Sunday, May 20, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Salt brings premium tequila, craft beers to Shephard's Beach Resort in Clearwater Beach

Shephard's Beach Resort has been a Clearwater Beach hotspot for longer than many of its customers have been alive. It carries a lot of flags — beach resort, tiki bar, nightclub, boutique hotel — but, for the most part, it's known as a destination for 20-somethings looking to let loose in their swimsuits.

It's not really a place that you would put in the "something for everyone" category. At least, not until the recent completion of a yearlong expansion and renovation that has added four more levels to the hotel, a new 7,000-square foot pool and poolside bar, a cafeteria-style restaurant with an interactive kitchen, and — oh, yes — a bar specializing exclusively in craft beer and premium tequila.

The concisely named Salt features 24 rotating draft beers, a handful of bottles and a monstrous selection of more than 90 tequilas. It's unusual to find such an extensive menu on the beach; it's even more unusual that these two categories make up the entire drink selection at Salt.

It's actually quite clever. For frozen drinks, tropical cocktails, buckets of beer, and big-name domestic drafts, the tiki bar is the place. It's been a central fixture of Shephard's since way before the expansion.

For fine wines, scotch and classic cocktails, check out Ocean Flame, the indoor restaurant. Bomb drinks and bottle service? You need to visit the Wave nightclub. Craft beer and tequila? Salt's your spot. With each bar featuring a different specialty, Shephard's visitors can bar hop without ever leaving the resort. Relative to the size of the resort, Salt is tiny. You'll pass it as you go through the walkway separating the tiki bar from the night club. The outer wall is open, allowing Salt to stay cool and shaded but also breezy inside. It also gives a sense of connectedness to the rest of the resort — guests can casually stroll in and out of the bar just as easily as they would the adjacent tiki bar.

Inside, Salt features a long bar, backed by more tequila bottles than you'll find in an average liquor store. There's a row of beer taps, which includes local options from breweries such as St. Pete Brewing, Cigar City and Saint Somewhere. A few booths are wedged between cabinets designed to hold even more tequila bottles, and seating on the far end offers a view of the water.

The tequila list is extensive, breaking down selections by age. Looking for a quick drink? Try a $5 shot of Lunazul Blanc. Want to savor something more complex? Some of the añejo extra varieties, such as Don Julio Real and Gran Patron Burdeos, will challenge your palate and wallet alike.

Salt has a few more projects in the works, to debut at official grand opening of Shephard's new expansion on Aug. 1. These include a short list of tequila cocktails, including variations on the margarita and paloma, as well as a line of tequilas aged in-house. One of these is a smoked tequila, which will no doubt pique the interest of scotch drinkers.

In name and selection, Salt is simple. But as we often say, less is more. In the case of Salt, this is certainly true. By adding a bar that serves only beer and tequila, Shephard's has rounded out its resort experience. It's only a small part of an ambitious expansion, but Salt really does make Shephard's a much more interesting destination.

[email protected]

Comments
Walt’s Fish Market, a Sarasota institution, to celebrate its 100th anniversary

Walt’s Fish Market, a Sarasota institution, to celebrate its 100th anniversary

A Sarasota seafood fixture is celebrating its 100th anniversary.Walt’s Fish Market, Restaurant and Tiki Bar, 4144 S Tamiami Trail, will host a party at noon on Sunday complete with a mechanical shark, live music, live auctions, silent auctions, an al...
Published: 05/18/18
Oldsmar ice cream shop opens right in time for summer

Oldsmar ice cream shop opens right in time for summer

Ice Cream Theory, a new ice cream shop in Oldsmar, offers cool and tasty treats to help beat the summer heat."We wanted it to be fun," said co-owner Jessica Weintraub. "We wanted it to be a place for kids to just hang out and enjoy some ice cream."Hu...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Terra Gaucha opens on Dale Mabry

Terra Gaucha opens on Dale Mabry

A new Brazilian style steakhouse is now open in South Tampa and upholds the traditional Southern Brazilian barbecue "churrascaria" dining experience- Gauchos (Southern Brazilian cowboys) roasting large pieces of skewered meats over an open flame.Terr...
Published: 05/17/18
McDonald’s giving away free food to military members today

McDonald’s giving away free food to military members today

TAMPA— All current and former military service members in central Florida can stop by their local McDonald’s and grab a free burger today.In celebration of Military Appreciation Month, McDonald’s is giving away a "Taste of Thanks." All veterans and c...
Published: 05/17/18
tbt* local craft beer of the week: PB and J Brown Ale, Palm Harbor Brewery

tbt* local craft beer of the week: PB and J Brown Ale, Palm Harbor Brewery

There’s a decent chance you’ve never had a beer from Palm Harbor Brewery. Its tiny taproom can seat no more than half a dozen folks at the bar, and that includes guests coming for wine from the brewery’s on-site sister business, Two Lions Winery. You...
Published: 05/17/18
Bar review: Champagne, whiskey and caviar? Yes, please, at luxe Flute and Dram

Bar review: Champagne, whiskey and caviar? Yes, please, at luxe Flute and Dram

I have a rocky relationship with Champagne.If I could drink it every day, there’s a good chance I would. But I can’t often stomach the thought of paying more for a name than the product itself, which, as a non-expert, has been my experience. I’ve had...
Published: 05/17/18
Food events this week: St. Pete Taco and Beer Fiesta, Brunched 2018, Sweet Corn Festival

Food events this week: St. Pete Taco and Beer Fiesta, Brunched 2018, Sweet Corn Festival

TACOS: AND BEER You can get the weekend started Friday evening at the St. Pete Taco and Beer Fiesta from 6 to 11 p.m. at Albert Whitted Park. It’s a serious all-star cast of food trucks: St. Pete Taco Lady, I Wanna Wok, Fiesta Bowls, Boom Boom...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
McDonald’s has ditched frozen patties for fresh beef, and we tried them

McDonald’s has ditched frozen patties for fresh beef, and we tried them

LARGO — Ray Kroc, fast food’s founding father, was a quotation machine. One of his doozies was, "We’re not in the hamburger business. We’re in show business." This month, McDonald’s show got a little more sizzle. In the...
Published: 05/16/18
Drink of the week: Mumm Napa Cuvee M Sparkling Wine

Drink of the week: Mumm Napa Cuvee M Sparkling Wine

Much as I love sparkling wines, I don’t usually drink them at dawn. This Saturday will be an exception: the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.It’s going to be decades before young royals George, Charlotte and Louis walk down the aisle, ...
Published: 05/16/18
Host a watch party and British breakfast for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding

Host a watch party and British breakfast for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding

The nuptials of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry commence Saturday in London, and once again we Americans have become bonkers for the wedding of a member of the British royal family. Almost 23 million viewers in the United States watched coverage of H...
Published: 05/16/18