Saturday, June 23, 2018
Features and More

PCI Beach Bar offers quality beach cocktails by the gulf

I hope you enjoyed the mild weather that we lucked out with for the past few months, because we're back to the classic Florida spring — a summer by most definitions, scorching heat and humidity. On the bright side, it's a perfect formula for spring breakers, who can now take full advantage of Florida's sub-tropical climate, white sand beaches and mild waters.

A little heat has never stopped me from enjoying a nice beachside ­cocktail, though, and I suspect that will hold true for the legions of college kids with next week off and a hankering for frozen margaritas and rum runners. If you're in search of something just a touch more low-key, a quick walk down the beach may reveal a beachside bar or two that will do the trick.

This stylish, waterfront Postcard Inn on the Beach has a cocktail bar in the attached Beachwood BBQ & Burgers, but if you head to the beach end of the property, you'll find a rustic outdoor PCI Beach Bar, decorated in the campy Old Florida style, with license plates and Christmas lights hanging from its exposed beams.

It's a small place, with an island bar in the middle of a wide, wooden deck that lets out directly onto the beach. Patrons can take a seat on one of the benches along the bar or even lounge on one of the Adirondack chairs facing the beach. A small area for live music is at one end of the deck, and an adjacent Snack Shack delivers appetizers and sandwiches directly to the bar.

As with most beach bars, the drink menu consists largely of fruit-flavored cocktails and frozen drinks, but the options at PCI have a few creative twists that make them more memorable than the average mojito or daiquiri.

For example, the Skinny Margarita is a top-tier affair, utilizing Partida Blanco tequila, agave nectar and fresh lime juice instead of the prepackaged stuff that you'll find at many other places. The Slippery Sea Wall is one of the few fruit-centric cocktails to pique my interest lately, mixing Smirnoff Coconut vodka, apricot brandy, melon liqueur, cranberry and pineapple juice — it's a perfect drink to sip as you watch the sun go down over the water.

I tried a few other cocktails and was impressed with the quality each time. The Orange Julius, a blend of Pinnacle Whipped vodka and orange juice, was great as a frozen drink (with a touch of Island Oasis Piña Colada mix thrown in), and the Hunch Punch was a truly potent and tasty concoction, utilizing Original Moonshine, a clear corn whiskey from Virginia that uses a Prohibition-era copper still in the distilling.

Of course, the beer list contains all the beach beer favorites, like Corona, Miller Lite and other easy-drinking crowd-pleasers, as well as a house brew called Cold Ass (simply a re-branded Rolling Rock), but there are a few craft options that are noteworthy for how well they fit into a beach environment. Dale's Pale Ale is available in the can, providing a big flavor boost over the average beachside beer, and draft selections include our very own Florida Avenue Ale, as well as Abita's raspberry-flavored Purple Haze.

If tropical drinks, sub-tropical weather and seaside scenery sound like your kind of thing, you may want to take a look at the PCI Beach Bar. The combination of classic Florida style, laid-back atmosphere, and quality house cocktails make it a great place to kick back and enjoy the sunny, balmy Florida spring. — [email protected]

Comments
See Datz pastry chef Alicia Wolding on Netflix’s Sugar Rush

See Datz pastry chef Alicia Wolding on Netflix’s Sugar Rush

When Alicia Wolding joined Datz as the new executive pastry chef last year her hair was rainbow — pretty much the whole ROY G BIV spectrum in cascading tresses. More recently, it’s bright purple, somewhere between iris and lilac. This is the color yo...
Published: 06/22/18
Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

Enjoy Israeli Couscous, Swiss Chard and Peppers warm or at room temperature

By Katie WorkmanIsraeli or Mediterranean couscous are tiny balls of toasted semolina pasta that plump up when cooked into toothsome, slightly less tiny balls of pasta. They make a great base for a side or salad. You can make the couscous according to...
Published: 06/22/18
Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Bar review: St. Pete’s Garage is a dive with Pride

Last year’s St. Pete Pride went smoothly, despite some behind-the-scenes drama involving the decision to relocate the parade to the downtown waterfront, rather than the Grand Central District, where it had traditionally been held. After all, the Gran...
Published: 06/21/18
Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

Local craft beer of the week: Beach Slap Piña Colada Wheat Ale from Mad Beach Craft Brewing Company

"Hooray, it’s summer!" exclaimed no Floridians. But if it’s summer proper and not just the usual year-round weather, you might as well embrace the heat and humidity with a trip to the beach, accompanied by some suitably refreshing beers. While you’r...
Published: 06/21/18
Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

Wine dinners, beer projects and more will wet your whistle this summer

FILIPINO FOOD: WELCOME CHISMISHave you been to the Heights Public Market at the 73,000-square-foot Armature Works yet? It’s the buzzy food market in Tampa Heights with more than a dozen vendors offering up everything from rolled ice cream to Cuban sa...
Published: 06/20/18
On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

On stage this week: Freefall Theatre’s ‘The Musical of Musicals,’ Jay Pharoah

SENDUP: MUSICAL OF MUSICALSFive composers, a talented cast, choreography by Cheryl Lee and music directed by Michael Raabe — that’s Freefall Theatre’s recipe for a laugh-filled, season-ending summer musical, appropriately titled The Musical of Musica...
Published: 06/20/18
Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

Artists’ talks and Sharon Norwood’s definition of beauty

MARK MAKING: DEFINING BEAUTYBlack, squiggly lines are at the center of multidisciplinary artist Sharon Norwood’s works, an exhibition of which titled "Defining Beauty" opens at Tempus Projects on Saturday. Norwood’s use of the line in a variety of me...
Published: 06/20/18
Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

Here’s the skinny on the ketogenic diet: What it is, how to follow it properly

It started with jugs of olive oil and cans of tuna, lots of it, which my husband hauled in one day and plunked on the counter. "That’s my lunch!"That was about three months ago, and every day since there has been a new entity in our house to consider...
Published: 06/20/18
Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

Five ideas for rainbow-themed foods to serve at your Pride party

More than 50,000 people are estimated to attend Pride weekend in St. Petersburg, which runs Friday to Sunday. (June is LGBTQ Pride Month.) Whether you plan to march in the parade or host your own smaller gathering, we’ve selected five rainbow-themed ...
Published: 06/20/18
My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

This week I wrote about something with which I have become very familiar: the ketogenic diet. If you’re like, "Huh?" you are where I was three months ago, before my husband, Phil, embarked on the weight-loss regimen. The keto diet is a high-fat, low-...
Published: 06/19/18
Updated: 06/20/18