Whether you’re a tourist or a local, St. Augustine has a unique selection of bars and nightclubs to help you take the edge off. Here are some of the favorites:
1. THE ICE PLANT
Stepping into this bar is like stepping back in time. The Ice Plant prides itself on hand-crafted cocktails and hand-carved ice, making it a cornerstone part of every drink. Every cocktail is an experience, giving the customer something that is as much fun to look at as it is to drink.
OUR PICK: the Wet hot American summer — Old Forester bourbon, coconut oolong, lime, Kronan Swedish Punsch, Hamilton Demerara rum, Aperol and cinnamon.
2. A1A ALE WORKS
Boasting an in-house brewery and award-winning handcrafted beer, A1A Ale Works is a beer lover’s best bet for a successful night out. With five specialty beers brewed in-house, a good time is guaranteed. There’s also a balcony offering great views of the bayfront.
TRY A FLIGHT TO CHOOSE YOUR FAVORITE: King Street Light Lager, Porpoise Point IPA, Red Brick Ale, Specialty Dark, Brewer’s Select or sample one of brewer Doug Murr’s seasonal offerings.
3. SAN SEBASTIAN WINERY
For an afternoon of high-class wine and more, try San Sebastian Winery. One of Florida’s premium wineries, San Sebastian Winery is a pioneer in the development of table, sparkling and dessert wines from hybrid and muscadine grapes. The winery produces vintage-dated varietals from hybrids such as Stover and Blanc Du Bois along with blended and sparkling wines from native Muscadine grapes. Complementary tours and tastings, make this stop a perfect getaway for a summer afternoon. There’s even a jazz bar upstairs.
OUR PICK: Vintners white.
4. TABERNA DEL CABALLO
For a step even further back in time, Taberna del Caballo is the place to be. This bar gives guests a mid-18th century atmosphere. Where else could you have a cocktail under the watchful eyes of King Phlip of Spain — the 2nd, 4th and 5th? Enjoy cold drinks in an intimate candlelit atmosphere. It’s pet friendly, has live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and eight specialty drinks.
OUR PICK: Red sangria
Having withdrawals from that Saint Patrick’s Day party? Meehan’s offers a traditional Irish menu, seafood galore, and an array of drink options including Jameson Irish Whiskey and Guinness, of course. There’s also an upstairs deck and outside area for added fun.
OUR PICK: House-made Irish cream
6. CREEKSIDE DINERY
With a beautiful outdoor space, live music and a patio-style bar, Creekside is the perfect place to enjoy a summer night. A tucked away Florida Cracker-style restaurant, Creekside is known for plank cooking — steaks and fish cooked directly on a piece of hardwood. So come hungry. There’s also a bunch of raccoons who enjoy hanging out marsh-side and are fun to watch.
OUR PICK: Sunburn — lemon vodka, cranberry juice and peach schnapps
7. BEACHES AT VILANO
Flanked on the left by the Vilano Beach Pier and on the right by the Usina Bridge, Beaches at Vilano has plenty of outdoor seating, so guests can watch the sun set on the Intracoastal Waterway. With a laid back feel and brilliant views of the Tolomato River, this is a great place to enjoy some seafood and a beachy cocktail.
OUR PICK: Key lime martini
8. SALT LIFE
Ocean views and a trendy atmosphere are only a couple of highlights of this St. Augustine beach staple. The two-story bar and restaurant is a social hub on the island and can make even the most gloomy Monday feel like a vacation. Salt Life features a full bar and a super cool aquarium.
OUR PICK: Salty margarita
9. NO NAME BAR
Daily specials and a great view of the Castillo de San Marcos (it’s across the street) set this choice apart. A popular downtown watering hole for the late night hours (open until 2 a.m.), the No Name Bar features cheap drinks and some pretty cool art on the walls. Besides, who can resist a bar with no name? The unique vibe guarantees a good time for everyone.
OUR PICK: Tullamore Dew on Whiskey Wednesdays
St. Augustine Record, Food Section, November 21, 2017