed on an 80-degree night, but it was beautiful to look at with the black rocks and flickering flames.

While waiting on some food and finishing up the drinks, me and Vera took a stroll around the new pool. With an interesting cross shaped design, the pool has infinity edges and a shallower sloping edge for those who need to ease into things. A waterfall at one end and some cozy cabanas, lots of palm trees and beautiful lighting made for a magical setting. Two days later I was at the Hilton on Singer Island, which is on the ocean but the older ordinary rectangular pool and round little kiddie pool doesn’t compare to the style and beauty of this new one.

Back at the table the Squad was hungry and ready to eat. We had ordered a lot of small tapas plates to share and taste a bit of (almost) everything. The grilled garlic Shrimp a la Plancha with lots of herbs was delicious, as was the Charred Cauliflower garnished with cornichons, onion and lemon oil, but the real standout fave of the Squad was the Grilled Octopus with fingerling potatoes. Purple in color and about 8-inches long, this exotic tentacle dish is miles away from your average bar calamari. So good we ordered another one.

We also liked the deli take on Reuben Spring Rolls stuffed with corned beef and served with a Russian dressing dipping sauce. Sated with food and grooving to the reggae music, this is one Summer Friday the Squad plans on hanging out at until the fall. It does look like the newest hotspot to enjoy outdoor live music in West Palm Beach.

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