Sometimes there are posts we hate to write – this is one of them! You see we have our personal favorites near my home. That means we don’t need any more competition for the dozen or so good seats when we are headed for our favorite tiki bar on the beach!
When we first came to Florida some 40 years ago, there was a hotel called the Adams Mark right on the peninsula adjoining Clearwater Pass entering from the Gulf of Mexico. They had a tiki bar, where on a windy day, you could feel the spray from waves splashing on the barrier wall. The Adams Mark tiki bar was the best tiki bar in Florida. They tore the hotel and tiki bar down in 2005 and we thought that was the end of the best tiki bar in Florida.
In 2016, the Opal Sands Resort opened its doors to much fanfare. They are an upscale hotel with some expensive accommodations. My experience is that upscale has nothing to do with a good tiki bar – in fact, upscale kept me away from Opal Sands and their newly built tiki bar for several months.
Eventually, I stopped in and found the same views, same breezes, same view of Clearwater Beach, same boats traveling the pass – the only thing we did was miss a few weeks failing to realize there was nothing wrong with replicating the old tiki bar. Maybe the prices are a little higher, but the beer tastes the same and it is still one of the best tiki bars in Florida!
The Sandbar is staffed by some real long-term Clearwater Beach people who can help tourists discover the many sights in and around Clearwater Beach. The food at the Sandbar is acceptable, but decidedly pricey. The obligatory grouper sandwich is as good as any other restaurant on the beach.
The magic of the Sandbar, as with most tiki bars, is the view, the breezes and the sand in your toes. The Opal Sands is located towards the south end of Clearwater Beach. In fact, to walk from the beach to the southernmost parking lot, you will need to pass the Opal Sands. The Sandbar is located behind the hotel overlooking the water filtering through the pass to the gulf. Enjoy the views!
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