There’s a certain atmosphere that can’t be replicated anywhere else besides a beach bar. Like the waves crashing around you, your worries slip away when you’re handed your fruity, tropical, tiki cocktail (that most people would be ashamed to order anywhere else), dig your toes in the sand, and plop down in a cabana chair. Shirt and shoes are hardly a requirement, there are beautiful people all around, and there’s music going in the background. Really, every summer should include at least one trip to a beach bar.
That is why I’ve rounded up my favorite beach bars in America.
Palm trees, tiki torches, and obviously, tiki cocktails all help make a beach bar stand out from the rest. And no two beach bars are alike — at a beach bar, you can find everything from a $6 Sailor Jerry’s shot to a menu of $1,000 bottle service of Cristal, Grey Goose, Dom Perignon. You can find sleek cabanas and day beds alongside thatched roofs, lobster, and french fries. From chic clubs to divey dives, I appreciate all that is a beach bar.
8. Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club, New York City
This isn’t your typical beach bar — or beer garden. But New Yorkers crave anything sandy and fun, and Beekman’s is full of it: 6,000 square feet of sand, hammocks, and “glowing” white lounge chairs in sand (we can only imagine how dirty those get), outdoor games, and a great menu of Pat LaFrieda burgers, German brats, and fish tacos. Sure, you may not be able to dip your toes in the water, but the view of the Brooklyn Bridge will make up for it.
7. Nikki Beach Miami, Miami
No one knows better how to party than those in South Beach, Fla. — or at Nikki Beach. It’s just your average restaurant-slash-nightclub-slash-oceanfront beach club with a rotating list of DJs, cocktails, and fanfare (like aerial performers, naturally). Sure, it’s a little more club-y than a relaxing beach, but what do you expect in Miami, anyways?
6. The Blue Lounge at Moonshadows, Malibu, Calif.
The romantic lounge is built right on top of the Pacific, and you’ll hear the waves crashing below you as proof. With a Mediterranean-influenced menu and an extensive drink menu to leave you satisfied, a sunset and live DJ will finish off your evening with a sexy atmosphere.
5. The Beach Bar, Asbury Park, N.J.
This beach bar is located in, where else, the Jersey Shore. But before you re-imagine the cast of Jersey Shore reuniting at your local haunch, think again — the Beach Bar, located on the boardwalk, adds a touch of class to an unexpected venue. With a great view of the ocean, potent drinks, and above-average boardwalk eats (like a hot dog with kimchi and a truffled caprese salad), it’s no wonder that Jersey Shore residents and visitors camp out at the Beach Bar for hours on end.
4. Old Tony’s Bar, Redondo Beach, Calif.
This bar originally opened in a small shack of a building off the Redondo Beach Pier in 1952; it soon expanded to an ocean-side restaurant. Today, you’ll find the same kitsch and live music you’d expect at a beach bar, with some absolutely killer cocktails (the bar is best known for its Mai Tais.)
3. Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar, Carolina Beach, N.C.
Nestled between the dunes in Carolina Beach, the Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar is a little haven out on the sea. The upstairs dining room offers fresh coastal seafood and panoramic views, while down on the Center Pier (which was partially destroyed during the 1994 Hurricane Fran), the Tiki Bar offers the best of North Carolinian beers and tiki cocktails. Catch some surf and sun, while basking in tiki tunes on the weekend.
2. The Beachcomber, Cape Cod, Mass.
With a menu that offers a full raw bar, the best view in Cape Cod, and an assortment of “jumbo” specialty drinks, The Beachcomber is definitely on our list of awesome bars on the beach. Parking is $15 until 4 p.m., but in exchange, you get a $15 voucher to use at the restaurant. This is the top summer spot for food, friends, and drinks for lunch or dinner. But don’t leave yet! The bar turns into a nightclub after the sunsets on the beach, and they have live music with a full calendar of summer performers!
1. Square Grouper Tiki Bar, Jupiter, Fla.
It would be a crime if the location of Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” video wasn’t on this list. The Square Grouper may have “officially” opened in 2003, but the site’s history goes much further back — to the 1850s, when settlers built a small hotel and saloon for local builders and travelers. Since then, the Square Grouper and the Jupiter Inlet have been home to all sorts of colorful history and facts. (Fun fact: “Square Grouper” refers to what the U.S. Coast Guard calls bales of marijuana thrown overboard or out of planes found in the Jupiter Inlet and throughout South Florida, says the bar.) We can’t possibly think of a better place to kick back in the sand, with a drink in hand, and relax.