Summer Nights: Drinks downtown? Or beach bar beverages?
Historic pub, the Palace Saloon on Centre Street, Fernandina Beach
Whether you’re in the historic district of Fernandina Beach near the city marina and Centre Street, or across the island at Amelia’s beaches, here’s just a few suggestions for cocktails and an evening out on the town. (Also see related article, “EVENING OUT: Tours, Activities, Treats For Fun Night in Fernandina,” for additional ideas for family outings, other nighttime tours and things to do.)
For those seeking a place to enjoy a refreshing beverage on a sultry summer evening in Fernandina, try a “Pirate’s Punch” at the historic Palace Saloon, or a “Dark and Stormy” at Dog Star Tavern, both pubs located in the downtown historic district. Is a martini more your style? Sit in a rocking chair on the back porch, watching a sunset over the Amelia River at Brett’s Waterway Cafe at the Fernandina Beach marina, harborfront. Does cruisin’ and boozin’ while listening to tunes sound intriguing? Folks can even get right out on the water for a “Twilight” river cruise (BYOB) with Amelia River Cruises, with live on board entertainment. Take a ride on the waterway and watch the sunset (an adult-themed cruise). Or perhaps you’d rather hang in a tiki bar right on the beach at Sliders located oceanfront at Seaside Park. From historic pubs to casual beach bars, browse this list of nightlife spots for a fun evening out in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
HISTORIC DISTRICT, FERNANDINA BEACH (Several bars walkable from downtown B & Bs & Hampton Inn & Suites at the harborfront)
Historic Palace Saloon, Centre Street – If you’re in downtown Fernandina, try a local favorite cocktail, “Pirate’s Punch,” at the Palace Saloon (113 Centre St.), the oldest continuously-operated drinking establishment in Florida. It’s hard to miss the Palace, as you’ll see the life-sized pirate statue outside the saloon doors at this historic landmark on Amelia Island. However, here’s a real deal! Enjoy a cold beer on tap for 25 cents during “Happy Hour” — from 7 to 9 pm week days. Indeed, quarter drafts are flowing at this historic Florida saloon Monday through Friday evenings! The Palace also offers “Half-Off Happy Hour” every weekday from 3 pm to 7pm with half off liquor, bottle, and draft beer plus house wines. Besides taking advantage of these beverage deals, history buffs will enjoy stepping through the saloon doors. Fernandina Beach has a storied past, and was the stamping ground of pirates, sea captains, and sailors. The Palace Saloon also served elite families of Fernandina and neighboring Cumberland Island, Georgia (including the Carnegies and Rockefellers). The saloon’s 40-foot bar is a wonderful relic from the turn-of-the-century, surrounded by mosaic tile floors, embossed tin ceilings and murals painted on the walls. The founder of Anheuser-Busch, Adolphus Busch, reportedly assisted in designing the elegant bar. The Palace Saloon also offers live entertainment some evenings. Visit The Palace’s web site at www.thepalacesaloon.com or call 904-491-3332 for further information. The Palace Saloon is also on FACEBOOK.
FLORIDA HOUSE INN –The Florida House Inn located at 22 South 3rd Street is said to be Florida’s oldest surviving hotel. Besides hosting overnight guests, the public is invited to step through the doors of this Fernandina landmark to enjoy a cocktail in the Mermaid pub (call 904-491-3322 for business hours). The inn dates back to 1857, built by David Yulee’s Florida Railroad. During the Civil War, Union soldiers occupied the hotel. Notorious guests include Ulysses S. Grant, early film stars such as Laurel & Hardy, and members of America’s elite families, the Rockefellers and Carnegies. To the rear of the Florida House Inn is a lovely courtyard, mermaid fountain and outdoor seating.
GREEN TURTLE TAVERN (next door to FLORIDA HOUSE INN). Located at 14 South 3rd Street. Green Turtle has nice atmosphere for cocktails and conversation including outdoor side porch seating. The Green Turtle Tavern offers 12 beers on draft and wide variety of bottled beers from around the world. Check out the Green Turtle’s Facebook page. Phone: 904-321-2324.
KARIBREW BREW PUB — Does the freshest beer on Amelia Island sound enticing? Then quench your thirst at the only brew pub making home made beer on the island, located in the historic district at 27 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 277-5269 (adjacent to Cafe Karibo). KARIBREW also offers nice bites like soft-shelled crab sandwich, tasty burgers, and great portabella mushroom sandwich. The cafe itself has excellent food, check out their online menu at website: www.cafekaribo.com. See the latest about what’s happening at Cafe Karibo and the pub at their Facebook page.
DOG STAR TAVERN at 10 North 2nd Street, 904-277-8010, just off historic Centre Street (in the White Building, circa 1878).Featuring live music on the weekends. Check out Dog Star Tavern’s FACEBOOK page for latest news and entertainment schedule. Long bar inside, and outside seating in the stable yard. They have some dart boards, too.
BRETT’S WATERWAY CAFE at the Fernandina Beach Harbor Front. Need a sunset to soothe your soul? Sip a Martini while you relax in rocking chairs and witness a gorgeous sunset over the Fernandina Harbor — a view available from the rear porch of Brett’s Waterway Cafe (located at foot of Centre Street). Brett’s has a prime location at the marina on the Amelia River. Take a stroll on the nearby docks to catch a breeze while you admire the yachts at the adjoining Fernandina Beach marina. Call Brett’s for further information about operating hours (summer vs. off season) at 904-261-2660.
HEADING OUT OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICT, GOING EAST TO THE BEACHES, AMELIA ISLAND’S CASUAL BEACH BARS
Sliders oceanfront Tiki bar, rear courtyard on the beach
An Amelia Island landmark, Sliders Seaside Grill is located on oceanfront property at 1998 South Fletcher Avenue at the roundabout at Sadler Road — one of only two restaurant/bars on Amelia Island (non-resort property), that are actually right on the beach (the other being Sandy Bottoms). For drinks right on the beach, there’s a tiki bar outside at the rear of Sliders with live evening entertainment some nights. Sliders has playground equipment off its rear porch, adjacent to the beach, for patrons with kids. Sliders is well known to both locals and visitors, having a presence on Amelia Island since 1945. Adjacent is Seaside Park, with additional parking area (one of Fernandina’s public beach parks). Call Sliders 904-277-6652 for further information at about seasonal operating hours, specials and featured entertainment.
Hammerhead (located at 2045 South Fletcher Ave., across from Seaside Park and Sliders). “A true Florida Dive,” the Hammerhead beach bar attract crowds (especially for their “bikini Sundays,” where folks hang outside on deck and the bartenders are bikini-clad). Call 904-491-7783 for more info, evening operating hours and drink specials.
SANDY BOTTOMS BEACH BAR & GRILL, MAIN BEACH PARK, FERNANDINA
If you’re around Main Beach toward the northern end of Amelia Island and would like a very casual beach bar,Sandy Bottoms is the place. It’s one of only two oceanfront beach bars on Amelia Island (located in non-resort property) actually located right on the seaside with an outdoor patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and “Ocean Oasis” outdoor bar. If you haven’t been to Fernandina for awhile, the bar/restaurant began serving food and drinks right in the sand off the patio (tables and lounges on the beach). Sandy Bottoms also offers some live musical entertainment at night. Located at Main Beach, 2910 Atlantic Avenue, call Sandy Bottoms at (904)277-0814 for the latest operating hours and entertainment schedule (summer vs. off season). Or visit their website, www.SandyBottomsAmelia.com.
A very casual eatery and open deck bar “The Surf,” is located across the street from the ocean at 3199 South Fletcher Avenue (904) 261-5711. The Surf draws large crowds during the summertime. Live entertainment on the outdoor deck (DJs, acoustical guitar) helps to keep the crowd buzzing with enthusiasm. Families with children can dine at The Surf for its casual, open-air atmosphere on the deck where an exuberant or unhappy child, generally, will not disturb others.
With a background in publishing, financial services, and real estate, Wendy is Amelia Island Living & Travel's digital content editor (including photography and social media channels). A nature lover, birding and biking enthusiast, she has lived on Amelia Island 20 years (a transplant from NY). eMail: contact@AmeliaIslandLiving.com. 904-206-7280.