Locals know paradise when they find it.
We’re sharing it with you because you’re cool enough to know to stay with us.
Paradise Bar & Grill is one of the best places on the island to let loose and just be you, while listening to live music and sipping on a cold one. It’s close to other beach bars, if you’re in the mood to hop around. But why would you want to leave?
This bar and grill is pet and kid friendly, with a small dog beach next to the parking lot and tables in the sand so the little ones can play before, during and after dinner.
One lifelong local told us, “My favorite thing about Paradise is that I can get here by boat, and of course, the bands.”
National and international traveling acts play Monday through Saturday 6 to 10 p.m. and Sunday 3 to 8 p.m. You never know who you might catch. Past bands include the likes of Louisiana’s LeRoux and Victor Wainwright (who began playing at Paradise a decade ago and is now a big-time star, who just won Best Band at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis).
This is just your average beach bar, but with way more locals and way more fun. (Almost) anything goes at this slice of paradise, so come as you are … by foot, by bike, or even by boat. You can tie up to the dock or anchor in the Santa Rosa Sound.
Everybody comes here — bikers, lawyers, business people, college kids. It has universal appeal because you don’t have to be anyone but you. You can even show up in your bathing suit.
As our server puts it, “Paradise is a local favorite. People come because it’s fun, relaxing, full of friendly people … and you get to go swimming.”
Owner Fred Simmons says Paradise was always his dream. He’s just a cool dude who’s been on this beach forever — since the 60’s — a true, blue Pensacola Beach native.
Paradise began as a hotel, and Fred had the dream of putting in the bar the year before Hurricane Ivan hit. After the storm, Paradise Bar & Grill was one of the first places that opened.
Today, it’s a four-time winner of the Top 10 Beach Bars in the state of Florida. (And there are a lot of beach bars in Florida.)
Put your toes in the sand, or relax on a chair under the umbrella. It’s hard to get a seat at the bar, but if you can, strike up a conversation with a neighbor. There are always fun stories to be heard on this island.
So what should you order?
Bushwackers are a must-have here. They’re a Pensacola treasure, a chocolatey, milkshakey, rummy concoction, available in a small size if you want a little dessert drink after your meal. (That’s what we do.) Oh, and get the extra shot on top.
The restaurant is known for its burgers — Try Fred’s. General Manager Rene says you have to try Rene’s Shrimp Salad, although she may be a bit biased because it’s named for her.
Float around in the sound and grab a cool drink and a bite from the grill. (Or the fryer … the fried green beans and pickles are amazing!)
Fun Fact: If you’re on a fishing trip, you can bring your cleaned fresh catch into the restaurant, and they’ll cook it for you on-site for only $14.
Whether for summer sunsets or Sunday Funday and anything in between, Paradise is the perfect spot to end a beach day, preferably with a drink in hand.