In 2011 Sarah and Ryan created the Florida Beach Bar Challenge taking on teams in a race to see who would be the first to visit all of the bars listed on FloridaBeachBar.com. The competition was created by Sarah and Ryan who along with several other teams took on the task. Other teams have come and gone, but Sarah and Ryan continued their quest to visit the bars on the challenge list.
Ryan and Sarah passed the halfway mark at the World Famous Oasis on St. Augustine Beach, bar number 101. Using the initial beach bar list as a guide, the two went on to visit a total of 208 beach bars and reached their goal in May of 2015. They are the Winners of the Inaugural Florida Beach Bar Challenge.
Traveling to Over 200 Florida Beach Bars by: Sarah and Ryan, Inaugural Florida Beach Bar Challenge Winners
▲= Bar has been visited Click on column headers to sort by Beach Bar, City,or bars visited
Having recently moved to Orlando from the Midwest, we wanted to visit different Florida areas outside of our new city. We stumbled across FloridaBeachBar.com in early 2011 and decided to use it as our road map. We reached out to the website owners, John and Chris, and the next thing we knew we had our own page tracking our progress on the site. We were amazed at how much they supported our efforts and we quickly became friends. As we told our friends about our plan to visit as many of these bars as we can, they wanted to do the same thing and the Beach Bar Challenge was born.
Over the years, some of our friends moved away, started families, changed jobs, and the competition faded away. We have been through our fair share of change ourselves but we wanted to keep going because it’s always been an excuse for us to get out of our house and take a break from the hectic pace of normal life. We explored some unknown parts of Florida and some of our happiest times were driving to the middle of nowhere only to find a fabulous beach bar. We’re thinking about you Alabama Jacks!
We met people along the way and more importantly got to share this journey with so many friends and family members. We even got Ryan’s Great Aunt and Nana out to a beach bar! Looking back, what really stands out are the memories we made with the people we love.
People sometimes ask what our favorite bar has been and we like to steal the response that John and Chris always give…”the one we’re at.” It’s so true. Jimmy B’s has unbelievable hospitality and a prime location, SKOB and the Daiquiri Deck in Siesta Key for the numerous friends that joined us there, Flora-Bama for hosting a great Kenny Chesney concert, Lorelai Cabana Bar for our 100th beach bar milestone, and the Square Grouper for making us feel like it’s always five o’clock somewhere.
Woody’s River Roo was one of the first beach bars we visited long before this challenge started. It was on the way to Venice Beach where we would often be invited by our great friends to spend a weekend. We’d leave Friday after work and get there by sunset. It was the feeling of having a weekend in front of you and the first beach drink in your hand that immediately removed us from the 9-5 grind. No matter what happened the rest of the weekend or down the road of life, we had those moments and that place. As Kenny Chesney says, there truly ‘is magic in those beach-side dives.’
What’s next? Well, we are going to continue visiting beach bars but this time, maybe at a slower pace. Whether it’s a blog or otherwise, we’d like to continue to share experiences, advice, and stories. Keep visiting our blog, Check out FloridaBeachBar.com, and hope you make the time to visit a few of these great places. Maybe we’ll see you out there.