I love the month of May here in south Florida. It’s that time of year, especially mid-May when us locals get to have our favorite places back, to ourselves. Before summer vacationers arrive, we have a few brief weeks to enjoy the bars and restaurants without long waits. I put together just a few places that are fun, make you feel like you are on vacation and are not too expensive.
Most listed have some type of view, whether it’s a water view or just people watching you will find some great places to enjoy.
Woody’s River Roo, 5717 18th Street East, Ellenton. This local hangout along the Manatee River will be having live music for the Memorial Day weekend. If you go, try the homemade onion rings or the Roo’s blue crab cakes. Oh, and don’t forget about the drink specials! The Patron pitcher of Margaritas is perfect to wash it all down. I’m not sure why, but a cold margarita always tastes better by the water.
Swordfish Grill and Tiki, 4628 119th St West, Cortez. If you want to be waterside in a fun, casual environment then Swordfish Grill is the perfect place. Come early on Saturday, between 4 PM-6PM for happy hour. Save room for the homemade Key Lime Pie. Live music starts at noon Saturday and Sunday.
Bridge Tender Inn, 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach (Anna Maria Island). This is one of my favorite places to go after kayaking for a Bloody Mary and to just relax. I normally like to eat outside by the water. Try to black bean soup or the grouper reuben sandwich. Nice staff too.
Siesta Key Oyster Bar, 5238 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. If you are coming from the beach and want a cold beer and good food, then this is your place. This casual restaurant has some really good food. While you’re there, try the key lime seafood flatbread. They have a great Sunday brunch too.
Walt’s Fish Market, 4144 S. Tamiami Trail. I love having a cool drink and conch fritters in the Tiki Bar at Walt’s. This is truly old Florida at its best. Come Friday evening after work and catch some live music. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a weekend.
Casey Key Fish House, 801 Blackburn Point Rd, Osprey (dockage marker 32). At Casey Key Fish House there isn’t a bad seat to be had. I guarantee if you hang out in the Tiki Bar, you will leave knowing a few more people than you did before you arrived. This is a fun, casual Florida mainstay. You can make a day of it here because they offer jet ski rentals, paddle boarding and more. After you work up an appetite enjoy the fresh seafood and live music. And yes, a great water view too.
This Memorial Holiday, we remember those that have fought for our country and celebrate our freedom. Without their sacrifice, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy everything that surrounds us. Be safe and be grateful.
Photos courtesy of depositphotos,Swordfish Grill &Tiki, and Walt’s Fish Market website.