10 Fantastic Beachside Bars
June 9, 2011
House Without A Key (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Sun, trade winds, the smell of sweet plumerias, and a perfectly blended Trader Vic's 1944 Mai Tai in hand. It’s heaven on earth at House Without a Key, the bar at Halekulani Hotel's luxurious oceanfront resort in Waikiki. Located beyond the hotel’s orchid-shaped pool, the cocktail courtyard serves up an array of on-the-rocks and blended tropical libations. The Mai Tai is undoubtedly the most popular pick but all of Dale "The King of the Cocktail" Degroff’s tropical-inspired concoctions are true liquid paradise.
Try the Lilikoi Daiquri, a perfect blend of exotic rum, passion fruit, and fresh-squeezed lime juice. There's also the Rangpur Guava Fizz, which offers up delicate citrus notes of Rangpur gin, or the Ginger Lychee Caipirissima, which combines fine rum, muddled fruit, and spicy ginger. And again, don’t leave without trying the signature Mai Tai. It’s a classic rendition of the 1944 Victor Bergeron recipe complete with crushed ice.
Cantina Beach Restaurant (Key Biscayne, Fla.)
Plush lounges, tiki torches, fire pits, and craft cocktails all come together here to perfectly complement the oceanfront setting. Tequila drinkers take note: In-house tequila specialist Heriberto Ovideo hand-selected the bar's slew of premium tequila selections. There are 85 premium picks to choose from and, as a result of Ovideo’s passionate pursuit, Cantina has the largest 100-percent agave tequila collection in South Florida.
On the cocktail side of the spectrum, revelers may not be millionaires but they can at least pretend with the Millionaire’s Margarita. It features two blends of Gran Patrón Platinum, 150th Anniversary Grand Marnier, and fresh lime juice. There's also a fantastic Michelada, or the more adventurous, a Black & Blue Mojito.
L'Auberge del Mar (San Diego, Calif.)
Ranked among the top resorts in the world by Condé Nast, this beachside retreat overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers a front seat to the stunning Southern California sunsets. Both the Waterfall Terrace and Bleu Bar overlook the crystal blue sea and serve up stellar sips like the Paloma Caballero, crafted with tequila, fresh lime, and grapefruit soda. For something a little creamier, try the Rumchata, a blend of Bacardi eight-year rum, house-made horchata, and mango.
The Beach Tree Bar (Big Island, Hawaii)
Craving an outer island escapade? Consider paying a visit to the Kona Coast on the Big Island and stop in at the Four Seasons at Hualalai. The open-air bar at this high-end, luxe resort delivers as one of the best places to catch a gorgeous sunset. Snag one of the seats at water's edge and enjoy the nightly live Hawaiian music as you sip a Beach Tree Smash, a tasty blend of Grey Goose Pear, limoncello, absinthe, Asian pears, and lime juice nectar. Another idyllic delight worth imbibing is the Blissed-Out Zen, a light, refreshing mix of soju, cucumber-honey dew nectar, and aloe vera. Or, as you gaze out at the evening sun’s green flash, put your lips around The Cure, a delectable combo of Plymouth Gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino, and fresh-squeezed lime juice.
Hideaway (Santa Monica, Calif.)
The Hideaway at the Oceana Hotel sits right across the street from the long breathtaking stretch of Santa Monica Beach. Sunsets here are sizzling, just like the drinks. Sip selections like the Tuscan Cocktail, which blends together Knob Creek, lemon, sugar, and Chianti. Or, try the elegant, effervescent Elderflower Bellini, a simple sweet blend of Prosecco and St-Germain. Also worth sampling are the Amalfi (a refreshing mix of Kettle 1 Citron, limoncello, lime, and thyme), and the Cucumber Basil Bloody (cucumber vodka, basil, and cherry tomatoes).
The Beachcomber (Wellfleet, Mass.)
Located on the dunes of Cahoon Hollow Beach, the Beachcomber offers panoramic views of the Atlantic. Enjoy your lobster roll and Cape Cod potato chips with one of the Beachcomber’s jumbo-sized specialty drinks. With over 2.5 million sold, the Goombay Smash is undeniably a popular pick. The Cape Cod Bloody Mary is a perfect choice midday drinkers, while the Cruzan Confusion is a heavy-hitting tropical blend of Cruzan Mango and Coconuts rums mixed with pineapple juice. And, on balmy days, there’s no better choice than the classic Dark 'n' Stormy.
The Bar at Private Sunset Beach (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Ian Schrager’s latest boutique hotel project, The Waikiki Edition Hotel, hit Hawaii in October and has already lured serious star appeal. Award-winning bar consultants John Lermayer (Florida Room) and Tobin Ellis (BarMagic Las Vegas), as well as Sam Treadway (of Boston's famed watering hole, Drink) were tapped to spearhead the bar program.
Take in views of Ala Moana Beach while sipping on an Aperol Spritz, a cocktail made for all-day imbibing. The Frozen Coconut Mojito is also a major hit as is Ellis’ deconstructed take on the Mai Tai, a mix of Pyrat XO Rum and orgeat that’s capped with a foam made of fresh-squeezed lime juice, orange curaçao and a hint of rock candy syrup. It’s a perfect scene-y seaside escape.
Cabana Club & C5: (Atlantic City, N.J.)
Chosen by USA Today as one of the top ten rooftop bars and lounges in America, The Chelsea's Cabana Club offers a handcrafted cocktail program as well group-friendly pitchers of sangria, daiquiris, and margaritas using the freshest seasonal fruits. C5, inside the Cabana Club, was designed by Shaun Hausman (of The Standard Hotels in L.A., Sub-Mercer in New York) and brings together a boutique hotel nightlife experience with a glamorous rock ‘n’ roll edge. Mosey in and out of “the club-within-a-club” for refreshing seascape views with tasty cocktails in hand.
Beach Chalet (San Francisco, Calif.)
This beachside boite not only offers stellar views of the Pacific but also a spirited dose of history. Designed by renowned architect Willis Polk, The Beach Chalet was built in San Francisco in 1925. The ground floor housed a lounge and changing rooms for beach-goers while the upstairs was home to a 200-seat bar and restaurant. The bar has kept up with the cool kids, securing a spot as a go-to destination for beachside imbibers. The bible-sized drink menu is overstuffed with a slew of wine, beer, scotch, gin, tequila, rum selections to choose from. You can start with “The Best Sidecar You’ve Ever Had,” and then move on to a Beach Basil Ginger (St-Germain, Grey Goose vodka, basil leaves, ginger syrup, and lime juice) or a fruit-infused bracer called the Blueberry Smash.
L’Avenue (Long Branch, N.J.)
L’Avenue is a Northeastern take on a Parisian brasserie meets San Tropez. This best-of-New Jersey beach hot spot boasts three drink-centric venues: Avenue Beach Club, Avenue Restaurant, and Avenue Nuit. Le Club is members-only but if you're willing to shell out the $3K, the elegant sun-washed setting is ideal for enjoying laid-back luxury. And, at night, the open-air lounges provide an adult playground under the starry sky. Book a full-service cabana and float in the rooftop pool while enjoying a refreshing mojito, spiked iced lemonade, or champagne bottle service. If the private club price tag is a bit too steep for your budget anyone can enjoy the restaurant’s expertly trained bartenders. The staff here is spot-on, serving old-school cocktails with class and debonair.