Summer officially kicks off today, but we've been feeling the heat since, well, last summer. Here at Short Order, we know the best way to cool off is watching the waves with a beer in hand. So we're bringing you our five favorite waterside bars:
5. Carrabba's Italian Grill
OK, we know you're thinking, Carrabba's? That chain with the halfway decent pasta my parents always drag me to? Yes, that's the one. But the Carrabba's in South Beach is in a whole different universe. Located right on the beach, it's a place where customers in shorts and T-shirts can still get seated. But what stands out is the outdoor tiki bar. It's one of the few SoBe bars that are actually on the sand. Just make sure to go during happy hour -- all drinks, including draft beers and liquors, are two for one.
4. Monty's Coconut Grove
The laid-back atmosphere at Monty's in Coconut Grove is what sold us. It's all about tiki huts, picnic tables, and island-inspired live jams. The view of the marina and Biscayne Bay is also one of the nicest in town. Although the food is not as nice, this is definitely a place we would keep visiting to enjoy a few pitchers by the water.
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Something's gotta be said about a bar that you can access by boat. Shuckers, nestled right next to Biscayne Bay, allows customers to park at the docks. We stay away from the $10 signature drinks, but the draft beer ranges from $3 to $4, with pitchers ranging from $11 to $15. Bottles come in at $5 to $6. The beach volleyball court is a great place to spend a weekend afternoon, and most of all, we like that the website says the place is open from "11 a.m. till late."
Although the downtown area around Sharkey's is usually flooded with tourists, the small dive bar is all about the locals. The chalkboard menu's fried bar bites, such as onion rings and calamari, as well as the venue's machine games and large TV screens, draw all kinds of folks for happy hour and local sports games. Sharkey's serves only beer and wine, but it has ten beers on tap and more than 100 bottles from around the world. So take your favorite cold one to an outdoor table by the bay and watch the boats drift by.
1. RSMAS Wetlab
This is the finest place to drink in the land. Miamiland, that is. Wetlab is a hidden treasure buried deep on the Virginia Key coastline. At first you'll feel like you're sneaking into school when it's closed. After parking outside the University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, you'll have to walk through a buoy-filled back lot and a cavernous hall full of stuffed sea life. Although the inside is unimpressive (a few white cabinets and some taps), you can get almost any drink for less than $5 and take it to the upstairs patio for a bayfront view. Beers on tap include Sam Adams, Yuengling, and a rotation of microbrews, with cups starting at $2.75. Just make sure to bring cash. While you're there, walk down to the beach and take a stroll. Rumor has it you might see a bull shark or two.