Here's a roundup of other beach bars, waterfront spots and pool parties guaranteed to curb spring fever on both sides of the bay. — Susan Thurston firstname.lastname@example.org
Caddy's on the Beach
Beach bums won't find a much better place. This bar and restaurant is a slam dunk for locals — and their northern visitors — craving Florida fun and sun. Sit in the shaded indoors or outside with your feet in the sand. The bar can be a rowdy spring breaker's paradise on weekends — Treasure Island has upped their police presence near Caddy's this year — but at slower times, the picnic tables are perfect for planting the kids with a bucket and shovel while mom and dad dig into a fish sandwich or barbecued ribs. The upstairs bar has great views of the sunset, especially when enjoyed with a Maui Wowie or Perfect Rita. Caddy's offers free beach chairs (with a tip), but get there early because they go fast on weekends, especially after Memorial Day. Parking, too, is an issue, with lots filling up early and tow trucks and meter maids always on the prowl. 9000 W Gulf Blvd., Sunset Beach; (727) 360-4993; caddysotb.com.
Crabby Bill's Beach Club
The popular South Beach Sundays are gone, but this Rocky Point hangout is still a happening place. Rock Star Promotions presents Rockapalooza volleyball tournaments once a month through September with competitive play on Saturdays and charity games on Sundays. The cost is $100 per team or $25 per person, which includes all-you-can-drink beer. The next one is May 15-16 and has a disco theme. Look for afro wigs, board shorts and bikinis. On Saturday, Tampa Bay Club Sport has its second annual Spring Fling cornhole tournament with more than $2,500 in cash and prizes. No experience necessary. 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway; (813) 281-0566. For more on the volleyball events, go to rockstarvolley.com. For more on the cornhole tournament, go to tampabayclubsport.com.
Gators Cafe and Saloon
Three words: girls in bikinis. This St. John Pass favorite hosts one of the best bikini contests in the region, if not the entire state. Bronzed babes from across Florida come every Sunday through September to compete for $1,000 in prize money and the coveted title of Miss Gator. The DJs start at 4 p.m., followed by the contest at 6 p.m. Gators attracts the post-beach crowd but has live music starting at 1 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The staff looks forward to regaining their waterfront and sunset views in about a month when nearby construction on the bridge finally ends. 12754 Kingfish Drive, Treasure Island; (727) 367-8951.
Hula Bay Club
Fans of Rattlefish Raw Bar and Grill weren't too happy when it closed a few years ago to make way for a private club. But when plans fell through, owners of Green Iguana swooped in. The result was Hula Bay Club, a bigger and better bar and restaurant tucked along the water off S West Shore Boulevard. The club kept the large restaurant and added a casual, open-air bar and a large deck area. Duke's Retired Surfer's Island Bar, which has live music several days a week, offers a casual, come as you are alternative to the sit-down restaurant. And boaters can pull right up to the dock. 5210 W Tyson Ave., Tampa; (813) 837-4852; hulabayclub.com.
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
It's not on the beach or even the water. But for those who don't want the hassle of driving to the beach and parking, the Hard Rock's pool area might suffice. It's sleek, stylish and, dare we say, Miami-like. (Translation: hot women go there.) The pool is open to the public for $20 a day, which includes a towel, water bottle and fruit. Bring some friends and rent a chickee — the Seminole Indian word for a tiki hut. They run $150 for a day (or $75 for a half day) and include a refrigerator stocked with water and sodas, a stereo, TV, four chairs, two lounges and a bartender. 5223 N Orient Road, Tampa; (813) 627-7650 or 1-866-762-5463.
Shephard's Beach Resort
No bathing suit season is complete without a few visits to Shephard's, arguably the hottest party spot along the gulf. This spring break mainstay has daily events and drink specials designed to get people wet and wild, from beer pong and flippy cup games to bikini and booty shake contests. Live music in the tiki bar starts at 2 p.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. on weekdays. Parking can be dicey — the bar is part of a hotel — but valet is available. Expect to pay a nominal cover charge on weekends and at the Wave nightclub. 618 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater; (727) 442-5107; shephards.com.
Volleyball, live music and above average bar grub have made this centrally located beach bar a favorite for 20 years. The three beach volleyball nets attract the buffed and beautiful and are available on a first-come, first-served basis most weekends. The parking lot fills up early, so save yourself some frustration and park in the public lot down the street. It's not free, but you won't have to fear getting towed on a side street. The Undertow has live music from noon to 7 p.m. Saturdays and many Sundays, and never a cover charge. And starting in May, Coronas will be $2 each all summer long. 3850 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach; (727) 368-9000; undertowbeachbar.com.