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.
Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack, St. Kitts
Fresh Caribbean spiny lobster is inevitably sizzling on the grill when Mr. X's bartender ignites the Thursday night bonfire, casting long shadows across Frigate Bay. "It's the perfect relief for travelers seeking relief from artificial resort environments," says Robert Cole of Menomonee Falls, WI, of the Shiggidy Shack. Limbo dancers shimmy beneath poles set aflame, live soca music – a calypso style incorporating Indian musical instruments – blasts from colorful shacks on the beach and locals shake their booties alongside tourists up for a good time.
Feet from the water: 30
Credit: Dannielle Hayes / Getty Images
The regulars: Members of the local Hash House Harriers club and tourists from the nearby Marriott
What to order: A potent rum drink dubbed the Shiggidy Jig is the house special.