Nothing goes better with a day of sun and sand than a cocktail … or three. From Destin to Panama City Beach, from the beach to the bay, there is no shortage of drinks — on the rocks, shaken not stirred, on tap, even frozen — for you to choose from and indulge in (safely, please!).
We talked to our agents and some locals about the best happy hours at the beach. What follows is a mix of local favorites, some more obvious choices and a few hidden gems.
- The Craft Bar: With a name like “The Craft Bar,” you know there are bounds to be some good options here. With four locations from Fort Walton Beach to Panama City Beach, there’s also plenty of room to get in on happy hour wherever you are. The Craft Bar features a large craft beer selection of “some of the rarest and most sought after beers in the nation.” They regularly update their cocktail menu with seasonal options. Their happy hour also features $5 food options and select drinks.
- Fish Out of Water: One of our agents recommended this WaterColor restaurant for its unobstructed views of the gulf and top-notch service. Happy hour runs from 2 to 5 p.m. daily and live music is available seasonally. Try the FOOW Frosé or a daily draft selection.
- Schooners: The Last Local Beach Club in Panama City Beach was recommended by agent Dana Ford as the place where the locals hang out. It’s directly on the beach with an open bar, spectacular views, fresh local seafood and live music. Enjoy a Schooners Speciality drink, the Cannon Blast, while they shoot off an actual cannon at sunset every day. It’s laid back and fun.
- Cuvee 30A: A favorite of agent Janet Murphy, Cuvee 30A’s happy hour has been voted “Best of the Emerald Coast” by Emerald Coast Magazine. Live music is available seasonally from Wednesdays through Saturdays, along with 50 percent off bar menu items like flatbread pizzas, sliders and smoked tomato and shrimp soup. The Cuvee 30A bar menu features an array of handcrafted cocktails and mixers composed of fresh ingredients, including exclusive signature blends of artisanal alchemy such as the Spiced Margarita and the celebrated New Old Fashioned.
- Camille’s at Crystal Beach: Cocktails and bar snacks are served daily at this sidewalk cafe from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. They also have a killer weekend special — $2 off Bloody Marys and mimosas all day, both days.
- North Beach Social: This recommendation, formerly the North Beach Tortilla Company, comes from agent Mandy Cooper. North Beach Social offers some of the best sunsets overlooking the bay in South Walton and has plenty of outdoor seating and a deck with a large white-sand beach where kids and adults alike can play. Sample the North Beach Margarita or the Social Frozen where you pick your liquor and your flavor.
- The Wine Bar: Tuesday is Local’s Night at The Wine Bar, which has locations in Destin, WaterColor, Pensacola and at Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach. Enjoy happy hour carafes for the price of a large glass on select wines from open until close. They have an extensive selection of wines from around the world and a store where you can purchase bottles and an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie.
- Lulu’s: Here’s another Choctawhatchee Bay entry, sitting right at the base of the Midbay Bridge in Destin, a favorite of locals and visitors alike. The funky hangout features Lulu’s World-Famous Bushwhacker and a Bloody Mary made with their very own handcrafted Crazy Sista Bloody Mary mix.
- The Rooftop at The Henderson: A favorite of agent Caleb Spears, The Rooftop at The Henderson has a great bar and unobstructed views of the gulf across the Henderson Beach nature preserve. Pair the smoked fish dip with a Rosemary Lemon Drop or 30A Beach Blonde IPA.
- The Beach Bar at Royal Palm Grille: Located in the stairwell of the pedestrian overpass for Surfside Resort, agent Cliff Cohen suggested this option for simplicity, its dog-friendly atmosphere and lots of televisions for watching sports. The Beach Bar is open year-round for ice-cold drinks and a full menu while watching the game directly on the beach.
- Café Thirty-A: If you’re staying on Scenic Highway 30A, Café Thirty-A’s “‘Tini Night” is a required stop. Every Tuesday and Thursday in the bar, choose from one of nearly 15 martinis for just $6. Try the Seagrove Beach Breeze or the Bellini Tini. Garnishes include Spanish queen olives, holland onions and blue cheese-stuffed olives. All martinis are served on the rocks or straight up.
- 790 On The Gulf: Perhaps best known for their knock-out Sunday brunch, 790 On The Gulf also bills its happy hour as the “best in town.” Cool off beachside with a Lagniappe Lemonade or a Crystal Beach Jalapeno-Rita.
- Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar: I can’t let this blog conclude without including one of my favorite 30A hangouts — Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar. The perfect combo of live music, great food and incredible views, Shunk Gulley also has a well-stocked bar that includes its popular Shunk Juice. Check out their live music schedule here.
- Shades Bar & Grill: Shades varies its drink options with the day of the week. Monday features $7 margaritas all day, Tuesday has BOGO 50 percent off beer flights and on Wine Wednesday, you can enjoy 25 percent off bottles. Don’t forget Thirsty Thursday where all local draught beers are a dollar off.
- The Harbor Tavern: Our last stop is right. on the Destin Harbor with daily happy hour specials every day from 3 to 6 p.m. Try the peel and eat shrimp with a blueberry piña colada or a refreshing poké bowl and watermelon margarita while enjoying sunsets over the water.
Did your favorite fail to make our list? Let us know your favorite beach happy hour and why below!