A Destination for World-Class Dining and Drinks

The communities of St. Pete/Clearwater have been named among the top 25 beaches in the U.S. by Tripadvisor, and beautiful beaches are only the beginning. St. Pete/Clearwater is a vibrant culinary destination with year-round outdoor dining and waterfront restaurants, casual beachside eateries, gourmet fare and a booming brewery scene. Fresh Gulf seafood, locally sourced ingredients and hometown charm make this Florida Gulf Coast destination a unique epicurean experience.

Fresh and Local

Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, St. Pete/Clearwater has access to an abundant array of seafood. Fresh seasonal fish, shrimp and other delicacies are caught daily, and are proudly featured by local restaurants. Misty Wells, local business owner says “we are officially the grouper capital of the world. Some places have farm-to-table, but we have Gulf-to-table here. When you go to our locally owned restaurants, the grouper and the snapper and a lot of the fish that you’re eating was most likely caught the day before and sold fresh off the boat.” Whether you’re interested in a fine dining experience or want to try the famous grouper sandwich, you can be sure the seafood will be some of the best from the Gulf. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can catch your own dinner. “A lot of our restaurants are hook and cook. You can go out on a charter or on your own boat, catch fish and they’ll do the cooking for you,” Wells says.

Beaches and Breweries

Affectionately dubbed the “Gulp Coast,” the communities of St. Pete/Clearwater boast over 40 local breweries on their Craft Beer Trail. The diverse brewery scene offers something for everyone, including family-friendly breweries and award-winning establishments, such as Webb’s City Cellar. Named a James Beard semifinalist in the “Outstanding Bar” category, Webb’s is a part of Green Bench Brewing Co. and features unique brews that you won’t find anywhere else. Along the Gulp Coast, you can enjoy a local brew beachside, bike through the northern part of the trail or organize a driver to take you through a customized brewery itinerary that features a little bit of everything.

If you prefer a cocktail or mocktail, there’s no shortage of charming local bars and lounges that offer creative libations in beautiful settings. Beachside bars, like Caddy’s or Jimmy B’s, offer great outdoor areas to enjoy a drink or catch a sunset on the beach while listening to a local musician play. For a different point of view, check out one of the many rooftop bars like The Canopy or Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest.

Welcomed by Locals

The destination’s many different dining options all have one common thread—local hospitality. Many establishments are owned and operated by people who have been part of this community for decades. Ken Hamilton, president of Palm Pavilion, and his family have owned their eatery on Clearwater Beach for over 50 years. What started as a beach pavilion in the 1920s has grown into a local landmark. Featuring an extensive food and bar menu, outdoor seating and live music, Palm Pavilion offers beachfront dining with a truly local feel. “When you’re sitting at our restaurant on the beach and watching the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico it’s pretty spectacular,” Hamilton says. Ken and his family have seen visitors come back year after year and now generation after generation because of the warm welcome they receive. “We are committed to this community, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Whether you’re seeking a five-star dining experience with an award-winning wine list, or you prefer to find the best grouper sandwich on the beach, St. Pete/Clearwater has something for every palate. Experience a brewery scene that is second to none or enjoy cocktails with your toes in the sand while the sun sets. The beautiful beaches may be what bring you to St. Pete/Clearwater, but the warm local hospitality and plethora of epicurean experiences will keep you coming back time and again.

Let’s shine—plan your next culinary adventure at VisitStPeteClearwater.com

This article has been supplied by Visit St. Pete Clearwater, a paid advertiser. The editorial staff of Chicago magazine had no role in this post’s preparation.