Beach season is upon us. Get your suit and sunscreen ready. We already told you the best spots to booze on the water in the city, but what about when you find yourself out at Rockaway or Coney Island? Besides nutcrackers sold on the sand (hush hush), or beers you BYO, sometimes you want to duck off for a quick boardwalk beer, or finish off a solid beach day with cocktails — frozen or otherwise — at a nearby watering hole. Here are the best beach bars to hit up this summer.
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Rockaway Beach has the most options for imbibing. We’ll start with the boardwalk hubs: At Beach 90, you’ve got Rippers, your spot for micheladas and craft beers on tap, (plus plenty of bites, including a solid burger, fish tortas and cheese fries that hit the salty spot). Down on Beach 97, hole-in-the (boardwalk) Low Tide Bar gets you cans and drafts, micheladas, mimosas, organic wine on tap, and a sangria slushie. Over at Beach 106, Caracas Arepa Bar, the seasonal outpost of the popular East Village and Williamsburg Venezuelan eatery, has frozen sangria, plus cheaps cans and rotating craft beers on drafts.
If you're game to duck off the boardwalk and explore a bit, Rockaway Beach Surf Club, just a couple blocks off Beach 90, is where you can take it up a notch, cocktail-wise, with bloody marys, margaritas and a pina colada cocktail (rum and fresh pineapple on the rocks). Out on the patio, Tacoway Beach does the food, offering tacos, quesadillas, chips and salsa and the like; check out their events page for upcoming art exhibitions and film series. A block off from Beach 95, Connolly’s, a beachy Irish pub, has your frozen dranks — pina coladas and vodka pink lemonades — in styrofoam cups, if you dare take ‘em to go.
If you head farther west to the more remote Jacob Riis Park, you’ll find your libations at the Riis Park Beach Bazaar, which brings merchants and 20 odd food and drink vendors to the boardwalk every summer. The main hub is at "Bay 9," at 16702 Rockaway Beach Blvd, about a five minute walk west of the Riis Park memorial clock tower, but there are actually six bars set up along the boardwalk (see this map for guidance). The drink offerings span beers (domestics and craft pours from Sixpoint and Rockaway Brewery) and wine on tap, well liquor drinks and a handful of frozen drinks, including a raspberry margarita and a vodka lemonade. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those who venture farther west to Fort Tilden: you’re out of luck.
You probably don’t venture to Coney to actually swim (well, I don’t know, maybe you do) but most days down in Coney include at least a walk on the boardwalk, if not down in the sand. At Ruby’s Bar & Grill on the boardwalk, wash down fried clams with Ruby’s Amber Ale on tap. Enjoy frozen margaritas and nachos at boardwalk cafe, Place to Beach. Off the boardwalk, over on Surf Ave., the Freak Bar is open most Saturdays; if you're feeling adventurous, stop in pre or post beer for a freak show from the Coney Island circus sideshow. Just down the way on Surf Ave., you'll find Coney Island Brewery on the ground floor of MCU Park, where the Cyclones play. Order their latest brews on tap, plus craft soda cocktails made from their hard root beer and hard orange cream ale.
About a mile east down the boardwalk, you’ll end up in Brighton Beach, a much calmer enclave compared to Coney's perpetual carnival vibes. Volna and Tatiana are adjacent boardwalk bars where you can pair vodka, beer and wine with the likes of shrimp cocktail or smoked herring (or choose from a full menu of traditional Russian dishes, from borscht to beef stroganoff).