Sometimes there are posts I hate to write – this is one of them! You see I have my personal favorites near my home. That means I don’t need any more competition for the dozen or so good seats at when I am in need of my tiki bar fix.
When I first came to Florida some 40 years ago, there was a hotel called the Adams Mark right on the peninsula of 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 slashing on the barrier wall. They tore the hotel and tiki bar down in 2005 and I thought that was the end of the best tiki bar in Florida.
In 2016 the Opal Sands Resort opened their 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 the Sandbar, 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 I 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!
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 unremarkable. The obligatory grouper sandwich is as good as anyone’s.
The magic of the Sandbar, as with most tiki bars, is the view, the breezes and 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 pas the Opal Sands. The Sandbar is located behind the hotel overlooking the water filtering through the pass to the gulf. Enjoy the views!