You’re on vacation in Florida, and you set your sights on Anna Maria Island — a short drive from Bradenton Beach — with its beautiful white-sand beaches, some of the most fantastic fishing spots in the Gulf, and unforgettable dining experiences. But let’s not forget the Anna Maria Island bars and all they have to offer. Which one do you visit on your first day to take your mind off things and settle into the island vibe?
The Doctor’s Office
Don’t let the name fool you; this is not your general practitioner’s office in Holmes Beach, though it is housed in a former Doctor’s office. The Doctor’s Office features upscale casual dining, craft cocktails made before your very eyes, and an enthusiastic staff guaranteed to create a memorable night on AMI.
Their bar menu is extensive, with shrimp cocktail, muffuletta sandwiches, cheese plates, and even duck liver pate, but you’re here for the cocktails. A few local favorites include:
- Kiss Kiss Bang Bang — Beefeater gin, muddled blackberries, fresh lemon, and St. Germaine elderflower liquor
- Last Word — Beefeater gin, green chartreuse, Luxardo maraschino liquor, and fresh lime
- Preferred Remedy — Old Overholt rye, Nux Alpina black walnut liquor, sweet vermouth, black walnut bitters
The Doctor’s Office is a family-friendly bar with excellent food and accessibility options for everyone to enjoy their offerings!
Chances are you are one of the many who enjoy a fine dining experience alongside your favorite cocktails while on your annual getaway down Gulf Drive. If so, then Hurricane Hanks — a local sports bar— is calling your name.
With a menu ranging from fish tacos to crab cakes to fried artichokes — great food for the whole family — this is one establishment that takes full advantage of the nearby water.
But you want to hear more about those delicious cocktails, right? There are many, and they all taste unbelievably like a vacation. Don’t worry about Covid, as the bar is only seating 50% of its occupancy, so you’ll be safe and socially distanced while enjoying your unique beverage.
We’re talking about tasty drinks such as the Chambord Lemon Drop or a classic but organic Strawberry Margarita. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their Hurricane!
Bamboo Island Bar
As perhaps one of the highest-rated Anna Maria Island bars along Bridge Street, Bamboo Island Bar attracts plenty of tourists year-round, but it’s a favorite among locals too.
Their food menu is quite limited, with its small plates, and each dish is somewhat expensive, yet fancy, so you’ll likely want to stick with their drink menu, which is reasonably priced. A cocktail will set you back anywhere between less than $10 per person, which is slightly cheaper than other options in the area.
When it comes to the drinks, you will not be disappointed. The Brazilian Vodka Sangria, Island Mule, Mimosas, and other cocktail staples make appearances. But the island bar also features fruity island drinks that are, like, the law to try when you’re on vacation.
Bamboo Island Bar features live music regularly for that authentic adventure feeling to genuinely complete the island vibe.
Dcoy Ducks Bar & Grille
If you prefer to chill with a young crowd hanging out along Marina Drive, get a little bit rowdy (within limits), and genuinely have a good time on the weekend, then Dcoy Ducks Bay & Grille may just become your new go-to home-away-from-home here at Anna Maria Island.
Dcoy Ducks may not be known for their food, but with a nightlife like this, you can skip an evening meal and enjoy a fantastic cocktail made in front of you at the bar. The bartenders are attentive, friendly, and happy to help out-of-towners find their new favorite drink.
Of course, if you’re not open to trying anything new, Dcoy Ducks does feature more of the vacation staples, like margaritas, which are fan-favorites.
The Ugly Grouper
Now, with a name like that, you would expect something a little dingier, right? You’d be wrong, though, because The Ugly Grouper is a highly rated beach bistro along the marina. The food is fantastic, the drinks are plentiful, and the people are worth seeing and dancing with.
You may especially love the outdoor seating, with the sand between your toes as you sip your margarita in absolute style. If you’re feeling a little peckish, gator bites, bruschetta, ugly nachos, and jumbo wings, come out of the kitchen at lightning speed.
But if you’re here for the drinks, as we suspect, here are a few local favorites to try on your next trip:
- Coral Reef — Svedka cucumber lime vodka, watermelon liquor, pineapple & lime soda
- Beach Babe — Svedka raspberry vodka, sour, lemon-lime soda, and cranberry juice
- Anna Maria Mule — Tito’s handmade vodka, key lime juice, cranberry, Gosling’s ginger beer
Alongside their original favorites, The Ugly Grouper also features frozen drinks, ‘Classic Island Libations,’ and margaritas. We give preferential treatment to the Mermaid Mojito, with its lime, mango, or dragon berry flavors — ideal for a beachfront happy hour.
Well, there you have it—five of the absolute best Anna Maria Island bars for your next island time getaway. Get out of your vacation rental, sit down at the beach, and sip your new favorite drink in style!