The Cedar Keys and the town of Cedar Key, Florida may not be part of the more famous Florida Keys but if you’re looking for a remote island to visit, head to the western end of Florida State Road 24. That’s where you’ll find Cedar Key and its Duval St. equivalent, Dock St. Lined with bars from one end to the other, Dock St. offers up one option in abundance that Duval St. can’t match – a multitude of waterfront bars.
Located 90 miles due north of St. Pete/Clearwater, Cedar Key isn’t easy to get to. You’ll have to drive to the western end of state road 24 to find it and there’s not much to see along the way. Surrounded by federally-protected land, Cedar Key is off the beaten path and even more so off the typical tourist path. Maybe that’s what adds to its allure – to get here, you really have to want to be here.
When a beach isn’t handy, waterfront bars have always been my fallback. Very few things in life beat enjoying a drink or two with friends and family over endless views of islands and water. Cedar Key’s Dock St. offers both. With at least a half dozen waterfront bars from its west end to its east end, Dock St. has plenty of choices to choose from for wandering beach bar bums. With the various other keys in the Cedar Keys dotting the horizon, you may just find your Keys escape nowhere near the actual Florida Keys.
From west to east, most of Cedar Key’s beach/waterfront bars on Dock St. are listed below. Feel free to refer back to it if you start your bar crawl and forget where you are halfway through (wink).
All photos courtesy of Pat Donnelly.
Duncan’s on the Gulf
Primarily a seafood joint, Duncan’s on the Gulf also offers all the other typical American fare such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, steak and pasta. Facebook reviewers give them a 4.3 out of 5 score while Google users are a little less generous with an average rating of 3.9. This place is huge so you won’t miss it. You’ll have to like them on Facebook for updates as their website is currently down. The Facebook page has plenty of music events on the calendar so it appears to be a good option to check out the local music scene.
Steamers Clam Bar and Grill
Steamers Clam Bar and Grill is another seafood restaurant where, you guessed it, clams and oysters take center stage. The menu appears to be a little more extensive than Duncan’s so if you’re looking for something not typically on a seafood menu, you might want to check this place out. Google reviewers give it a 4.3 rating out of 5 while Facebook users chime in with a hearty 4.6 out of 5.
Liam and Madi’s Bar
Formerly the Black Dog up until 2019, Liam and Madi’s is a bar with no food available. If you enjoy drinks, darts, shuffle board and a lot of TVs, this place might be for you. It looks like they have some live music as well so “like” them on Facebook to stay up to date.
Big Deck Raw Bar
As its name states, Big Deck is a raw bar. It’s also pretty busy with musical acts so like them on Facebook to find out who is on stage next. Facebook reviewers give it a 4.6 while Google users chime in with a 4.3. Cheap beer and drinks along with burgers are among the highlights.
83 West seems to be a little more high end but still casual (more restaurant than bar) when it comes to the waterfront bars of Cedar Key. Beyond its restaurant functions, it also hosts private events, does outside catering and 29 North at 83 West, its upstairs dining experience. Seafood is available, of course, along with over a dozen different sandwiches, tacos, soups and salads and a daily food and drink special. If you like pool, you’re in luck – they have three tables waiting for you.