Thursday, February 2, 2023

Boca After Dark: The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery

Address: 2621 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton // 561/368-4643

Via Funky Buddha website

The lowdown: From the outside, The Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in Boca Raton doesn’t look like much. It’s located off of Federal Highway in the middle of a quiet, outdated-looking shopping center that you’re likely to drive right past. Once you’re though the doors, you’ll realize you just stumbled across a hidden gem.

Inside, the vibe is dark and moody. A slightly musky scent of fruit-flavored hookahs permeates the air, and abstract art, painted by local artists, covers the walls. The lounge area is separated from the densely packed bar and offers a more relaxing atmosphere. Big, comfortable couches make it the perfect spot to unwind after a long day. Head to the other side if you’re looking for a rowdier time. On a slower night, you might get a spot at one of the tables or high tops, but on the weekends this area is standing room only.

The bar keeps more than 100 beers in stock and features 22 varieties on tap. Usually about half of these are reserved for their homebrews. The other guest selections are from microbreweries and other small-batch tap houses. Big names like Budweiser and Heineken won’t be found here.

Since the Funky Buddha’s larger Oakland Park brewery opened last year, the Boca Raton location has served more as an experimental test kitchen. It’s here that the brewery’s signature culinary-inspired concoctions like the popular “No Crusts” peanut butter and jelly beer and the new “Rice Crispy Treat Ale” are crafted. New creations are released every Thursday.

Funky Buddha has a small menu of pizza, sandwiches and tapas-style selections available if your “Maple Bacon Porter” leaves you craving real food. Although the pizza tends to taste frozen and microwaved, the hummus is a surprising delight that is available in red pepper, olive and original varieties.

The stage at Funky Buddha is becoming a breeding ground for local talent. Every Monday night, up to 35 artists jam out at the all-music open mic. On Wednesday nights, poets, comedians and spoken-word artists are welcomed to the stage. Cover is $3, and all proceeds go to Boca Helping Hands.

Fans of live music will want to check out Funky Buddah during the weekend. The bar hosts a variety of local and national touring bands playing indie, folk, jam-band and alternative music styles. Anyone looking for another Journey cover band should go somewhere else. The venue only books original artists.  Some of the bigger recent names include The Politix and Public Sounds.

The intangibles: Every Monday from 5 to 7 p.m., Funky Buddha offers $2 off homebrews as well as discounted prices on pizza and hookahs. If you can’t make it during happy hour, $10 hookahs are also available Monday and Tuesday nights.

On the third Sunday of every month, Funky Buddah holds homebrew classes for anyone inspired to draft up their own concoction. For just $20, brewmaster Kevin Squirel teaches brewing classes, and he will even customize special creations for larger parties that book  in advance. Attendees get two beers during the class and are given a voucher for another two on a future visit.

For the true beer connoisseurs, Funky Buddha offers the Snifter Club membership. For a $25 annual fee, a “Lager Member” will get a personalized snifter that is kept on display at the bar, as well as an extra 2 ounces of beer on home drafts and an extended hour of happy-hour specials. A VIP “Imperial” membership is also available for $40 a year. These most loyal customers get all the benefits of being a traditional member plus access to limited-edition tappings and other exclusive events.

Hours: 6:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week

Website: thefunkybuddha.com

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