My City

Legendary Collector Beth Rudin DeWoody Offers Her Guide to Palm Beach

Photography by Nick Mele. Image courtesy of Beth Rudin DeWoody.

Beth Rudin DeWoody, who lives between New York, Los Angeles, and West Palm Beach, is a longtime advocate for the arts in her Florida enclave. In 2017, she opened the Bunker Artspace, an invitation-only former munitions factory that showcases highlights from her 10,000-work-strong collection. She also advises New Wave, the nonprofit behind New Wave Art Wknd, an annual celebration of Palm Beach art that precedes Art Basel Miami Beach.

This year, the Bunker has tapped gallerist Peter Harkawik to organize “Family Affair,” a presentation of work by artists in DeWoody’s collection with close ties to one another, including Hank Willis Thomas and his mother Deborah Willis and husband-and-wife artist duo Peter and Sally Saul. As many art-world denizens migrate south for the holiday season, we asked DeWoody to give us a taste of her favorite Palm Beach haunts. 

Where are you right now? What do you see, hear, and smell?

I’m at my home in West Palm Beach. I’m on the Intracoastal Waterway, so I smell the sea and see the water and across to Palm Beach. I also see my beautiful landscaping and smell the flowers. There are many. 

What’s the best neighborhood for a visitor to stay in? Any hotel recommendations?

In Palm Beach, the Colony Hotel is great. There’s a lot of action there, you can sit outside at Swifty's, and it’s close to the beach and to Worth Avenue. There’s also the grande dame resort hotel, the Breakers, which is great with kids, and the new White Elephant hotel, which is in walking distance to the Royal Poinciana Plaza. In West Palm Beach, I like to recommend the Hilton Hotel; the food there is very good. It’s next door to the convention center and across from The Square mall, which is in the process of being renovated. 

Image courtesy of the Breakers.

Where do you go to escape the crowds?

My house! Also, there is a beautiful place at the north end of Singer Island: MacArthur Beach Park. It’s the only state park in Palm Beach County and an environmental treasure.

Favorite place for seafood?

I like Independent Seafoods for buying; for restaurants, there’s PB Catch and the Seafood Bar at the Breakers.

Best place for a coffee meeting?

For coffee, Sant Ambroeus and the Hive in West Palm, which also has great baked goods. 

Best place for a drink after work? What about a late-night drink?

I don’t drink, but I would say Swifty's at the Colony. Sadly, the Leopard Lounge is gone; that was the late night go-to. The young crowd likes E.R. Bradley's Saloon in West Palm.

Your ideal art-viewing itinerary?

I go to the Royal Poinciana Plaza for Gavlak and Acquavella galleries and Sotheby’s. Sadly, Pace has closed there. On Worth Avenue, Ben Brown, Arcature Fine Art, Holden Luntz Gallery, Brant-Timonier. Again, sadly, Paula Cooper is not there now. In West Palm, there’s White Cube, but they only have one last show before they close. TW Fine Art has moved there. I also love the Norton Museum and, of course, the Bunker Artspace is a must-see, but you need a reservation.

Andrew Brischler, "Self Portraits" (Installation View), 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavlak.

Underrated Saturday-afternoon activity?

If it’s a bit chilly out, the manatees come to the Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach for warmer waters. And the Palm Beach Zoo and Cox Science Center and Aquarium are great for kids.  

Favorite places to shop?

Saks, the Royal Poinciana Plaza, Worth Avenue, the Square. There are wonderful small boutiques all over. Great vintage, also: Donovan and Gray and Dina C's Fab and Funky Consignment Boutique in West Palm. I also go to antique stores, mostly on Dixie Highway, like Sold Gallery, Galere, Brass Scale, Show Pony, John Prinster Art Deco Moderne, and Kofski Antiques. 

What is the one item everyone around you seems to be wearing right now?

An Oura Smart Ring.

What is your pick for a local restaurant you can actually get into for dinner?

The French Grill House and Fern Street Wine Bar & Kitchen in West Palm Beach. For great Thai food—mostly for takeout but they do have a table—I would recommend the Oriental Food Market on Dixie and Puritan. Also in Palm Beach, there’s Almond and Cafe Flora on Worth Avenue. 

Image courtesy of Fern Street Wine Bar & Kitchen.

Any tips for getting the most out of Palm Beach?

Just enjoy yourself. Have fun. Be adventurous and take trips outside of Palm Beach!

What is your favorite thing about where you live?

My favorite thing about where I live is that I have a wonderful mid-century house with great views. I have another house on the property which my kids own so they’re nearby when they’re here. I love being in West Palm Beach.