And so, are just a block or less to the beach! Get your sun time in and toddle that short distance, plop down in a booth or barstool for some great food and live music. Oh, and perhaps a drink?
We started up in Nassau County – read about the one A1A bar we found there, here – and made our way to St. John’s County. We’re driving on down the coast on the A1A to give you a list of the best bar sampling along the way. Remember: it’s not called bar hopping, nor bar crawling. We sample.
361 A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine Beach
- VIBE: Locals mostly, in an area that can be rather crowded with tourists. Repeat customers who have been coming here for over 20 years.
- ARRIVE: Plenty of parking out front (and obviously we won’t be arriving by boat at any of the A1A bars!)
- SIT: Inside downstairs, but most of us want to sit upstairs outside under an umbrella, with a view of the ocean!
- SIP: Happy hour is Monday through Saturday, 3 to 7 p.m.
- NOSH: Try the pastry baked gravy covered burger (I know, but try it! YUM) or the crab cakes that are as good as the ones in Maryland!.I grew up there, so I know.
- LISTEN: Live music Thursday through Sunday.
- WE LOVE: The affordable prices, the staying power of a restaurant that holds its own for decades. Oh, and the fact that it’s painted pink!
4000 A1A South
St. Augustine Beach
- VIBE: Everyone welcome, from Lilly Pulitzer-wearing socialites to bearded bikers.
- ARRIVE: Giant parking lot out front.
- SIT: Tons of seating inside, upstairs and down, and an outdoor area along the side.
- SIP: Happy hour Monday through Friday 3 – 6:47 p.m. (I’m dying to know why 6:47? And I forgot to ask…)
- NOSH: How about a giant twice-baked potato? Or try their famous baby back ribs; we did, delish!
- LISTEN: Live music every day.
- WE LOVE: They also serve breakfast; not a lot of beach bars do. Also the 44 televisions for The Game!
6896 A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine but actually Crescent Beach
About 5 1/2 miles south of St. Augustine Beach is Crescent Beach, a quieter but friendly little beach town where the business owners often use St. Augustine as their address… I’m thinking because of the recognition factor. But you know how we are: we want to explore the small towns that don’t have any fame! This place was our kind of town, our kind of beach bar.
- VIBE: Tiki-kitschy heaven; adorable. A tad dark on the inside but that was welcome on a sweltering August afternoon!
- ARRIVE: Some parking out front and down the side, and there is a large public parking lot right across the side street.
- SIT: Inside at the bar or several seating areas inside. The outside area seems the most fun – when it’s not 100 degrees.
- SIP: Happy hour Monday through Friday 4 – 7 p.m.
- NOSH: Heart stopping bacon cheeseburger, anyone? My Beachside Salad felt a bit healthier (a bit) with sliced ham, pepperoni, salami, provolone, and black olives. It was super fresh and huge and I ate it all.
- LISTEN: Live music Friday and Saturday.
- WE LOVE: The quality of the food, and the pet-friendly outside patio.
We didn’t find any A1A beach bars in Duval County. Perhaps we missed them? There are plenty of fun places to visit there – read about the perfect mix of low-key and upscale in Atlantic Beach, here.
What are your favorite beach bars that overlook the A1A? We’re compiling our list, planning the next bar sample – Flagler County is next – so please let us know!
St. John’s County is on the east coast of Florida, starting with Ponte Vedra at the north end and Crescent Beach at the south.