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Disclosure: I was invited to dine as a guest of CWS Bar & Kitchen and received a complimentary meal in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
If you like a stiff drink and a half speakeasy, half backyard BBQ kind of atmosphere, CWS Bar & Kitchen will quickly become one of your favorite spots.
This Downtown Lake Worth restaurant and bar is well known for its craft cocktails, having received the 2018 award for one of America’s Best Bourbon Bars from The Bourbon Review — but there’s way more to this place than dark liquor.
Inside, guests are introduced to cozy seating areas with leather chairs and fireplaces and a large bar where mixologists do their thing crafting up some seriously creative drinks. Outside, there is a more playful vibe. There are 28 craft beers on tap, and plenty more in cans and bottles. Large groups can gather around the communal tables and enjoy themselves by playing one of the many games available, and there’s even a large TV wall perfect for watching a game.
Whether you want a more intimate experience, or are looking for a more fun place to bring your friends, CWS has you covered either way — and they’ve got your back when it comes to good food too.
CWS recently launched a brand new menu, featuring vegan-friendly options like a falafel wrap and the Impossible Burger. But I wasn’t really feelin’ the vegan thing when Roger and I visited CWS for dinner — the pork belly, shrimp and steak were calling my name!
You are not going to want to miss these two new appetizers to hit the menu — braised pork belly with sautéed greens, grilled peaches and bacon mustard sauce, and the Caribbean jerk shrimp with fried plantain tostones, bean shoots, micro-cilantro and a mango-tamarind chutney. The flavors, textures, and presentation of both of these dishes were sheer perfection.
For those who aren’t familir with pork belly, it is fatty — so be prepared. But the bitter greens, sweet peaches and tangy, salty sauce brought down the level of heaviness, and really balanced out the dish. Whenever I get a dish with pork belly, I’ve learned to look out for the crispy pieces and steal them all for myself — they are always the best part!
The jerk shrimp appetizer was my favorite though. The Caribbean spices were very prominent, and the mango flavor was bright and bold. I just love anything that has plantains too, so that was a huge plus. I could have eaten five more of these things and been totally satisfied.
But then, I saw there was New York strip on the menu.
I’ve definitely become a steak-lover since I began eating meat again, and a good NY strip cooked medium rare is always a good idea. CWS serves their 10 ounce steak with a three-chili yukon gold potato hash, roasted white asparagus and a fresno pepper chimichurri. I am not the biggest asparagus fan, so I asked to swap it out for whatever the house veggies were that day. I was in luck — zucchini and squash, two of my favorites! The potato hash was surprisingly Shaina-friendly without any alternations, as was the chimichurri. All four components to this dish went so well together. Steak and potatoes is a given, but I enjoyed having a flavorful hash instead of the traditional mashed, baked or roasted potato side.
Speaking of potatoes, CWS has great french fries. They’re Belgian-style fries, house-cut and twice-fried. You can get them with cheese sauce or truffle parmesan sprinkled on top. Roger ordered the dry-aged bone marrow burger for dinner, which of course comes with a side of these delicious fries (and of course I made him share them with me). This burger is quite the creation — it’s CWS’s custom blend burger, topped with warm melted house-made pimento cheese, hydro bibb lettuce, pickled onion, and smoked bacon.
Smoked bacon needs to become a regular thing. That was good.
As I mentioned earlier, CWS does a great job when it comes to cocktails — and no doubt we complemented our meal with a couple of them.
I ordered The Jam, a tequila cocktail made with Casamigos tequila, fresh lime juice, agave, fig jam, white balsamic, and strawberry. It’s a bit on the sweeter side, but oh so good. Casamigos has become my go-to for tequila, it’s super smooth and lends great flavor to cocktails like this one. Roger chose the Delicious Sour, a barrel pick rye whiskey drink with apricot liqueur, peach, hand pressed citrus, and aquafaba.
Aquafaba is the vegan alternative for drinks that use an egg white to create that foamy layer on the top. It’s actually the liquid that comes from chickpeas, and no — it does not taste like chickpeas. It really doesn’t take like anything at all when it’s used in cocktails. But it works just as well as an egg white, and it’s super cool that people who either can’t have eggs or just don’t like the idea of drinking an egg white can now enjoy a frothy cocktail or two.
Aside from great food and drinks, CWS provides great live music for its guests too.
CWS Bar & Kitchen is located at 522 Lucerne Avenue in Lake Worth. The restaurant is closed on Monday, and open Tuesday through Thursday from 4-11pm, Friday from 4pm-1am, Saturday from 11am-1am and Sunday from 11am-11pm. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3:30pm. Happy hour is at the bar only Tuesday through Saturday from 4-7pm.