A guide to nightlife in Clearwater

Clearwater is famous across the United States for its swoon-worthy beach, and this resort’s bars also make the most of the beaches, making it a favoured location for letting loose on holidays to Florida. Many of the best bars are restaurants as well, so it isn’t uncommon to start with dinner and unexpectedly stay for hours scoping out the bar. For more of a strictly bar or club scene, neighbouring St Petersburg is like Clearwater’s rowdy older sister. Here’s our guide to where to go when sticking to Clearwater itself.

Nautical nights at The Shipwreck

The Shipwreck is a prime locals’ bar located on Clearwater Beach. It has all the charm of a coastal bar but without the premier prices. It’s loosely nautical-themed, with grass fringe on the walls, a fish tank and pirate mannequins greeting you outside, but somehow it manages to be anything but tacky.

The Shipwreck is also less crowded than its other Clearwater Beach counterparts, which means there’s more room for you on the dancefloor. Here, a nightly DJ spins an eclectic range of tracks and fills the place with fun, positive vibes. In terms of drinks, there are colourful cocktails and bottled beers on the menu, along with an impressive range of craft beers.

Beachside gigs at Shephard's Backyard Tiki Bar

Shephard’s is consistently ranked one of the best bars in Florida. Based on sheer size alone, it’s a whopper. The Tiki Bar is accompanied by a huge concert stage overlooking Clearwater Beach, and together the two make up a staggering 11,000 square feet of space.

The party gets pretty rowdy in the summer as holidaymakers grab cocktails and a place in the crowd for live music, then move onto the resort’s tequila bar and the Wave Nightclub where the nights get even longer.

Dancing in the sand at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill

Frenchy’s is a Clearwater holiday institution, with five restaurants to its name. This restaurant come nightlife spot is stationed quite literally on Clearwater’s white sand beach and comes equipped with Frenchy’s signature fresh seafood and two bars.

Highlights on the bar menu are caramel apple sangria and rum runners. There’s also live music every night, featuring artists from in and around Clearwater.

Sports on tap at Draft Picks

Sports are as much on the menu at Draft Picks as food and beer. This bar is a top spot to catch a local game and even if you aren’t a big baseball or American football fan, you’ll be in good company – someone here will show you the ropes. The walls are packed with big screens that play a wide variety of matches.

There are also weekly trivia nights, to which nothing goes better than an ice cold beer. Draft Picks has plenty – think more than 28 beers on tap that change seasonally, deals on craft beers every Thursday and happy hour from Monday to Friday.

Sips and cigars at Fusion Cigar Lounge

You don’t have to be a cigar aficionado to enjoy the Fusion Cigar Lounge. They’ve also got a full bar and TVs playing sports to keep you occupied if smoking isn’t your thing. But if you’re looking to give cigars a try, Fusion’s staff are on hand to explain which might fit your preference, plus which beer will best go with it.

There are cocktails and wine available too, plus a fantastic sangria. From there, Fusion features a laid-back, lounge-like seating area that spills outside onto a cosy terrace where you can happily settle in for the evening.