Image: Chad Spencer

If there’s anything people love more than a beach, it’s a beach bar. Sea views, pink drinks with little paper umbrellas, a band playing “Margaritaville”—what’s not to love? Florida beach bar aficionados even have a website all their own—floridabeachbar.com, which conducts an annual contest that just named our own Sharky’s on the Pier the very best beach bar in Florida. This is a repeat performance: Sharky’s won the contest in 2013 and was one of the top vote-getters in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

According to the site, people voted in “record” numbers this year. Other top bars included No. 2, Jimmy B’s Beach Bar in St. Pete Beach, the Golden Lion Café in Flagler Beach and Bongo’s Beach Bar and Grill in St. Pete Beach. But local voters consider Sharky’s in a class all its own. Some beachfront watering holes can seem a bit seedy or edgy, but Sharky’s has a small-town, friendly vibe; you’ll see seniors, families with kids and young couples sharing the big outdoor space, dancing to the band  and and enjoying a technicolor sunset. It also has the Venice Pier, a great place to stroll out over the Gulf and watch fishermen haul in their catches, and an upscale restaurant, Fins, just upstairs.

Sharky’s is throwing a victory bash from 5 p.m. until sunset on June 10, with free drink samples, food and drink specials and live music. In addition to thanking its customers and those who voted, says co-owner Justin Pachota, the party “will give us a chance to show off everything that makes Sharky’s such a fun, unique place.”

Tickets are $5, and the event will benefit Venice Area Beautification Inc. and Mote Marine Laboratory. Info: (941) 488-1456 or visit sharkysonthepier.com.

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Fins

$$$ Seafood 1600 S. Harbor Drive

Eating on the second-story deck at Fins on Caspersen Beach in Venice will reward you with one of the best sand and Gulf views anywhere in Florida.

Sharky's on the Pier

$ Burgers, Seafood 1600 Harbor Drive South

A Venice landmark set smack dab on the beach at the city pier, Sharky’s serves casual dishes like spiced shrimp nachos and crab cake sandwiches.