classic beach bars

by madeleine peck
Even those who live in deepest Orange Park are hard-put to resist the siren song of the beach’s nightlife. And not to worry, though developers have their claws in deep, there’s still enough of the old beach spirit alive to keep places like Pete’s Bar, the Fly’s Tie and the Lemon Bar around.
For those who’d just as soon kiss the Blarney Stone as their sweetie, the Fly’s Tie (177 Sailfish Dr. E, Atlantic Beach, 246-4293) is the perfect spot to kick back a few Guinesses, listen to some Celtic-inspired music (or reggae, for that matter) and admire the way your pedicure (or your sweetie’s) has gotten ruined over the course of your day at the beach. The people here are a mixture of the just-able-to-drinks and the seasoned drinkers. Generally friendly, it’s easy to spark a conversation here and make new friends for the evening.
Pete’s Bar (117 1st St., Neptune Beach, 249-9158) is a longtime beach favorite, made even more attractive by the pool tables and the long bar that runs against the north wall of the building. No dimly lit rooms and soft leather sofas here, it’s a gouged and well-loved beach bar with the itty-bitty, teeny-tiny (and slightly scary) bathrooms to prove it. But what it does have is a ton of character, the kind that lures the country club set and surfers in pretty much equal parts.
The Lemon Bar (120 Atlantic Blvd., Neptune Beach, 246-2175) is a longtime beach favorite. Located on the front patio of the Sea Horse Hotel in Neptune Beach, the bar overlooks the ocean and there is something inexpressibly wonderful about sipping a sea breeze while enjoying one. Enjoy drinks there after grabbing a bite at one of the area restaurants (Tamas Sushi is especially good).