Repour's Isaac Grillo and Kreepy Tiki Bar & Lounge's Ayme Harrison are headed north to Palm Beach County.
On April 1, the founder of Miami Beach's popular cocktail bar will join forces with Harrison to open Death or Glory in the former Max's Social House space (116 NE Sixth Ave.) in downtown Delray Beach.
Grillo, named the Ultimate Miami Bartender by Magic City Casino during his time at Haven South Beach, opened his first establishment in 2015 inside the boutique Albion Hotel off Lincoln Road. At the time, the bartender-turned-bar-owner and 11-year industry veteran was best known for his extravagant liquid-nitrogen-infused and gold-flecked cocktails. In the past two years, Repour has become a popular haunt for Miami's industry clientele and is now considered among the city's best cocktail bars.
Today, Death or Glory founders Grillo, Harrison, and April DeVona say their goal is to bring a new craft cocktail experience to Delray Beach.
"We were looking for a place with a neighborhood feel," Grillo tells New Times. "It was also something we were having a hard time finding outside Miami. This house has a lot of history, and we want to honor that history while also establishing something new. Our goal is to offer the best cocktails, period."
In May 2016, Harrison told New Times about plans to relocate her tiki-centric cocktail bar founded alongside Jackson Valiente, owner of Fort Lauderdale-based Kreepy Tiki tattoo parlor, to an adjacent location. This month, Harrison confirms, she will now close the bar to concentrate on her joint venture with Grillo, although it may continue to operate in another capacity under Valiente.
"It's sad to be leaving Fort Lauderdale after nearly 20 years, but now I'll be able to offer patrons so much more. I'm no longer restricted to just rum; I can showcase it all," Harrison says. "For me, this move feels right. The possibilities are endless,and exciting."
Death or Glory, named for bar manager Keith Popejoy's pop-up bar during the Shaken cocktail competition, will house a vast array of spirits. The 18-seat bar and adjoining lounge will offer both food and drinks, open daily until 2 a.m.
Inside, a private room will also double as a pop-up Cocktail Kingdom retail store for local bartenders in need of specialty supplies, the first of its kind in Palm Beach County. Outside, the property's large covered patio will include a rum-focused reimagining of the original outdoor bar at back, one that will pay homage to Grillo's favorite rum, Afrohead, while continuing to offer many of Harrison's best tiki libations.
Expect cocktails to change frequently, Grillo says. Many will contain fresh ingredients picked from the bar's own gardens, lush plantings that include flowers, herbs, and fruit trees. A progressive ice program will also be an important component.
The bar's signature drink is the only confirmed offering at this time: a Mexican chocolate-infused mezcal aged in fresh-cut coconuts. The currently unnamed concoction will be served by the shot or sold by the coconut (complete with its own spout) for groups or tables to share.
Although it's described as a cocktail-forward establishment, Death or Glory will also be the type of place to grab a quick bite or late-night meal. The duo has hired executive chef Jessie Steele, formerly of C.W.S. in Lake Worth, to craft a menu that will complement the bar's robust beverage program.
Details aren't yet available, but Grillo describes it as "comfort food with a few moderns twists, a shortlist of shareable small plates, and several composed dishes that will incorporate plenty of booze." A chef's table will allow for a more immersive, customizable experience with optional pairings.
"We really want to up the cocktail game here in Delray Beach," Grillo says, who hopes to grow the bar's late-night, local, and industry clientele. "This was the demographic we wanted, and we think the people here are willing and ready for this type of experience."
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