At a bachelorette party, birthday party, or a vacation with your BFFs, you’re probably looking for great food, plenty of cocktails, and lively music to get your night started. Check out these great Anna Maria Island restaurants and bars that will have you dancing until the sun goes down.
The Ugly Grouper
Location: 5704 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach, FL
The Ugly Grouper is a great party place to take your gal pals. Start here, and who knows where the night might take you.
Formerly Barefoot Tiki Bar, The Ugly Grouper has everything you might want: live music, tons of huge shareable plates, and cocktails galore. Their menu is full of smoked and fried foods – typical of an all-American bar and grill. Try the nachos, seafood, and burger.
The thatched-roof tiki-style outdoor bar, strung with lights and fun, ocean-inspired décor, gives it an island vibe like no other. The stage is set up under a ground-level thatched roof as well for the perfect island-inspired sound stage. The bar also offers bar games and a gift shop with souvenirs and restaurant T-shirts.
Its beachfront location is the cherry on top. Sit and watch the sun go down as you drink fruity cocktails and cold beer with friends. Make a night of it, and head out from here to Bridge Street, where more late-night venues can keep the party going ‘til the wee hours.
Dcoy Ducks Tavern
Location: 5410 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach, FL
Wherever you start out, this is probably where you’ll end up.
This Holmes Beach tavern is a late-night staple on the island. Great for bachelorettes, birthdays, or a night out with friends (no reason required), Dcoy Ducks guarantees well-priced drinks and great local entertainment.
This bar is a great place to people watch, as it is a popular watering hole for Anna Maria Island residents, mainlanders, and visitors.
There are TVs over the bar for sports fans, and when there’s no live musicians scheduled, there’s always a mix of popular hits blaring on the speakers.
Best to eat before coming here, as the drinks flow freely and they do not serve food.
Location: 4528 119th St. W., Cortez, FL
Housed in what looks like a fishing shack on a dead-end road at a marina, Cortez Kitchen’s fun, rustic vibe is the perfect start to a night on the town.
This gem of a restaurant has incredible food (read: fresh fish delivered right to its dock-side front door), cold beer, and live music on the weekends (Friday to Sunday). They serve lunch and dinner every day.
Dubbed by one reviewer as “a beacon of Old Florida hospitality,” this is a fun way to enjoy a Girls’ Night Out with your crew. Live music includes up-beat local acts like Kettle of Fish, Bottom Line Band, and Eric Vron. The dance floor picks up later in the evening, with rock ’n’ roll classics that everyone can sing along and groove to.
Casual and fun, Cortez Kitchen is a go-to for locals, which makes it a great place to get a feel for the gulf coast community. Its décor matches the ambience, with lots of four-top tables scattered throughout a single room, and small bar with wooden chairs and lanterns strung from one end to the other, and a small foot-high stage of pallet wood.
While it’s technically not on AMI, it’s just across the bridge on the mainland, a four-minute drive from Bradenton Beach.
The Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bar
Location: 4629 119th St. W., Cortez, FL
The Swordfish Grill isn’t on AMI either, but it’s conveniently right next door to Cortez Kitchen – and they have live music, too.
This Florida-style seafood restaurant serves food from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Happy hour drinks and late-night food are what they’re known for, and the interior turns into a sports bar when there’s a big game on.
The Swordfish Grill is a homey waterfront restaurant with a large deck, live music, and a varied menu. Clam chowder, conch fritters, and bacon-wrapped scallops are just a few of the great sharing plates that complement beer, wine, and cocktails on their varied menu.
Prefer a Girls’ Afternoon Out? This restaurant’s huge deck is the perfect place to watch boats go by and the sun go down. Sometimes they have music from noon to close, making it the perfect spot for a sunny matinee get together.
Island Beach Monkeys Party Bus
Location: PO Box 1313, Holmes Beach, FL
If the girls are keen to bar hop, hire the Island Beach Monkeys’ party bus, a hippy-style golf cart, van, or SUV (depending on how far you’re going) that will act as your Designated Driver, taking you from restaurant to bar to next bar. Based on Anna Maria Island, they also serve Bradenton, Cortez, Longboat Key, St. Armands Circle, Downtown Sarasota, and even Siesta Key.
Or you can take the party back home with our waterfront rentals on Anna Maria Island. Put on those pajamas and turn on your favorite chick flick for laid-back best friend time. You’re on vacation, enjoy yourself and your gal pals for a memorable beach trip.