Every time I get out-of- town company everyone wants to go “somewhere by the water” to have a drink, and I have to patiently explain that between here and Miami, you can count on one hand any places like that. I have to explain that unlike North Florida or the other coast, South Florida caved into condo canyons decades ago and opted for the cash instead of the seaside ambiance. Oh, we have our longtime hold-outs like Two Georges, Banana Boat, Old Key Lime House, Guanabanas, Square Grouper, and Delray’s own Deck 84, but getting that island vibe on our own islands is hard to come by.
The folks at Ocean Properties who did the big facelift on Boston’s over the past year have now added the coup de grace—The Sandbar & Rhum Shack. Built on the site of the old Bermuda Inn adjacent to Boston’s, The Sand Bar is an open-air bar and restaurant (Kerry Morrissey of Ocean Properties calls it an “adult playground”) complete with mega tiki hut (we call them chickees here), a weathered “fishing village” facade, an old-time “distillery” and lots of stranded-on-a-desert-island charm, complete with sand between your toes. (It’s not exactly a pirate theme, but I like to think of it as a place Captain Jack Sparrow might enjoy getting wrecked.) It’s across from the beach, and offers the kind of seaside hang-out this town has never had before.
I know Ocean Properties is justifiably proud of its Marriott Hotel and spa, and of the landmark Boston’s and its newly upgraded 50 Ocean But I am a here to tell you that it’s The Sandbar that is going to knock the lights out. Who can resist a tiki hut the size of Kansas? Who doesn’t want a Mango Tango Slush or a Key Lime Koolada? The drink menu is full of the kind of icy sweet smoothie cocktails 20-somethings love, like the Surf Side Zombie (three kinds of Barcardi with OJ. pineapple juice, apricot brandy simple syrup and lime squeeze) but there some vintage drinks available as well, like the classic Dark and Stormy or a Cuba Libre. As the name suggests, this is a place to go to drink rum, our official drink of summer, and the range of concoctions is mind-boggling (you can even build your own mojito).
The menu is succinct but covers all the bases, from the Caesar salads to conch fritters, burgers, peel and eat shrimp, and an excellent mahi sandwich. The food was a step above, the service excellent, and the breezes off the ocean just what we ordered.
Welcome to our new summer place—we’ll see you there.