If you’re looking for lunch or dinner on the water after you’ve met Winter the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Island Way Grill is the way to go. The restaurant offers beautiful Intracoastal views and a menu featuring fresh seafood and great cocktails.
Of course, there are plenty of beach spots with great eats. For a more upscale affair, head to Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, a sophisticated spot beloved by locals and visitors alike since 1948. For laid-back beachfront dining, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is a casual, colorful place offering “Floribbean” favorites from conch fritters to grouper sandwiches, along with tropical cocktails. Just to the north (and also right on the sand) is Palm Pavilion, a classic seafood restaurant with everything from small plates to full entrees (try to plan your visit around sunset).
Where to Enjoy Craft Beer & Cool Drinks
If you’re intrigued by the many craft beer offerings you’ll find along the Gulp Coast, a great spot for a tasty adult beverage is never far. Venture about five miles to the northeast from downtown for a pint at Southern Lights Brewing to enjoy a vast menu of small-batch nano-brews, including IPAs, porters, pilsners and tripels. Craft beer lovers who happen to be film buffs will dig Grindhaus Brew Lab, which serves up its movie-themed pours in beaker-inspired pint glasses. Make a night of it with their cult movie marathons. And tucked away in a cheery, renovated industrial space on the south side of town, Big Storm Brewing delights all palates with favorites like Arcus Southern Pale Ale, Oats in Hose Oatmeal Stout, and a spate of sought-after seasonal brews (like Dunder & Blixem, a spiced ale you’ll find on tap over the holidays). There’s a large menu here with everything from hummus to grouper sandwiches.
Looking to sip a beverage with your toes in the sand – and maybe do a little barefront dancing? Head to iconic beach bar Shephard’s Tiki Beach Bar & Grill on Clearwater Beach, featuring live music and other events, bar bites and lots of frosty beverages.