A few weeks ago I asked my Facebook ‘Off the Beaten Path friends to suggest some cool, casual waterfront hangouts around the state. This blog will begin what I hope will be an ongoing series where readers suggest old, authentic, and/or out of the way diners and restaurants and watering holes where you can do exactly what you should be doing: chilling out.
From my first request for suggestions, in Panama City Beach Catherine Lingar suggested the Barefoot Beach Club which, she says, “has great food and awesome drinks” while Michelle Perez recommends Matty’s Irish Pub where you can take in a beach view.
On Anna Maria Island, Chris Thibaut recommends a visit to the Rod and Reel Pier while the folks from the Levy County Visitors Bureau would like to direct you to Cedar Key and the Black Dog Bar & Tables, “a cozy pub featuring craft, micro, and imported brews, wines, and fine cigars.” It even has its own facebook page: www.facebook.com/CedarKeyBar
Deborah Sperlunto Zadroga really knows her stuff. She points travelers to four waterfront destinations around the Tampa Bay area including the Tarpon Pointe Grille and Tiki Bar in Bradenton, O’Leary’s Tiki Bar in Sarasota, the Island Time Bar and Grille in Bradenton Beach, and Sharkey's on the Pier in Venice. I’ve been to Sharkey’s and I like it!
Deborah has a friend in Luellen Fuller Warren who has even more recommendations including Rick’s Crab Trap in Miramar Beach; the Whale's Tail and Pompano Joe's in Pompano; in Destin the trifecta of AJ's, the Boathouse Oyster Bar, and Harry T's. Head to Fort Walton Beach and Deborah will direct you to the Black Pearl, Angler's, and Helen Back. Down the road in Navarre Beach is Juana's Pagoda and further west is Landshark Landing in Pensacola Beach.
If you travel to the Indian River near Sebastian, Cynthia J. Kelly Schuster would like you to visit Suzy's Tiki Hut, Capt Hiram's, Earl's Hideaway, the Boat House… and many more.
Not every place is on the coast. In DeBary, Tiffanie Springer Beecham mentions The Swamp House at the High Banks Marina on the St. Johns River. The Ocala National Forest is also miles from the coast, but Ellen S. Karp-Bendana’s favorite is Cactus Jacks in Salt Springs.
If you have more suggestions, join my facebook page and post them there and when there’s enough I’ll add Part Two to this impressive list of Florida’s waterfront watering holes.