Going out to dinner and drinks by boat is one of the perks of living in Palm Beach County, where the Intracoastal Waterway is our aquatic I-95. Whether you’re sticky and salt-covered from a day on the water or dressed for a romantic sunset cruise, there’s a dockside joint to fit your mood.
Here are some of our favorite restaurants to tie up for a sunset sip or an afternoon burger:
This is the kind of beach bar (that it's on the Jupiter Inlet instead of the beach is a quibble) you hope to find and rarely do. The kind where you can wiggle your toes in the sand while ordering a beer and a burger, then gaze out over moonlit water. And it's so much better when you get there by boat. 21 years old and up. Latitude: 26 degrees 56.766 N; Longitude: 80 degrees 04.865 W on the south side of the Jupiter Inlet.
Behold the view of the landmark Jupiter Lighthouse across the Jupiter Inlet from this waterside restaurant. Jetty's is a Florida-style locals' favorite with a seafood-centric menu.
With the tropical vibe, the outstanding view (sits across from the Jupiter Lighthouse) and the great food, U-Tiki Beach provides a wondering dining experience.
Guanabanas is possibly the prettiest place to eat and drink outdoors in all of Palm Beach County, in a lagoon off the south bank of the Loxahatchee River.
DIVE BAR RESTAURANT
You can tell it's a boater's bar when directions include longitude and latitude, as well as directions by water. Latitude: 26° 55’ 51.0384” Longitude: -80° 4’ 49.1304” at the north end of the Riverwalk Marina. Call the dockmaster on Ch. 68 for dock space.
Pull up to the public dock to grab a bite at a variety of restaurants that include Tommy Bahama's, Bravo! Cucina Italiano, The Woods Jupiter and Calavera's Cantina.
On the Intracoastal just north of the PGA bridge, this fine dining restaurant attracts an upscale boating crowd which pulls up to the seawall outside.
The newest Nashville -based Bricktop’s chain is located on Palm Beach Garden’s prime waterway stretch across the shimmering Intracoastal from Seasons 52. The remodeled property, formally occupied by River House, features a waterside tiki bar.
On summer weekends, dock space can be hard to find at one of the county's longtime dock-and-drink spots. Just south of the PGA bridge, there are outdoor bars and an indoor (read: air-conditioned) dining space where you can beat the heat.
FRIGATE’S WATERFRONT BAR & GRILLE
Tucked away on the Earman River, just off the Intracoastal in North Palm Beach, this is the place to hear about the the size of the ones that didn't get away from the sport fishing crowd that hangs out here. You can even call in your food order by radio and pick it up at the dock.
Across the channel from Peanut Island, this charter fishing fleet headquarters is a popular stop for boats coming in the Lake Worth (Palm Beach) Inlet. Sail in Thursday nights when the Sunset Celebration includes arts & crafts, music and a chance to feed the crevalle jack fish that live under the floating dock.
OLD KEY LIME HOUSE RESTAURANT
Missing the Keys? For some salty charm, head to what its owners claim is the oldest waterfront restaurant in Florida, in an 1889 former pioneer home. Just west of the Lantana bridge, near the headquarters for drift boats and charter fishermen, this Margaritaville melange of marine artifacts and University of Florida souvenirs (beware, anyone sporting garnet and gold) has dock space, outdoor bars and indoor historic charm.
KONA BAY CAFE
Take the boat out for a sunrise cruise and end up for breakfast at this spot near the Lantana bridge. You'll join local fishermen heading out on the nearby drift fishing boat. If you come back lucky, Kona Bay will cook your catch, as long as you bring it in before they close at 2 p.m.
LAKESIDE ANCHOR INN
If you like your boat bar unsalted, Anchor Inn on freshwater Lake Osborne may be the only option east of Lake Okeechobee. Closed for about two years, the landmark steak and seafood joint re-opened with a large tiki bar, new menu and live music Friday and Saturday nights. Get there by following Lake Osborne south to its tail end, a bit north of Hypoluxo Rd.
Lakeside Anchor Inn: 2412 Floral Rd., Lantana; 561-868-5900
Since 1957, this former fish shack, where patrons once sat outside on wooden cable spools, has been serving locally caught seafood. Expanded into a sprawling compound of restaurant, and tiki bars, it still has the salty tang of a fisherman's hangout, with an air-conditioned dining room, if you must.
12 million. That's how many people the Banana Boat estimates it has served since opening in 1978 in then-sleepy Boynton Beach. Today, this bustling spot next to Two Georges is boat bar central, with weekends seeing a steady stream of mariners tying up for a frosty few, peel 'n eats or conch fritters.
This fine dining spot on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway, just south of the Woolbright Road bridge has dock space for plenty of boats, plus outdoor and indoor dining.
Cleat off on the 150-foot dock on the west side of the Intracoastal, just south of the Atlantic Avenue bridge, and you'll usually find the party has already started on the big outside deck. Looking for quiet romance? Head inside to the dining room.
The setting of this restaurant, which inhabits the former Hudson at the Waterway East property on the Intracoastal in Delray, is outstanding. What a lucky thing for local lovers of Argentinian and Spanish foods: a place where the empanada comes with one of the best views in South Florida.
The restaurant is located inside the Waterstone Resort & Marina and makes for a beautiful waterside spot.