The 18 Best Beach Bars In The South

<p>Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism</p>

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Beach bars are the great melting pots of the world. Nowhere else can you find a sun-weathered lifelong beach bum, spirited college students, and moms on a girls’ trip all sidled up to the same bar. One’s drinking a bushwacker, another a PBR, and the last a fruity painkiller—and everyone’s having a great time. With beaches all across the South, from the Florida panhandle to North Carolina’s Atlantic waters to the Texas Gulf Coast, Southerners have their pickings of places to dig their toes in the sand—and as a result places to find a cold drink in their hands. Whether you’re looking to waste away in Margaritaville or simply snag a sunset sip, the South’s beach bars have everything you need for an unforgettable time: beautiful views of the water, friendly crowds, great music, and perhaps most important, plenty of drinks to go around.

How We Picked This List

These beach bars were picked by the editors of Southern Living who report, research, and visit resorts across the South.




Perdido Key, Florida

There’s something truly special about this Gulf Coast beach bar that sits on the state line of Alabama and Florida. For 60 years, this legendary shoreside shack has been known for slinging excellent bushwackers, booking great live music, and welcoming everyone in. The fact that the dive bar’s ceiling is adorned with women’s bras, but you can still attend church there on Sundays tells you everything you need to know about this one-of-a-kind spot.; 17401 Perdido Key Dr., Perdido Key, FL. 32507; 251-980-5118

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Aruba Beach Café

Aruba Beach Cafe
Aruba Beach Cafe

Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida

“By-the-sea” towns are in a class all their own. There are no places more idyllic or nostalgic, and Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is no exception. The town’s communal hangout Aruba Beach Café has all the characteristics of our favorite waterfront establishments. There’s live entertainment seven days a week, happy hour lasts for three hours, and there’s an entire portion of the drink menu devoted to tropical cocktails. The fact that you can sit directly on the beach and feel the sand between your toes while you sip your tipple is just icing on the cake.; 1 Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, FL 33308; 954-776-0001

The Windjammer

Getty Images
Getty Images

Isle of Palms, South Carolina

The vibes are always high at The Windjammer, which fancies itself “Charleston’s premier beach club”. Located at Front Beach on Isle of Palms, this place has been rocking and rolling with live music drawing big crowds since 1972. With a large stage set up just beyond the dunes, there’s not a more stunning setting for a concert. There’s also no better place to stop for a drink on a deck.; 1008 Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451; 843-886-8596

Square Grouper

Square Grouper
Square Grouper

Jupiter, Florida

You can’t beat the atmosphere at this tropical-themed restaurant and bar on the Jupiter Inlet. Says Southern Living writer Marisa Spyker, “Even if you haven't yet had the pleasure of sipping something tall and strong at this palm tree-blessed waterfront hangout, you probably recognize it: The Square Grouper was the setting—and one could say the star—of Alan Jackson's “Five O'Clock Somewhere" music video with Jimmy Buffet.”; 1111 Love Street, Jupiter, FL 33477; 561-406-6417

Clayton’s Beach Bar

Courtesy of Clayton's Beach Bar and Grill
Courtesy of Clayton's Beach Bar and Grill

South Padre Island, Texas

In a state known for doing everything bigger, Clayton’s title of being Texas’s biggest beach bar means just a little bit more. But the massive complex, located on a barrier island south of the state, is a lot more than just a place to grab a beer. It’s also a concert and event venue, restaurant, and meetup spot for volleyball games. The best thing about Clayton’s? Their back deck and newly built pier are so big that you won’t have to elbow anyone for prime views of the water.; 6900 Padre Blvd., South Padre Island, TX; 956-761-5900

The Mucky Duck

The Mucky Duck
The Mucky Duck

Captiva Island, Florida

Everything about this tiny pub on Captiva Island is surprising. In the 1970s when two entrepreneurs bought it, it was set to become a rental home. Somehow plans changed and the Mucky Duck, a British-inspired pub was born. The spot is known for its menu that combines a bit of everything—fried seafood platters you’d expect from a place on the water, favorite appetizers you’d expect from a pub, and even a few white-tablecloth additions like duck a l’orange. This spot is known for its sunset views so grab a table early.; 11546 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva Island, FL 33924; 239-472-3434

Pink Pony Pub

<p>Courtesy of Pink Pony Pub</p>

Courtesy of Pink Pony Pub

Gulf Shores, Alabama

When the Pink Pony Pub opened on beach in 1956, Gulf Shores was hardly the vacation destination it is now. The tiny bubblegum-pink shack fit right in among the area’s modest homes and seafood shacks. Over the years, the town has changed quite a bit. Today, Pink Pony is flanked by high-rise condos, but it has remained true to its origin as a neighborhood watering hole. Grab a pina colada from the bar and take your time sipping it on the weathered wooden deck overlooking the waves.; 137 E Gulf Place, Gulf Shores, AL 36542; 251-948-6371

The SandBar

SandBar Delray Beach
SandBar Delray Beach

Delray Beach, Florida

This laidback Florida beach bar pulls double duty as a high-energy night club once the sun goes down. The giant, open-air patio is shaded by palm trees and spotted with umbrellas. A thatched-roof tiki bar sits at the center of action where bartenders serve tiki cocktails like the Sandbar Mai Tai and Cuban Punch by the pitcher. Before you ask—frozen drinks are on the menu, too.; 40 South Ocean Boulevard A1A; Delray Beach, FL 33483; 561-278-3364

Franky & Louie’s Beachfront Bar & Grill

<p>Courtesy of Franky & Louie's </p>

Courtesy of Franky & Louie's

Sunrise Beach, Missouri

Sunrise Beach may not have direct ocean access, but its miles of shoreline on the Lake of the Ozarks are more than enough to render it a beach town. Like any proper waterfront hangout, just as many customers come to Franky & Louie’s by water as they do by land. And if you don’t have your own watercraft, they’ll rent you a boat. With its sandy beach and swimming area, full menu of classic eats, regular live music, cabin rentals, and RV park, this is much more than your average waterfront watering hole.; 1028 Deer Valley Rd, Sunrise Beach, MO 65079; 157-337-45750

Peg Leg Pete’s

Peg Leg Pete's
Peg Leg Pete's

Pensacola Beach, Florida

A pirate-themed bar at the beach just makes sense. Accessible by land and sea via Lafitte Cove Marina, Peg Leg Pete’s is as popular with visitors as it is with locals. First timers have to order two things. The first is an oyster shooter (components are as follows: one raw oyster, bloody Mary mix, and beer or vodka), and the second is the Shipwreck cocktail, a fruity rum-based concoction served in a souvenir cup.; 1010 Ft Pickens Rd., Pensacola Beach, FL 32561; 850-932-4139


<p>Courtesy of Seacrets</p>

Courtesy of Seacrets

Ocean City, Maryland

Get a taste of the Caribbean in Maryland at Seacrets, a waterfront bar, restaurant, night club, and live music venue all in one. Jamaica is major inspiration for both the menu and the vibes at Secrets, where worries are the last thing you’ll find. Fun fact: Seacrets distills its own line of small-batch handcrafted spirits, including a sweet coconut rum that’s the star of many a tiki drink. On Thursday through Sunday, all frozen drinks and Seacrets spirits are on happy hour all day.; 117 49th Street, Ocean City, MD 21842; 410-524-4900

Jimmy B’s Beach Bar

Jimmy B's Beach Bar
Jimmy B's Beach Bar

St. Pete Beach, Florida 

This oceanfront bar and restaurant attached to the Beachcomber resort on St. Pete Beach is consistently ranked as one of the best places to drink in Florida. Visitors are huge fans of the sprawling deck offering great views of the Gulf of Mexico. The multiple bars, two stages for live music, and menu of beach-friendly eats only add to the experience.; 6200 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706; 727-367-1902

The Gulf

<p>Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism</p>

Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Tourism

Orange Beach, Alabama

Outdoor couches, dining tables, yard games, and palm trees are spread out over a sandy-floored patio at this waterfront hangout made out of a collection of shipping containers and recycled materials. Order food like smoked tuna dip and shrimp tacos from a walk-up window, then head to the bar for a cocktail to accompany. The concept was so successful in Orange Beach that there’s now a second location on nearby Okaloosa Island.; 27500 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL 36561; 251-424-1800,

Kane Tiki Bar & Grill

<p>ROBBIE CAPONETTO</p> Tasting and Toasting. Don’t miss the chance to try a plate of coconut shrimp from Kane Tiki Bar & Grill at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort or the tiramisu martini from Sale e Pepe restaurant.


Tasting and Toasting. Don’t miss the chance to try a plate of coconut shrimp from Kane Tiki Bar & Grill at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort or the tiramisu martini from Sale e Pepe restaurant.

Marco Island, Florida

Part of the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, this Gulf-front restaurant and bar draws inspiration from Hawaii for a creative menu of fusion street food and an idyllic thatched-roof outdoor tiki bar. Order a plate of coconut shrimp, and then sidle up to the bar to try the bar’s impressive rum collection. There’s even  a menu of fine cigars for after your meal, if you’re so inclined.; 400 South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island, Florida 34145

Pirates Cove

Courtesy of Pirates Cove Riff Raff
Courtesy of Pirates Cove Riff Raff

Elberta, Alabama

This legendary third-generation beach shack on the Alabama Gulf Coast in Elberta is accessible by boat or by car. Along with a rousing good time, the restaurant is known for three main things: bushwackers, cheesburgers, and lots and lots of friendly pups who love to roam the sandy beach, occasionally scoring scraps from picnic table diners.; 6664 Co Rd 95, Elberta, AL 36530; 251-987-1224

Brogen’s South

<p>Courtesy of Brogen's South</p>

Courtesy of Brogen's South

St. Simons, Georgia

This understated beach town on the Georgia coast is the kind of place where you’ll feel like a local the very first time you step onto its pristine sandy shores. So when you’re there, do as the locals do and head to Brogen’s South, a laidback restaurant and bar in the heart of Pier Village. Order a burger, snag a seat on the patio, and take a big exhale—you’re on island time now.; 200 Pier Aly, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522; 912-638-1660

Shaggy’s Harbor Bar & Grill

<p>Courtesy of Shaggy's</p>

Courtesy of Shaggy's

Coastal Mississippi

Once you hear the story behind this waterfront bar and restaurant, you’ll love it even more. In 2005, new Pass Christian local Ron Ladner was preparing to transform the long-running Bait Shop into a restaurant and bar. By August, Hurricane Katrina made landfall wiping out the building completely. After long months of recovery, Ladner decided to continue with his vision for a neighborhood hangout and began constructing Shaggy’s in 2007. The heart behind the operation—and the great food and drinks—were an instant hit. Today, there are two additional locations across Coastal Mississippi, plus one in Brandon, Mississippi and another in Pensacola Beach, Florida.; 120 Hiern Avenue, Pass Christian, MS 39571; 228-452-9939

The Spot

Galveston, Texas

The name of this beachfront bar, restaurant, and entertainment complex is apt considering it’s a regular point of interest for everyone who’s ever been to or near Galveston. Fresh seafood, cold beer, and views of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico are just the tip of the iceberg. Customers can choose from five distinct dining/drinking areas depending on their mood and drinking preferences. Squeeze is known for its margaritas and tequila, while the Rum Shack is a beachfront palapa bar with more than 50 rum options.; 3204 Seawall Blvd, Galveston, TX 77550; 409-621-5237

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