ONot only is it the middle of summer, but today is National Pina Colada Day, which gives us the perfect excuse for something fun and cool to take the edge off the St. Pete summer heat.
One of the best parts of living by the water is the ability to slip straight into beach mode as soon as you leave the office. You don’t even have to get in the water to feel like your floating in paradise, thanks to the proliferation of bars offering tropical vibes and laid-back atmospheres, indoors or out. In St. Pete, all you have to do is find your favorite barstool and order one of those cool, refreshing cocktails that taste the way sand between your toes feels.
While you can find a nice shaken margarita just about anywhere around St. Pete, there are some places that really do it right when it comes to putting patrons in that Beach Day state of mind the second they walk in the door (or onto the deck).
To avoid redundancy, this list does not include any bars that are actually on the beach, given that the whole beach vibes thing sort of comes built in there. But all of the spots on this list will make you feel like you should be drinking out of a coconut (and one of them comes pretty close to making that a reality). Go straight to the tropics without ever leaving town.
These are the tropical tiki bars ready to deliver good vibes and great drinks in the Sunshine City.
A southside gem situated on the dock of a marina, The Big Catch proudly calls their vibe “flip-flop fabulous.” Most seating is covered, and it’s all outdoors, allowing you to properly enjoy a menu full of fresh catch dishes and fruity cocktails. Watching boats come in and out while sipping on something tasty makes for the perfect happy hour experience.
The newest spot on this list, southside’s Mullet’s Fish Camp is quickly moving up the list of those who stop in. They serve more than 15 different types of fish, paired with house-made sauces and slaws. Get a seat in their backyard tiki bar, order up a cocktail and some fish tacos, and take in the traditional Florida atmosphere. Pro tip: the smoked wings may just change your life.
A “sinner’s paradise,” No Vacancy is downtown’s most popular spot for rum-soaked old Florida vibes. Indoors is a cool, dark atmosphere reminiscent of classic beach bars, while the outdoor seating area is a lush – and luscious – space for games, socializing, and heavy-duty imbibing. Get one of their punch bowls for the group and spread the tropical love.
I mean, duh. Grab a seat and feel the breeze, indoors or out. Great happy hour deals, Gulf-inspired food, and old school Florida décor have combined to make Old Key West one of Grand Central’s most popular spots to kick back and take the edge off.
Some spots on this list make you feel like you’re outside a beach shack. Others make you feel like you’re tanning on a yacht. Paul’s Landing is one of the latter. The pool bar and restaurant at the historic Vinoy Renaissance is a waterside retreat overlooking a marina, a bay, and a hot tub, all at the same time. Grab a beer, slip on your shades, and luxuriate.
The best view in downtown St. Pete is about 200 yards off the shoreline. Sitting atop the St. Pete Pier (and shining at nighttime), Pier Teaki specializes in fruity, rum-filled tiki drinks delivered with a stunning view, and an affordable price point, to boot. Use it as a pre- or post-game spot for dinner elsewhere on the pier, or grab one of their small plates and stay a while to enjoy the 360-degree views of downtown and the bay.
A staple of west St. Pete, the lively Red Tiki is a throwback Polynesian paradise featuring heavy food, strong drinks, and a laid-back atmosphere. Regular live music, frequent food specials and relaxed vibes make Red Tiki one of the most enjoyable places on this list to spend a few hours.
Sometimes tropical means bright, light and fruity. In the case of The Ship’s Hold, it means dark, strong and cool. The sister bar of The Galley, the décor is meant to resemble the storage area of a wooden ship – the exact place where the rum barrels would be held. And that, of course, is why The Ship’s Hold gets such a strong recommendation. The cozy space boasts the biggest aged rum collection in St. Pete, and one of the biggest in the state. There are no umbrellas or sliced pineapples here. It’s all about the good stuff.
Don’t worry – you don’t actually have to cross the Skyway to get there. Just off 34th Street in south St. Pete, Tiki Docks takes island life to the next level. On the drinks side, there are cocktails on tap, a full selection of frozen options, and a half dozen traditional tiki drinks. Hungry? Try the raw bar, get some fish and chips, or make a few different selections from their lengthy appetizer list.
While you could easily pass by it without even noticing, walking inside Trophy Fish makes the rest of the world melt away. Specializing in escapism, the entirely-outdoor bar and restaurant is the embodiment of a lush, tropical oasis. Fresh catch fish dishes pair with delicious, island-inspired cocktails, alongside live music every weekend. Here, you can drink from pineapples and eat from the sea.