Hammock-strung, rum-stocked, and only a lime's throw from the water, beach bars are to summer what roaring fires are to winter – the best places to have an unhurried drink. Unfortunately, finding a good one can be tough. For every authentic outpost, there are a dozen dives decked out in flotation devices, tiki torches, and pun-filled, wall-mounted menus. Avoid all that spring break nonsense. From an island in Lake Superior to the wilds of the Eastern Caribbean, we've unearthed North America's hidden gems, the 25 most memorable establishments around.
Bankie Banx Dune Preserve, Anguilla
Fronting Rendezvous Bay, a cliche half-moon of perfect white sand, Bankie's is like an adult tree house built by creative, buzzed carpenters. Loosely constructed from driftwood and parts of salvaged boats, it's precisely the kind of ramshackle establishment that can only work on an island. The dreadlocked owner, Bankie Banx, performs regularly with his reggae band and does surprise stints behind the bar, too. "He makes a mean rum punch, and when I say mean what I'm really saying is intoxicating," says Jo Young, a New Yorker who has been coming to the bar for a decade. Views across the sparkling water stretch to the mountains of nearby St. Martin.
Feet from the water: 20
The regulars: Wall Street wolves and salty dog pirate types
What to order: Shots of Duneshine, an unusual liquor made from fermented ginger