By Caroline Giddis
With so many gorgeous views and an impressive selection of delicious beers, cocktails and wines, it’s hard not to say “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” here in South Walton.
Whether you’re looking for a view of the gulf, rolling dunes or a beautiful lake, there are so many places in the area that allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy a cold one. It’s even a cultural norm here to find a spot each night where you can see the sunset.
Here are 11 places that are perfect for getting your drink-in-a-beautiful-place fix.
Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge at The Pearl Hotel
Located in Rosemary Beach, the Havana Beach Bar & Grill Rooftop Lounge provides visitors with an eclectic, relaxing feeling. Although the lounge overlooks the stunning European-style hotel pool, it has a breath-taking view of the gulf as well. The drink menu offers everything from Ernest Hemingway-inspired classics to Cuba Libres and Mojitos.
The lounge has a variety of seating options from comfy couches and hammocks to high-top tables. Happy hour lasts from 3 to 6 p.m.
Sunset Bay Cafe
The gulf isn’t the only thing you can see from bars and restaurants. Located on the glittering Choctawhatchee Bay, Sunset Bay Cafe shows it’s appreciation for the Floridian lifestyle with a full bar, Tiki bar and outside dining. From the cafe, the view of the bay spans for miles. With a name like Sunset Bay Cafe, it’s obviously the perfect place to say “cheers!” and watch the sun go down. I’ll have one piña colada please!
Bud & Alley’s
When many people think beach bar, they think Bud & Alley’s … and they’re right. Nestled between the dunes and overlooking the gulf in Seaside, Bud & Alley’s is where families and friends go to experience what Kenny Chesney sings all about: beautiful views, great beer and no worries.
A 30A go-to for over 30 years, Bud & Alley’s is a wonderful place to enjoy for a few minutes or a few hours.
The best view for grabbing a drink is from the roof deck bar. Say hi to Mo the bartender who has been slinging refreshing beach cocktails for almost as long as the bar has been open. Try the Seaside punch, a mouth-watering blend of Stoli vodka, apple, peach and black raspberry puree, pineapple juice and house-made sour mix — a perfect beach-side thirst-quencher.
If you’re there at sunset, join in the longstanding tradition of ringing the sunset bell and cheering as the sun sets into that beautiful gulf. It can’t be beat.
The Porch at Old Florida Fish House
For a more “hidden” hangout, check out The Porch at Old Florida Fish House in Seagrove Beach. Overlooking Eastern Lake, The Porch is the ideal place to just chill.
A number of big-screen TVs make it a great place to bring your friends when there’s a big game on. However, when you want to escape, you can just look out into the uncharted wilderness that surrounds the beautiful coastal dune lake. It’s the perfect hideaway.
The Beach House
Appetizers, moonshine and a gorgeous view … what sounds better than that? Enjoy all three at The Beach House in Sandestin, which sits right on the beach and allows you to soak up some sun and soak in an incredible view of the Gulf.
Enjoy a drink in their double insulated solo cups and listen to live music on Tuesdays during their open mic nights. You can find a wide variety of wines on their drink menu, including our 30A Chardonnay and 30A Red Blend, which both go really well with their shareable appetizers – YUM.
Whether you get there by car, boat or paddle board, The Bay is a waterfront-lovers dream.
Grab a seat inside, on the covered outdoor lounge, or at a picnic table with your toes in the sand. A beer haven, The Bay has 12 different beers on tap, many brewed locally. Their Sunday Bayside Brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is an especially great time to enjoy the scenery of the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Marina Bar & Grill at Sandestin
For a unique right-on-the-dock experience, try Marina Bar & Grill. Sitting directly on the Baytowne Marina in Sandestin, the restaurant invites shoe and flip-flop wearers alike to join the party.
Marina Bar & Grill celebrates sunset every day as if it were a special occaision, shooting off a cannon and ringing a bell as the sun goes down. Order a brew and watch the boats pull into the Marina with their fresh catches. What could be better than that?
In a growing craft beer community, it’s important for there to be a place that focuses on the same passion — a good, cold beer. Hoppy, pale, blonde, however you like your beer, Growler Garage has it. Their focus is beer brewed locally or in different Florida micro breweries. With a constantly changing draft menu and a great view of the gulf from their patio out front, Growler Garage is beer heaven.
Wanting to sip that beer a little closer to the waves? Fill up one of their signature growlers and stroll across the street to the beach. Plastic and stainless steel are available of course. Remember, no glass on the beach!
Here’s a little secret: Chiringo is the only place in Grayton Beach where you can drink a beer with a gulf view.
With great open-air spaces, Chiringo aims to present its visitors with vibes of a Spanish beach restaurant. The building and furniture are covered in bright, inviting colors, which show off Chiringo’s desire for beachgoers to come on in and grab a drink.
They have a variety of beers on tap and a even a fresh juice bar. Get yours virgin or spiked for the ultimate refreshing cocktail. Watermelon and vodka makes a great combo!
Vue on 30A
Like it says on their website, “as if the view was not enough,” Vue on 30A also offers a great cocktail or dining experience. Dolphins frequent the shore near the restaurant and the location is great for watching for boats on the horizon.
Seasonal, import and domestic beers are all options to enjoy while watching the gulf. Or try a refreshing Emerald Coast Martini, a tricolor treat that mimics a gulf view with Malibu rum, Midori, Blue Curacao, house sour mix and a splash of Sprite.
(Learn about more thirst-queching cocktails on 30A.)
Brunch on Sunday runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which is a definite chance to have a wonderful Sunday Funday.
723 Whiskey Bravo
Another amazing rooftop bar, 723 Whiskey Bravo, looks over Seagrove Beach and celebrates a clean, modern atmosphere. Their Happy Hour lasts from 5 to 6 p.m. daily and is a great way to start off a night.
Umbrellas are set up on the rooftop to block out any unwanted sun during the day, and the comfy lounge chairs help set the mood for relaxation station. Bravo!
Caroline Giddis is a summer intern at The 30A Company.