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.
Pelican Bar at Jake's Treasure Beach, Jamaica
A hodgepodge of thatched palm and driftwood that looks poised to be blown to smithereens in the next hurricane, the Pelican Bar – accessed by a 20 minute ride on a fisherman's skiff from Treasure Beach – is a genuine Jamaican experience. Dreadlocked locals play dominoes while tourists down Red Stripes between stints of snorkeling along the shallow sandbar surrounding the actual bar. Call ahead and they'll have a feast of king fish and Caribbean spiny lobster grilling for you when you arrive.
Feet from the water: 0
Credit: Greg Johnston / Getty Images
The regulars: American tourists on the lam from their all-inclusives
What to order: Doesn't matter. You're getting a Red Stripe.