There's a certain atmosphere that can't be replicated anywhere else besides a beach bar. Like the waves crashing around you, your worries slip away when you're handed your fruity, tropical, tiki cocktail (that most people would be ashamed to order anywhere else), dig your toes in the sand, and plop down in a cabana chair. Shirt and shoes are hardly a requirement, there are beautiful people all around, and there's music going in the background. Really, every summer should include at least one trip to a beach bar.
It's why we've rounded up what we believe to be the best beach bars in America. It's not just the proximity to the water or sand that makes these bars stand out from their landlocked neighbors (although that certainly boosted these 10 bars' scores).
Palm trees, tiki torches, and obviously, tiki cocktails all help make a beach bar stand out from the rest. And no two beach bars are alike - at a beach bar, you can find everything from a $6 Sailor Jerry's shot to a menu of $1,000 bottle service of Cristal, Grey Goose, Dom Perignon. You can find sleek cabanas and day beds alongside thatched roofs, lobster, and french fries. From chic clubs to divey dives, we appreciate all that is a beach bar.
Sure, our criteria might seem a little bit silly - we really just wish the Sauza lifeguard was hanging out at every one of these dive bars. But each of these beach bars stands out for encapsulating surf, sand, and the beach attitude we wish we could experience year-round. Click ahead for our best bets for beach bars this summer - from coast to coast, you won't be disappointed.
With research and reporting by Emily Sundberg
Nikki Beach Miami, Miami
No one knows better how to party than those in South Beach, Fla. - or at Nikki Beach. It's just your average restaurant-slash-nightclub-slash-oceanfront beach club with a rotating list of DJs, cocktails, and fanfare (like aerial performers, naturally). Sure, it's a little more club-y than a relaxing beach, but what do you expect in Miami, anyways?
Proximity to Water: 300 feet.
Drink Specials: Signature cocktails, but the bar is best known for its insane bottle service menu. If you have $700 to spare, might we suggest the Johnnie Walker Blue bottle service? Or perhaps $10,000 for a jeroboam of Cristal? If not, it's just a cool $300 for a bottle of Wild Turkey.
Dress Code: The formal dress code "includes casual daywear and beach chic attire," but plenty of pictures suggest that bikinis are most definitely welcomed.
Proximity to Hot Lifeguard: Pretty far from lifeguards, but plenty of hot people in and out of the bar, or so pictures suggest.
Music: Rotating DJs can only mean one thing: it's going to get loud.
Risk of Sand in Your Drink: Low chance of sand mishaps, thanks to the number of tables, daybeds, and cabanas... but you never know.
The Beachcomber, Cape Cod, Mass.
With a menu that offers a full raw bar, the best view in Cape Cod, and an assortment of "jumbo" specialty drinks, The Beachcomber is definitely on our list of awesome bars on the beach. Parking is $15 until 4 p.m., but in exchange, you get a $15 voucher to use at the restaurant. This is the top summer spot for food, friends, and drinks for lunch or dinner. But don't leave yet! The bar turns into a nightclub after the sunsets on the beach, and they have live music with a full calendar of summer performers!
Proximity to Water: 400 feet.
Drink Specials: There are 11 cocktails, and the signature drink is the "Goombay Smash," but the list includes plenty of margaritas and daiquiris, too. Happy Hour changes weekly.
Dress Code: No shirt, no shoes, no problem.
Proximity to Hot Lifeguard: Just down at the beach, so lots to look at ahead.
Music: Different DJ's rotate each week, with plenty of live music on the weekends.
Risk of Sand in Drink: If you're out on the patio, you might be at risk - you can literally walk out of parking lot into sand.
Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar, Carolina Beach, N.C.
Nestled between the dunes in Carolina Beach, the Ocean Grill and Tiki Bar is a little haven out on the sea. The upstairs dining room offers fresh coastal seafood and panoramic views, while down on the Center Pier (which was partially destroyed during the 1994 Hurricane Fran), the Tiki Bar offers the best of North Carolinian beers and tiki cocktails. Catch some surf and sun, while basking in tiki tunes on the weekend.
Proximity to Water: 125 feet, even closer if you're out on the pier
Drink Specials: There are more than 20 beers on the menu (including North Carolina selections), about 10 wines by the glass, and 11 cocktails including the "Ocean Potion" (vanilla vodka, coconut water, splash of mango nectar, and lime) and the Tamarindo (Absolut Vanilla vodka, tamarind nectar, and ginger soda).
Dress Code: Shoes and shirt required, but at least a bikini cover-up will suffice.
Proximity to Hot Lifeguard: That pier is an excellent lookout for babes.
Music: Tiki shows every Thursday and Sunday.
Risk of Sand in Your Drink: If it's windy, it's a-coming for your drink - but that close to the water, we don't mind.