With all the sun and fun on tap in St. Pete/Clearwater, you’re sure to work up a thirst. Lucky you: This is a locale that loves its libations. Whether you’re “day drinking” or “night capping,” there’s always a place to get a delicious beverage nearby – with alcohol or without. Here’s a rundown of top spots for cocktails, craft beer, coffee and much more.
Bellying up to our beach bars is a quintessential vacation experience here in St. Pete/Clearwater. Choose from many open-air bars just steps away from the Gulf – and linger a little longer for sunset, if you like. Legendary Palm Pavilion is a great spot to order the tropical beverage of your choice and take in the sun-soaked scenery of Clearwater Beach as local musicians strum mellow tunes. Mosey a bit further south for toes-in-the-sand fun at Shephard's Tiki Beach Bar, a popular spot for grooving to live music day and night. To the south, Caddy’s Madeira Beach location is the only full-service bar and restaurant directly on the sand in that town – or visit Caddy’s flagship location in Sunset Beach. Either way, your seaside sipping session comes with amazing beach scenery. And for a little beach-bar hopping, the stretch of open-air spots that includes PCI and Jimmy B’s in St. Pete Beach is truly a blast. The Undertow is a ways down the beach, but well worth it if you’re willing to walk or catch a lift.
Get a new perspective on St. Pete/Clearwater at one of our rooftop bars. Venture to historic Pass-a-Grille Beach for cocktails with a bird’s-eye view at Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, a local institution – you may as well order the cocktail that shares a name with this spot, yes? Also in the neighborhood is The Dewey, with its imaginative food menu and gorgeous Gulf views. Up the road in St. Pete Beach, don’t miss the rooftop bar at Hotel Zamora, where there’s plenty of space to take in the scenery. In downtown St. Pete, opt for stunning panoramas of the downtown waterfront at The Canopy or experience the stellar view from Pier Teaki at the new St. Pete Pier. If you’re in Clearwater Beach, get your unforgettable rooftop views at Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest.
The Craft Beer Scene
As you may have heard, St. Pete Clearwater’s craft beer scene is a bit of a big deal. In fact, it’s so good, it has its own name: The Gulp Coast. Breweries, biergartens and drafthouses dot the region. The oldest microbrewery in Florida, Dunedin Brewery, is where you’ll want to start. Live music and good food abound here, as well as the beer. Further to the south, Big Storm Brewing Co. in Clearwater is also a destination unto itself. The beers here are fixtures at breweries near and far, and the food menu features creative takes on typical pub fare. Rapp Brewing Company in suburban Seminole has made a name for itself among beer lovers. St. Pete may have the highest concentration of craft breweries with plenty of space to hang out. Breweries you won’t want to miss include St. Pete Brewing Company, Green Bench Brewing Company, 3 Daughters Brewing and Overflow Brewing Company.
Pubs & Dives
A pint from across the pond really hits the spot sometimes, and Flanagan’s Irish Pub pours a perfect pint Guinness in the heart of walkable downtown Dunedin. Same goes for popular O’Keefe’s in downtown Clearwater. Just north of downtown St. Pete, Three Birds Tavern has a long list of brews you can enjoy in a garden-like setting. And in downtown St. Pete, duck into Mary Margaret’s Olde Irish Tavern for a pint and a lively atmosphere. If you get a kick out of a good dive bar, St. Pete is your place. Check out Mastry’s, the Emerald Bar and Steve’s Tavern – all beloved spots along Central Ave. Or, head to Pass-a-Grille Beach for a one-of-a-kind dive bar experience at Shadrack’s, just steps from the sand.
Craving a mixed drink that defies convention? No worries: Craft cocktails are huge here.
For drinks made with house-made syrups and “smoked” spirits, head to downtown St. Pete’s Mandarin Hide. Also downtown is Beans & Barlour, where you’ll find boozy desserts – including ice cream sandwiches and cakes. In the Edge District, Intermezzo serves up simple yet elegant versions of classic drinks as well as a few of their own – the coffee menu here is massive as well. Or, pair your craft cocktail with a cult classic at Gigglewaters Social Club & Screening Room on Safety Harbor’s Main Street, which screens movies as it slings silver screen-inspired drinks. In Dunedin, Sonder Social Club serves up an imaginative cocktail menu that includes mellifluous (shaken) and sonorous (stirred) options.
Does uncovering a lesser-known varietal in a stylish setting sound like your idea of fun? If so, check out Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe in the Grand Central District, a hip indoor-outdoor space offering a curated wine menu, an excellent beer list and a huge selection of bottles you can take with you. Head to CellarMasters in St. Pete’s Edge District for hard-to-find labels and a super-playful vibe. In Safety Harbor, Sips Wine Bar has dozens of wines to choose from, many you can pour yourself at their self-serve wine taps.
If the mellowing effects of expertly brewed kava are more your style, St. Pete/Clearwater is a hub for kava bars. There’s always a great special at Kilo’s Kava & Tea Bar in Safety Harbor, which features kava varieties from across the Pacific Islands on its menu. Grassroot Kava is a welcoming spot with outdoor seating along St. Pete’s Central Avenue in the Edge District. In St. Pete's historic Kenwood neighborhood, Bula Kafe Kava Bar has extensive outdoor seating and was one of the first kava bars in the region. Low Tide Kava Bar in low-key Gulfport serves up kava and coffee in Art Village Courtyard, a popular meeting spot in town.
It’s easy to find a delicious, freshly brewed cup of java at one of St. Pete/Clearwater’s many local coffee establishments. Perhaps best known is Kahwa Coffee, a growing local chain you’ll know from its bright yellow to-go cups. You can even find your favorite Kahwa roast in the form of scented candles at some of their locations (yes, they’re so popular that they have merch). And with its zero-waste policy, bohemian vibe and pastry selection that often includes vegan empanadas, Black Crow Coffee’s two locations in St. Pete have become welcoming third places for many locals and visitors alike. Bandit Coffee in the Grand Central District caters to a discerning coffee crowd, and offers a full breakfast and brunch menu. In Treasure Island, friendly service, tasty beverages and open-air seating have put Coffee Grounds Cafe and Cocktail Bar on the map. Stop into Indian Shores Coffee for java drinks with a laid-back vibe. On Clearwater Beach, get your caffeine fix at Coffee Culture Cafe & Eatery, which offers breakfast and lunch, too.