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Expert Tips

 

St. Augustine's Best Bars, Nightclubs and Live Music



Quiet cocktails by the water, a raucous night out or sipping craft on beers, there are many vibes to St. Augustine's nightlife scene. One constant is live music. Nearly every bar and restaurant St. Augustine's downtown historic district offers live music to get their patrons in a party mood. Colonial Quarter, for example, is a history attraction by day, but at night, it opens its cool outdoor stage to music acts touring the country such as Della Mae and Buckwheat Zydeco. 

On the beachside, there are lots of high-energy bars along the water with bands and DJs spinning regularly.

One of the niftiest places to see live music is at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The state-of-the-art concert hall regularly hosts big acts like The Doobie Brothers, Alan Jackson, Bob Dylan and Sarah McLachlan. Various music festivals also happen throughout the year. 

This top 10 list has a mix of places to get your drink on depending on what suits your tastes. These places are dependable for good cocktails, great live music or a funky place to chill. Most are in the tourist corridor, which means they are easy to walk to if you are staying at a hotel or B & B in the old city. 


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10
Airport - Ust
A1A Ale Works


The popular and often packed A1A prides itself on brewing a selection of ales, lagers and seasonal brews that range from golden to black, each with a distinctive flavor and numerous fans. Besides being a brewery, people love coming here for dinner. Seafood specialties such as fish tacos and jambalaya are popular as well as the large array of hearty sandwiches. Beyond the beers and the excellent food, patrons can get nice views of the Matanzas Bay in the lovely outdoor space. And, like many St. Augustine's bars and eateries, there is often festive live music on the weekends.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This is one of Northeast Florida's oldest and popular breweries. The ambiance is great and the craft beers are excellent.

Shelley's expert tip: Go for a beer sampler to decide which A1A you like best for the next round.

Read more about A1A Ale Works →


9
Airport - Ust
Limelight Theatre


A fixture in St. Augustine, the Limelight Theatre affords guests quality theatrical performances including comedies, dramas, mysteries, musicals and children's theater. The excellent scenery, acting and ambience will not disappoint theater lovers of all ages. The theatre also serves as an art gallery. Before a performance or during intermission, the audience is treated to art by fine local photographers and painters. On the last Sunday of each month, the Limelight's Koger-Gamache Studio Theatre presents Music in the Box Box with live bands performing in various music genres from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is only $5.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This local theater gets high marks for the quality of its performances and is often considered one of the best playhouses in Northeastern Florida.

Shelley's expert tip: Get a great deal on Terrific Tuesdays--two tickets are just $30 for play performances.

Read more about Limelight Theatre →


8
Historic Downtown
The Bar With No Name
Photo courtesy of Jesse Menn


How can you resist a place with "No Name?" This catch-all bar is directly across the street from the famous Castillo De San Marcos. Take in the views of the inlet and Castillo from the outdoor patio or sit inside at the bar. Don't expect the drinks to be fancy, but there's plenty of beer on tap along with simple mixed drinks. Live music on the weekends and drink specials (ask your bartender) make this a popular spot with Flagler college students 21-and-over and curious tourists who get sucked into its party vibe or want to do some people watching. After 9 p.m., the atmosphere is generally loud and raucous with its patrons out for a good time.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: In the epicenter of the tourist center, you get good views of the Castillo, live music and a fun party atmosphere.

Shelley's expert tip: There is a liquor store attached, in case you want to bring something back to the hotel room for later.

Read more about The Bar With No Name →


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A part of the charming Casablanca Inn, this little (yes, tiny) martini bar is a great spot to bring a date before or after dinner for a cocktail. The lounge inside is nice, but most go for the patio where there is a view of the water and some of the street life. Certain nights there is live music, mostly piano jazz. Besides the classic gin or vodka martini, the bar menu includes specialties such as A Kiss on the LIps, made with strawberry infused vodka and mixed with peach schnapps and cranberry juice, or the Asian Pear. Wine, beer and mixed drinks are also possibilities.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Charming and romantic, it's a great spot to have a drink and soak in old St. Augustine.

Shelley's expert tip: The best place to sit is on the cute patio where you get both views of the bay and good people watching.

Read more about Tini Martini Bar →


6
Historic Downtown
Ice Plant
Photo courtesy of Ice Plant


The ice cube is a work of art here. The Ice plant freezes purified water and then carves cubes into custom "rock" shapes that make the perfect slow melting cube that won't dilute the flavors of your drink. The cocktails themselves have just as much attention paid to them and are made with house-pressed juices, homemade syrups and boutique liquors. Old favorites and new concoctions are both present here. And, you won't have to drink on an empty stomach since the Ice Plant offers a full lunch and dinner menu, plus a bar bites menu for savory nibbles that compliment your beverage of choice.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Craft cocktails are all the rage, and the Ice Plant makes delicious, artisan cocktails with house-made ingredients and custom ice cubes.

Shelley's expert tip: Before sitting down for a cocktail at the bar, take the tour to see how spirits are made next door at the St. Augustine Distillery.

Read more about Ice Plant →


5
Airport - Ust
Cobalt Lounge
Photo courtesy of ©Kessler Hotels


Sipping cocktails at the Cobalt Lounge inside the Casa Monica Hotel is a grown-up experience. Classic Moorish decor punctuated with a touch of neon blue lighting over the bar sets the mood. You'll find a well-heeled crowd perusing the martini menu amidst candlelit tables. On the weekends, live jazz is performed by accomplished regional musicians who contribute to the sophisticated atmosphere. You can also make this your dinner spot with plenty of nibbles to choose from. Different days of the week have specials such as $8 Mojitos on Mondays and $8 specialty martini cocktails on Thursdays.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The Casa Monica is St. Augustine's swankiest hotel. The Cobalt Lounge is a way to enjoy an experience there without having to spend the night.

Shelley's expert tip: Every Sunday through Thursday, stop in for the happy hour from 4:30 to 7 p.m. for $1 off beers, wine and cocktails.

Read more about Cobalt Lounge →


4
Historic Downtown
Planet Sarbez
Photo courtesy of ©FlickrCommons


Artsy, zany and very cool Planet Sarbez is one St. Augustine's more eclectic spots. Grab a coffee in the day time and beer and wine at night. Each corner of the venue features a riotous collection of vintage goodness like old TV sets, graffiti black light art and bookshelves filled with old paperbacks. In one corner there is old-school video games to play plus table shuffle board and pool. The small stage hosts local indie bands that play live. Other activities like trivia nights and dance parties are regular occurrences as well as art shows and special events.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This fun beer and wine bar is off the beaten path of the tourist corridor, young, authentic and funky.

Shelley's expert tip: This hip hangout is also open during the day and serves strong coffee and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Read more about Planet Sarbez →


Cellar Upstairs Wine & Jazz Bar
Photo courtesy of Visit Florida


The Cellar Upstairs, literally upstairs from the San Sebastian Winery, presents patrons with the perfect spot to relax with friends as live bands play eclectic jazz or blues. The wine bar features all of the San Sebastian wines by the glass or bottle, plus sangria concoctions. Beer lovers have plenty of options, too. Choose covered or open air seating, both with pretty views of the surrounding marshlands. The menu offers simple but tasty selections of deli sandwiches and cheese and meat platters.During the day the winery offers complimentary tours and wine tastings which last approximately 45 minutes and are offered seven days a week Mon-Sat, 10am to 6pm and Sun, 11am to 6pm.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: After touring the winery, it's a nice way to unwind with a glass of wine or beer and take in the scenery from the roof.

Shelley's expert tip: The Cellar Upstairs is only open Friday starting at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Read more about Cellar Upstairs Wine & Jazz Bar →


2
St. Augustine Beach
St. Augustine Amphitheater


On your visit to St. Augustine, chances are there will be some amazing music happening at this outdoor, covered concert venue with a 41,000 person capacity. The original amphitheater was built in 1965 in part to commemorate St. Augustine's 400th anniversary as the oldest permanent European settlement. It's gone through many upgrades and now is a favorite place to see live music, music festivals, kids programs and fairs in Northeast Florida. Situated on Anastasia Island, it's also close to some of St. Augustines' prettiest natural lands and beaches. Recent concerts here include Teh Flaming Lips, Wilco, ZZ Top, John Fogerty and My Morning Jacket.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: This is one of the best place to see big, touring bands. The location is scenic and the outdoor venue is state of the art.

Shelley's expert tip: More than just a music venue, the St. Aug. Amphitheatre is home to a farmers market every Saturday, family events and fairs throughout the year.

Read more about St. Augustine Amphitheater →


Stogie's Jazz Club & Listening Room
Photo courtesy of Courtesy Stogies


Stogie's is a small, intimate bar with a clubby feel. Dark lighting, cigar smoke in the air, leather sofas and live music all set the mood for a cozy evening. Micro brews and a full wine and port selection can be paired with your favorite cigar from the humidor. It's not just a guys scene here, it's popular with couples have a great time here, and ladies on their own feel welcome, too. If you choose to sit outside, there is a patio with ample seating. aStogie's is close to the bayfront, at the top of Charlotte Street, and walking distance from downtown hotels like the Hilton and the Casablanca.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: For cigar lovers, this cozy wine and beer bar sets the right mood with its clubby atmosphere.

Shelley's expert tip: More than just jazz, you can expect to hear blues, folk and even pop in the listening room.

Read more about Stogie's Jazz Club & Listening Room →


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