Enjoy a frozen concoction, frosty cerveza, or tropical rum punch at our favorite US Gulf Coast waterfront bars, craft breweries and distilleries, and fun beach bars. I have lovingly labelled this topic the #USGulpCoast portion of my #USGulfCoast coverage.
Craft Beverage Spots Along the US Gulf Coast
The following coastal bars, craft breweries, distilleries, and other local favorite places to drink in the five #USGulfCoast states are sorted by state and listed from east to west. Thank you to the US Gulf Coast experts and fans who contributed to this article. Please leave comments with your favorites and we will try to visit them on future US Gulf Coast getaways.
>>> Florida Gulf Coast Bars and Breweries
First Flight Island Restaurant & Brewery in Key West by Lori Sorrentino from Travlinmad
Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood, First Flight Island is the southernmost brewery in the USA and well worth seeking out for its fun atmosphere and good cocktails, and because they are located at the original birthplace of Pan American airlines.
This Key West brewery serve three craft beers—an ale, IPA, and a citrus wheat, all brewed in house—and make their own Sangria. Belly up to the ‘Crash Bar’ to sip your drink on part of a seaplane that crashed through the roof. Good food and appetizers, and really great beers make First Flight one of Key West’s hidden gems and a unique place to eat and drink in the Conch Republic.
Key West First Legal Rum Distillery in Key West by Carrick Buss from Along For the Trip
Key West First Legal Rum Distillery may have a long name, but it won’t take long to appreciate the tasty spirits they are churning out in Key West. Drop by for free mojito-making classes or a free tour. We discovered them during the Key Lime Pie Hop which happens each July. Their rum can be enjoyed at the distillery or throughout Key West at various bars and retailers.
Sharkey’s Pub and Galley Restaurant in Key Largo by Halef from TheRTWGuys
Key Largo is the first stop driving south from mainland Florida. The relaxed feel island life grips you right away. Fishing, along with scuba diving in Key Largo, are the two of the island’s biggest draws. A great spot to have dinner and chill with friends after a day of diving is Sharkey’s Pub, found on the canal side of Key Largo Harbor. Sharkey’s offers usual seafood platters, as well as a good selection of beer and island-themed drinks.
Bone Hook Brewing in Naples by Charles McCool
Although Bone Hook is a large scale restaurant, the owner described it to me as “a brewery with a restaurant rather than an eatery with beer.” Bone Hook Brewing started a few years ago producing beer for the local Phelan Group, owner of 13 Pinchers locations and four other properties. They became successful enough to open their own location in October 2018 and are the only place to distribute kegs and serve food between Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale.
Naples Beach Brewery in Naples by Charles McCool
This was the first craft brewery to open between Sarasota and Miami; doors opened October 2012. Will, the Naples Beach Brewery brewmaster, honed his brewing skills in Munich and says their Line Dropper (with mango and ginger) put them on the map. I love the creative fruit flavors at this Naples FL brewery.
Riptide Brewing Company in Naples by Lori Sorrentino from Travlinmad
A beautiful wood topped bar, sofas, and cafe style tables make for a relaxed and inviting taproom. Featured house beers produced on the premises include a variety of ales, IPAs, stouts and a porter, or go for a flight of four five ounce pours to help you decide on your favorite.
Riptide Brewery serves only snacks but on event nights, there’s a different food truck each week. The brewery is small but centrally located near Old Town so you’ll always find a crowd. It’s a great place to relax and one of the unique things to enjoy in Naples, Florida.
The Belgian Monk in Punta Gorda by Charles McCool
Rolling into Punta Gorda early afternoon, Julie and I found this local gem for a quick pint (or two) and some food. Operating barely a year (opened December 2017), Belgian Monk is a Belgian style pub, carrying some local brews, serving delicious fries, kebaps, and salads. It has three owners and we met one, a philosophy professor at nearby Florida Southwest College who drives a 1960’s VW Bug with the license plate DA MONK.
Fat Point Brewing in Punta Gorda by Charles McCool
Open since the day after Christmas 2012, Fat Point Brewing quenches the cravings of southwest Florida beer lovers with a rotating inventory of small batch, hand crafted brews. Nearby is Alligator Bay Distillers, which I must visit on my next southwest Florida gulf coast trip.
Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery in Cape Coral by Charles McCool
Siesta Key Oyster Bar in Siesta Key (Sarasota) by Charles McCool
After one of the best sunsets you will experience—complete with a drum circle featuring hundreds of people—quickly head to Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB), because it gets CROWDED. Thankfully, SKOB has outdoor and indoor seating and bars. I love the huge oak tree framing the entrance. The Dark & Stormy here was potent and they feature dozens of Florida craft beers. Oh, be sure to bring a few dollar bills to hang from the ceiling or walls.
Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach (Anna Maria Island) by Charles McCool
Another top Florida beach sunset spot is Anna Maria Island and Beach Bistro in Holmes Beach conveniently has a daily sunset celebration. Kick off your Olu Kais, grab a glass of bubbly, and toast another enjoyable and memorable #USGulfCoast day. If you stay for dinner, order both lobster appetizers as they are spectacular. Beach Bistro is one of the highest rated US restaurants by Zagat but definitely has that Florida relaxed luxury beach vibe.
Sea Critters in Pass-a-Grille (St. Pete Beach) by Charles McCool
Snuggled up against the Avenue bridge to Mud Key find the delightful local Pass-a-Grille bar called Sea Critters (also called Red, White, and Booze). The happy hour special margaritas are worth a drive down from St. Pete Beach.
Sea Dog Brewing in Treasure Island (Clearwater Beach) by Charles McCool
This southern outpost of the popular Maine-based Sea Dog Brewing Company does not disappoint. I typically head straight into their Wild Blueberry but on my last visit I ordered a flight in order to try a few others. The food is pretty good at this Clearwater Beach bar, especially the fish tacos and burgers.
Cigar City Brewing in Tampa by Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA
A heavyweight in the Florida craft beer scene, Cigar City Brewing has been turning out delicious brews since 2009. Head to the West Tampa tasting room to sample a large collection of flagship and specialty brews. High volume brews are in the growler bar up front, and the back bar offers over 20 taps serving everything from the popular Jai Alai IPA to the high end Bamburana Double-Aged Stout. Beer fans also stop by for brewery tours and Cigar City gear.
Cigar City Cider and Mead in Ybor City (Tampa) by Julie McCool from Fun in Fairfax VA
Ybor City, once the heart of cigar production in America, is now home to hip restaurants and clubs drawing Tampa tourists and residents for fun with a dose of history. Cigar City Cider and Mead operates a brewery and tasting room in the heart of Ybor, serving a tasty collection of craft brews. Try the Homemade Apple Pie Cider, with flavors of cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg or the elderflower and prickly pear flavored Wise Prick.
Monkey Bar & Grill in Homosassa by Vicky Sosa from Buddy the Travel Monkey
Riverside Crab House in Homosassa, just outside of Crystal River, Florida is a fun and unique restaurant. The waterfront tiki bar even has a small island in front with real monkeys! Visitors can see the monkeys swinging on ropes and playing around, all from inside the restaurant.
During our visit, we ordered the “Monkey Juice” which had spiced rum, coconut rum, peach schnapps, banana liquor, orange and pineapple juice, and a splash of grenadine. It was delicious!
Flora-Bama by Chris Christensen from Amateur Traveler
The Flora-Bama is a bar with live music 365 days a year on the border between Pensacola Beach Florida and Orange Beach Alabama. Flora-Bama is the home of the Bushwacker—think alcoholic chocolate frosty drink—and the Mullet Toss event. You can see bras hanging above their stage that have been thrown at the band, or for a change of pace they hold church services on Sunday mornings.
The Interstate Mullet Toss at Flora-Bama is one of the most Fun Things To Do on US Gulf Coast in April.
>>> Places to Drink Along the Alabama Gulf Coast: Alabama Gulf Coast Bars
Flora-Bama by Charles McCool
You are not seeing double, my friends! Because Flora-Bama straddles the state line between Orange Beach, Alabama and Pensacola Beach, Florida, I will list it for both states.
I attended the church service at this beach bar—with a potent rum Bushwacker!
Big Beach Brewing in Gulf Shores by Charles McCool
With 12 freshly brewed beers on tap, Big Beach Brewing will surely have something you will like. Although they do not yet can or bottle their liquid gold, bring a growler to take your favorite back to your beach condo. The property is fun, with plenty of outdoor seating and games, bring your kids and dogs but cigs or vape sticks are not allowed.
The Noble South in Mobile by Charles McCool
I had an amazing lunch earlier in the day at The Noble South and then returned to the scene of the dine (ha!) that evening as part of a cool Prohibition Cocktail Tour. Our tour also stopped at Alchemy Tavern, but a couple of us decided to also go to The Haberdasher after the tour for a final drink. Mobile is a fun place to find many drinks, classic or modern.
Dauphins in Mobile by Charles McCool
High above Grind City and overlooking Mobile Bay is one of Mobile AL’s best restaurants, Dauphin’s. A dark & stormy tastes better with this magnificent view. Whatever drink you choose, pair it with the Poke appetizer because (US Gulf Coast Travel tip) the chef trained in Maui and won Poke challenges.
>>> Coastal Mississippi Bars and Breweries
Hops and Growlers in Ocean Springs by Charles McCool
Come for the grit beer and stay for the 19 other brews. OK, Hops and Growlers in magnificent Ocean Springs may not always have a beer with grits but if they do, get it. Their 20 beers, always changing, range from a light pils to barrel sours to thick stouts.
Crooked Letter Brewing Company in Ocean Springs by Charles McCool
On my next Coastal Mississippi and #SecretCoast visit, I plan to check out Crooked Letter Brewing Company. Their beer labels are very artsy and attractive, and I hope their beer is tasty. Have you been? Let me know what you think! I am excited that Crooked Letter Brewing offers food in their Ocean Springs location, across the street from the must visit Greenhouse on Porter.
Biloxi Beer Company in Biloxi by Charles McCool
- US Gulf Coast Travel NOTE: Biloxi Brewing has closed. Please support your favorite small business so that they do not suffer the same fate.
Walking distance from Beau Rivage, Hard Rock Biloxi, and MGM Park (Go Shuckers!), Biloxi Beer Company serves tasty Coastal Mississippi craft brew. Gotta say I love their lighter offerings, Biloxi Blonde and a mojito tinted Kölsch variety. Then again, I also loved their Black Gold stout. I am thankful they sell sampler sizes so that I can try them all!
Chandeleur Brewing Company in Gulfport by Charles McCool
Make your own flight? Thank you very much. I love that Chandeleur Brewing Company in Gulfport, Mississippi sells their delicious craft beers in several sizes. Seeing the Sampler size, we decided to order every one. That is the only proper way to do it, right? #USGulpCoast style! Chandy—at least on this visit (and what I heard from regulars)—rocks the sours and Belgians but I enjoyed the Satsuma cream ale the most! Cannot wait to go back to this Gulfport MS bar and brewery.
Lazy Magnolia in Kiln by Amber Hoffman from With Husband in Tow
45 minutes down Interstate 10 from Biloxi, Mississippi lies the town of Kiln, population 2500. Tucked behind the local high school you’ll find The Porch at Lazy Magnolia Brewery, producers of some of the best craft beer on the Gulf Coast. Mississippi’s oldesy brewery, Lazy Magnolia produces 16 different craft beers highlighted by the simply delicious Southern Pecan Stout. Tours of the brewery are available starting at $10 per person.
>>> Cool Louisiana Gulf Coast Bars and Places to Drink
Bayou Adventure in Lacombe by Charles McCool
Jeff at Bayou Adventure in Lacombe claims to carry the best selection of Louisiana craft beer in the state. Now that is a quest to prove. Who wants to join me on a #USGulfCoast road trip for that mission? Back to the task at hand which in this case (double puns there, y’all) is enjoying a frosty Louisiana craft beer while kayaking Bayou Cane between Fontainebleau State Park to Lake Pontchartrain. So very #FeedYourSoul and #OnlyLouisiana. Bayou Adventure will outfit you with whatever you want to do in Real Louisiana, calling themselves the “concierge for the refuge and bayou area.” Just hope a gator does not bump your kayak, as happened to me, while you are sipping. Yikes!
Abita Brewing Company in Abita Springs by Charles McCool
The oldest and largest craft beer maker is Louisiana is Abita Brewing Company. Their products are produced in small batches so you will always get something fresh. Brewery tours include a few samples or stop in the tasting room to select your own. In addition, Abita is popular for their root beer and craft sodas.
Houmas House and Gardens in Darrow by Charles McCool
Once I heard the mint julep was invented here—and saw the table on which the first mint julep was made during a house tour—I knew what my drink order would be. Houmas House is not your ordinary plantation property and a mint julep in its original setting just might be that transformative travel experience you seek. Or perhaps it will be after three mint juleps!
Finn McCools in New Orleans by Charles McCool
For a taste of Ireland in mid-city New Orleans, Finn McCools is your place. I am naturally drawn to all things McCool because it is my surname (yes, I was born this way!). After reading the book “Finn McCool’s Football Club,” I really had to visit this New Orleans pub. The book chronicles the ex-pat patrons—who also comprise the soccer team—and their contributions to the city after the devastation from hurricane Katrina.
Crying Eagle Brewing Company in Lake Charles by Charles McCool
The name Crying Eagle honors the Native American heritage of the area; it is the name of a chief, the local river, and the surrounding Parish. There are typically 16 beer on tap and the website warns you when one (or more) are almost gone and notifies you when new beers are tapped. The Bistro offers pizzas, sandwiches, and salads. The space was developed for fun times.
Rikenjaks Brewing Company in Lake Charles by Charles McCool
What is better than dining and drinking outside on a pleasant #USGulfCoast evening? Rikenjaks Brewing Company is the only restaurant and brewpub in Southwest Louisiana. They offer draft beers from other Louisiana breweries (including Abita and Crying Eagle) and you must visit on Thursday for $1 margaritas (9pm until closing).
Tipitina’s in New Orleans by Jerome Shaw from Travel Boldly
If you’d like a little music with your booze then Tipitina’s is the New Orleans bar for you. Tipitinas’s brings in some of the best R&B, Rock, and Jazz acts into their odd but intimate venue at the corner of Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. The name Tipitina is derived from a song by Professor Longhair, who was a regular performer until his death in 1980. The building dates back to 1912 and had previous incarnations as a gambling house, gym, and a brothel. It is a great place to catch an up and coming musicians while you sip a Sazerac, one of New Orleans’ favorite cocktails.
Bayou Rum Distillery in Lacassine by Jerome Shaw from Travel Boldly
Bayou Rum brings you a taste of the Louisiana Delta. Whether your tastes run to a simple rum and Coke or a Dark & Stormy you’ll find the rum here at Bayou Rum Distillery in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana. A special rum I recommend the Satsuma Rum Liqueur, created from locally sourced Satsuma tangerines combined with barrel-aged rum made from Louisiana sugar cane. Laissez les bon temps rouler with XO Mardi Gras Rum in honor Louisiana’s most celebrated holiday. Bayou Rum Distillery offers tours and tastings and their products are available for sale onsite.
>>> Texas Gulf Coast Bars
Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp in Beaumont by Lo Monitz from The Down Lo
Right on the border of the Louisiana-Lone Star states, Beaumont and neighboring Port Arthur are the Mardi Gras Capital of Texas. Known far and wide for their Creole and Cajun specialties, beyond the boudin and gumbo, Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp is also the place to toss one back—in Texas-sized portions. Their margaritas and frozen drinks are a guaranteed good time, and there is often live music to set the mood.
Wanna Wanna Inn Beach Bar in South Padre Island by Charles McCool
Visit Wanna Wanna South Padre Island for a fun and lively beach bar atmosphere. Correct me, SPI experts, but Wanna Wanna might be the only actual drinking place located on the beach. They feature fantastic drinks (try the turbo colada), deck seating (covered and open), adjacent grill and hotel rooms, live music, and beach volleyball action, but my favorite feature is being right on that luscious sand.
Phew, thank you for sticking with this list of cool, happy, and fun places to drink along the US Gulf Coast. By no means is this a comprehensive list. That would be a lifetime quest (any volunteers researchers?). Please, however, comment with your favorite US Gulf Coast bar. This #USGulpCoast article will be updated as needed!