Mahuffer's - "Wurst place on the beech!"
The Mahuffer Bar is a great dive with "sometimes live music, sometimes live food!" This is one of those beach shacks that you can go and let your hair down and really have a good time without worrying about impressing anyone.
I knew our visit would be good when we were greeted at the door by a huge white pit bull and a matching white pit bull pup. We entered the establishment and were surprised to see a parrot near the door. Soon we sat at the outdoor bar, ordered our beers and a cat walked across the bar to be petted by anyone and everyone. We were sitting by the fan, and my money on the bar was at risk of blowing away, so they stuck it in a mousetrap--pure genius! The patio section of the place has a V-shaped bar, covered in graffiti, a ceiling decorated with old shirts and a few bras, a huge old shop fan covered in dust, and even a NASCAR race tire. There is also a run-down outdoor area that has as much graffiti as decoration.
Our beers were $3 each for Yuengling, though during happy hour Miller Lite is just $1.
They do have a limited food menu, but they proudly pronounce that they do not serve Budweiser!
Bar Luna - Indian Rocks Beach - CLOSED :(
Update - Cafe Soleil and its associated bar, Bar Luna, both are closed as of early 2011.
Bar Luna is a cool new spot in Indian Rocks Beach. It is the only bar around that has that trendy big-city vibe rather than the dingy beachfront bars that you expect, but don't always prefer on the beach. You enter the surprising large bar area from the parking lot in the corner of this small L-shaped building. The bar itself is a sweeping curve with tasteful dark tiles and high-backed stools.
We arrived here after a rather mediocre dinner at nearby Red Lion Pub. When we arrived at Bar Luna, we were instantly greeted by both friendly customers and staff. We sat at the bar and chatted for quite a while in this friendly environment. In fact, we met our neighbor who also walked to the bar from his house in IRB. The waitress was cute but clueless, but I guess that makes it even more fun ("what's this Wikipedia thing?"). Beers were about $3.50 each, not bad for the area.
Next to Bar Luna is the aptly named Cafe Soleil, owned by the same family.
Cuso's Bar & Package Store - Indian Rocks Beach
Cuso's is not the worst dive bar ever, but it is a dive bar, nonetheless. When we visited, there were about 30 motrocycles in the parking lot, a live band playing, and booze flowing like water. Somehow, there was also a $5 cover charge for the band, which didn't deter any of the patrons.
We had planned to sit outside, but after paying $5 to see the band, we decided to actually see the band. The music was OK, I guess, but the bar area was packed. We had to squeeze in just to order our beers. Later we made our way to the outside bar, where the crowd was thinner and the noise level was lower, allowing us to just sit and chat. Our beers were around $3 each.
Cuso's is located around 24th Street in Indian Rocks Beach. Day or night, just look for the giant red sign that says, "PACKAGE STORE."
This place has a spotted history. It used to be called Whitey's until ol' Whitey shot at his girlfriend and another man one night, then got thrown in the hoosegow. During his era the place was known for its occasional drug arrests and even a murder. In 2003 the Mancuso's bought the place, and changed the name; hopefully the clientelle also improved a bit, too.
JD's Restaurant & Lounge - Indian Rocks Beach
I think if I was about 20 to 30 years older than I am, JD's would seem like a fun place. Unfortunately, I'm only in my 30s, so I am much too young to really fit in here with all the old locals in the summer. Maybe during tourist season the atmosphere changes and gets a little younger and more fun.
From the outside the big yellow, blue and orange building looks fun. The big open patio around back looks fun. Live music in the back and a piano bar in the front sounds fun. Sorry old people, but you just aren't that much fun to watch when you shake your groove thing on the dance floor.
Beers are just a few bucks, and the food prices are very reasonable, which are reasons why I might make a return trip.
Red Lion British Pub - Indian Rocks Beach
Red Lion is not a tourist spot... much more of a locals bar. Here they take care of their regulars--the locals--damn the tourists and whoever else comes through the door.
We arrived on a Friday night, just looking for a good, cold beer. We spotted to open seats at the bar, sat down and ordered two beers. About five minutes into our beers, two locals walk up and tell the bartender to tell us to move because they were supposedly sitting here. Sure enough, the bartender told us to take a hike, so we grabbed our beers and the tip I was going to leave then sat outside. We quickly finished our beers then left, heading down the street to Coasters, a much more friendly place with live music.
Coasters - Indian Rocks Beach
After a disappointing visit to Red Lion British Pub just down the street, we headed on down to Coasters. The place was pretty lively at first, but then quieted down as the band set up. While awaiting the music, we had several Landshark beers in plastic cups for $3 each, and we watched sports on the TVs over the bar. Over the next hour, until about 10pm, the crowd dwindled to about 5 people, but as soon as the band started, people poured in, until we left at about 11:30 and perhaps 30 people filled the small bar area.
We also had a Cuban sandwich during our visit, that two of us shared. It was a great sandwich, much, much better than the highly acclaimed sandwiches across the street at the Kooky Coconut. It was also served with thick, crunchy potato chips.
The band we saw on this first visit was called Full Fledged Unit from Clearwater.
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