It is once again that time of year. We, as a nation, will almost universally spend an entire day eating green food, drinking green beer, and wearing GREEN!
So, the time for lively imbibing is, once again, just around the corner. We will attend parades dedicated to the Holiday; And don green clothes, or else face being pinched. We will hear “Top of the Mornin’ to Ye’” more times than we can count from family & friends. We will eat green food, drink green beer, paint ourselves green, … it’s a whole thing. And, most significantly, we will visit our local pubs, bars, and clubs for “a wee pint.” With this tradition in mind, we thought it would be useful to provide a little information on some of the most popular spots in and around Destin to wet your whistle, whether green or otherwise.
The Big Three:
- McGuire’s – Is there any other bar/restaurant that could claim top spot in this list? No. McGuire’s is the most on-theme of the lot, hence it’s place at number 1. The food, décor, and drinks are all inspired by a nostalgic “Ireland” of yore. The waitresses attend tables while wearing long skirt reminiscent of the 1800’s. Like most pubs, the color scheme is an amalgamation of deep greens and browns. And, possibly a nod to the fact that we are in the U.S., the ceiling is almost entirely covered in dollar bills; All signs of a job well done, and a happy customer. It’s a tradition that goes back to it’s opening. The kitchen serves a myriad of choices, some of which are more traditional fare, like the Irish stew and Sheppard’s Pie, and other food options such as hamburger, sandwiches, steaks and roasts. *One of the more famous menu items is the Senate Bean Soup. It’s my personal favorite, and only 17 cents with an entrée. * And as for the drinks: The Far and Away favorite is the Irish Wake. It will apparently “knock you dead”, which tracks, since the mason jars reportedly “come dirty from the cemetery.” If mixed drinks aren’t your ‘cuppa’ tea, there’s no need to fear. McGuire’s boasts its own wine cellar and a brewery offering pale ales, stouts, including Guinness, as is only right and proper, and most things in between; It also specializes in martinis. In keeping with its roots as an Irish pub, it’s also one of the tops spots to enjoy live local music. It promises to be of the most lively and packed venues on St. Patrick’s Day. Appropriately so. In summation, if you’re in Destin for the event in question, I definitely recommend stopping by for a visit.
- AJ’s– Located conveniently close to Harbor Walk Village, AJ’s is a local favorite for live music, drinks, and seafood. If you’re craving a more Destin specific feel to your St. Paddy’s night, then you won’t go wrong with AJ’s. By day, you can get beach-meets-Southern style cuisine (An Emerald coast staple for an Emerald Isle day) and watch ships pass along the harbor. By night, the dance floor opens, and the pulsing beats urge you to get down. There’s a decent variety of music played here, but the beach vibes are always undeniable. So, if you prefer a more laid-back daytime atmosphere, and party ready nighttime crowd, AJ’s should be near the top of your list.
- The Block – For those seeking variety but wanting to keep the cost of taxi’s and Ubers to a minimum, look no further. The Block is three bars in one. First, you have the “Rock” bar where you can shoot pool, sing, and of course, order as many drinks as you’d like. Then comes the “Country” bar. There you can find country and western music, as one might have guessed, a mechanical bull, and line dancing. There is also, of course, a lar saloon style bar here, so you don’t have to venture far when the thirst overtakes you. This one may not seem immediately like it relates, but it’s a known fact that Country Music from the U.S. was heavily influenced by the Celtic ballads our great pappy’s brought over on the boat. The frontier was forged with the might of Uilleann Pipes. The last bar included at this venue is the “Hip-Hop” bar. This bar primarily serves as a dance club, where the primary genres on offer are hip-hop, reggaeton, and remixes of the two previously mentioned. There are poles for swinging on, should the urge take you, and a DJ to whom you may make requests. There is also a bar from which to procure drinks.
- Lucky’s Rotten Apple – The biggest draw to Lucky’s is their famous Power Hour. From the hours of 11p until 2am every Friday and Saturday, you can get $5 shots, $3 well drinks,$2 Fireball shots, and tacos.
- Coyote Ugly – The next largest bar in the vicinity of Harbor Walk Village, second in size to AJ’s. Coyote Ugly is a chance to let down your hair and howl at the moon. Their claim to fame is pretty well known, but for those who didn’t see the movie: The bartenders tend to be attractive women who, throughout the evening, dance on the bar.
- The Near Entire Downtown Fort Walton Beach Area – We will likely doa more extensive look at these local bars in another installment, but for the time being, we’d just like to say a few quick things: There are at least a half-dozen small bars located in about a quarter mile strip on Highway 98, which can be found over the Brook’s Bridge past Okaloosa Island. These establishments are generally low-key, and more for relaxing with friends playing pool rather than clubbing and the like. These dive spots are also more likely than their Destin counterparts to serve food until later. If you want a place open a little later that’s within walking distance of a large public access beach, these are a safe bet.