Skip to content

Best Beach Bars on the Gulf Coast

by Julia Sayers Gokhale on June 4th, 2021

Grab a cocktail or cold beer at one of these iconic and trendy beach bars on the Gulf Coast.

Sun, sand, and a cocktail in hand…there’s a reason this phrase is on every beach tote and koozie. Nothing goes better together than the beach and a tropical cocktail. So, it only makes sense that the Gulf Coast has its fair share of beach bars. Whether it’s an icon that’s been around since the 1950s or it’s a new place paving the way for the craft cocktail scene, there is a bar to fit every happy hour hankering. Here’s our list of favorite beach bars, broken down by iconic bars and trendy newcomers.

ICONIC BARS OF THE GULF COAST

These bars have stood the test of time and remain must-visit spots for visitors year after year. 

Boathouse Oyster Bar in Destin, FL

The Boathouse bar and restaurant on Destin Harbor, an iconic bar on the Gulf Coast..

This open-air, waterfront bar has been a staple in Destin for more than 30 years. You’ll know you’re at the right place by the hundreds of dollar bills hanging from the ceiling and walls. Boathouse is famous for its oysters and gumbo. Grab a drink and listen to live music while watching the sun set over the harbor.

Flora Bama in Perdido, FL

Bushwackers, made famous by the Flora Bama, include ice cream and 7 different liquors.
Seven types of liquors go into Bushwackers, drinks made popular by The Flora Bama.

If you haven’t had a bushwacker at the Flora-Bama, then you haven’t had one of the most iconic Gulf Coast experiences. This massive bar straddling the Alabama/Florida line has multiple levels, five stages, and live music every single night of the year. They popularized the Bushwacker, a frozen milkshake-like cocktail made with seven types of alcohol. 

Pink Pony Pub in Gulf Shores, AL

Outside the Pink Poney

There’s no way to miss the Pepto-pink building that’s home to the Pink Pony Pub. Opened in 1956, this bar on the beach has stood the test of time — and more than enough hurricanes. Sip a signature pina colada on the weathered deck or under an umbrella-shaded picnic table in the sand.  

The Hangout in Gulf Shores, AL

The Hangout in Gulf Shores is exactly what it sounds like: a place to hang out with all your friends. What started as a beachfront arcade and bar has grown into a huge entertainment complex and restaurant famous for its live music, events, festivals, and good times. It’s also the originator of the large-scale annual Hangout Music Festival.

The Red Bar in Grayton, FL

Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, The Red Bar was rebuilt and reopened in 2020 after a devastating fire destroyed the original bar in 2019. Red Bar has been a favorite of South Walton visitors and residents since the early ’90s. Its fun and funky atmosphere has always drawn a varied crowd that comes to listen to the Red Bar Jazz Band. It’s so beloved that owner Oliver Petit promised to build the new bar to the exact specifications — but maybe with a better bathroom.

TRENDY BARS OF THE GULF COAST

From craft cocktails to private cabanas, these bars are the new hotspots in town.

The Gulf in Orange Beach, AL

Just before the Perdido Pass bridge is The Gulf, a bar and restaurant housed in bright blue shipping containers. The seating is all outdoors in a sprawling area of sand set up for lounging with picnic tables, basket chairs, couches, and turf for those who don’t want to get sandy. It’s the perfect place to grab a mojito from the bar and stay awhile, watching the boats in the pass.

NEAT in Alys Beach, FL

This sleek bottle shop and tasting room in Alys Beach on Highway 30a offers craft cocktails, charcuterie, and an upscale take on a beach bar. The bottle shop sells artisan spirits and wines, while bartenders in the tasting room shake up seasonal craft cocktails and riffs on classics. The intimate bar seats 24 people inside and 36 on its patio. 

Havana Beach Rooftop at The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, FL

Where else on the Gulf Coast can you sip a cocktail in a cabana on a rooftop overlooking Caribbean-blue seas? The Havana Beach Rooftop at The Pearl Hotel gives off South Beach vibes in the quaint town of Rosemary. Enjoy cocktails and small bites while lounging in one of the four cabanas or around one of the rooftop’s firepits.

Fisher’s in Orange Beach, AL

Fisher’s is known for being one of the best restaurants on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and they have a great bar program to boot. The restaurant has two levels: a fine-dining upstairs restaurant and a more casual downstairs called Fisher’s Dockside. Upstairs offers craft cocktails with a beachy spin, while Dockside slings classic beach cocktails, frozen drinks, and local beers. 

The Craft Bar in Panama City Beach, FL

One of the Gulf Coast’s few gastropubs, The Craft Bar in Panama City Beach offers chef-driven food and innovative cocktails. Trained mixologists use craft spirits to make seasonal cocktails and signature libations. Each night you’ll find a Mixologist’s Feature, a unique creation available for one night only. For those who prefer beer, The Craft Bar has 30 brews on tap, as well as many more in bottles and cans.

From → Gulf Coast

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS