CL Big Game Guide: Gulf Beaches South

click to enlarge Just another beautiful day at Caddy's on the Beach. - Marina Williams
Marina Williams
Just another beautiful day at Caddy's on the Beach.

It's our very own South Beach, sort of — at least in the sense that the establishments listed here are on the southern prong of our long, long Gulf Coast/Pinellas peninsula. But really, this area has none of the glitzy vibe of that other South Beach. There are pretty people with tans, sure, but the character of this stretch of fine and funky beach bars is much more relaxed — even the Don CeSar, imposing though it seems, is a welcoming sort of place. Pick a bar, grab a rum runner — you'll be here for a while. And don't miss the chance of stopping by the irresistible little town of Gulfport a little further east of the Gulf beaches; it boasts one of the most delightful restaurant rows in Tampa Bay.

1. Caddy's on the Beach. Sunset Beach's quintessential beach bar. And you can bring a beer right out on the sand — legally. 9000 W. Gulf Blvd., Sunset Beach, 727-360-4993,

2. Ka'Tiki. A folk music Mecca across the way from Caddy's on Sunset Beach. 8803 W. Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, 727-360-2272,

3. Swigwam Beach Bar. A miniature haven unprepossessingly located behind a Travelodge and decorated with license plates from all over. 6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-367-2711ext. 331,

4. Jimmy B's Beach Bar. Calls itself "the hottest wet spot on the beach." Nuff said. Beachcomber Resort Hotel, 6200 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-367-1902,

5. Ricky T's Beach Bar. Classic Florida beach bar — in a HoJo's. Howard Johnson's, 6110 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-4575,

6. Harry's Beach Bar/ Compass Grille/ Rum Runners. A range of beachside offerings at the Sirata resort. Sirata Beach Resort, 5300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-363-5100,

7. Crabby Bill's. Casual favorite on St. Pete Beach. 5100 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-8858,

8. The Undertow. Cold drinks, hot people — and volleyball — right on St. Pete Beach. 3850 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-368-9000.

9. Philthy Phil's Waterfront Bar & Grill. A sports bar on the beach, an offshoot of Ferg's. 678 75th Ave., St. Pete Beach, 727-367-9977,

10. Woody's Waterfront Café and Beach Bar. A beloved Florida waterside bar, unassuming and off the beaten boulevard. 7308 Sunset Way, St. Pete Beach, 727-360-9165,

11. Maritana Grille/ Beachcomber Grill/ Sea Porch Café. There's a variety of options available for diners at Don CeSar, aka Big Pink. If you're looking for truly high-end fare, Maritana more than fits the bill; Beachcomber or Sea Porch offer more casual seaside charms. Don CeSar Beach Resort, 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, 727-360-1881,

12. The Hurricane. Fabled multilevel beach bar, looks out over Pass-a-Grille Beach. 807 Gulf Way, St. Pete Beach, 727-360-9558,

13. The Brass Monkey. Climb up the spiral staircase to the outdoor balcony for a broad vista of St. Pete Beach. 709 Gulf Way, Ste. 200, St. Pete Beach, 727-367-7620,

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