#76 of 199 Destin Restaurants

Rum Runners

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Rum Runners Sandestin: Dueling Pianos, Stiff Drinks, & Tropical Ambience Near Destin
Local Expert's Rating:
3.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Rum Runners Sandestin is more a place to go for atmosphere (tiki-style tropical), entertainment (not least the dueling pianos), and stiff drinks than the food itself, which is on the average—and somewhat pricey—side of things. But for a cocktail, some groovy live tunes, and an escapist island-time ambiance, this place fits the bill.

- The FloridaPanhandle.com Local Expert Team

Opened in 2003, Rum Runners Sandestin aims to give its guests the fantasy of a tropical island complete with eats, drinks, and live entertainment amid the thatched tiki huts and palm trees. All things considered, this isn’t a place to go for top-quality food, but it can be a fun spot for drinks and dancing.

While the place also hosts open-mic nights, DJ sets, and other live entertainment, the best-known onstage action at Rum Runners is the dueling piano show. It’s pretty crowd-pleasing fare unless you come specifically to watch a game on TV when the pianos are dueling, in which case you may be annoyed by the noise and hubbub.

The menu at Rum Runners has a seafood focus, as you might expect, and no shortage of fried preparations. Appetizers include coconut shrimp, buffalo wings, crab cakes, and the Rum Runners nachos. You’ve got a number of different chicken sandwiches to choose from as well as the Hurricane Burger and seafood sammies, with your choice of mahi-mahi, shrimp, or fresh fish of the day prepared fried, grilled, or blackened. The sandwiches come with French fries and coleslaw—the seafood sandwiches also include tartar sauce—and any can be alternatively made as wraps.

The variety of fried baskets, meanwhile, include chicken tenders, Mahi, shrimp, fresh catches, or combo Mahi and shrimp, and come served alongside fries, slaw, and hush puppies.

Rum Runners entrees range from jerk chicken and ribeye to the Grouper New Orleans (with blackened grouper slathered in tasso sauce and topped with crab meat, and served alongside island rice and a veggie medley), the Blackened Shrimp Alfredo, and the Rum Runners Caribbean Feature, with seared fish-of-the-day, served with crab meat and lemon butter sauce, plus the island rice and vegetables. 

There’s a decent kids menu here, with options likely to please even those picky young eaters: fish fingers, chicken tenders, Pasta Marinara or Alfredo, grilled cheese, etc. As far as dessert goes, you’ve got Key Lime Pie or a triple-layer chocolate cake to choose between.

Again, the food’s not really of the award-winning variety here, though if you know what to expect it often hits the spot. (The prices are a little steep, though.)

Drinks are a surer bet for satisfaction here, with both bottled and draft beers, a small selection of wines, and various tropical cocktails and other mixed drinks (also not cheap, but at least with plenty of bang for your buck). 

Here are a few Rum Runners menu items to consider ordering:

The Official Rum Runner Cocktail
Primed with Bacardi Light and Bacardi Dark rum plus blackberry brandy, banana liquor, and a juice blend and available on the rocks or frozen, the Rum Rummer is a potent and tasty cocktail that’s just the thing for getting into the whole tropical-island mood.

Blue Lagoon Cocktail
Another good choice for an adult beverage, the Rum Runners Blue Lagoon includes Bacardi Coconut Rum, Blue Curacao, and tropical juices: good for fueling your dueling-piano enthusiasm!

Mahi Mahi Entree
The Mahi Mahi dish is one of the better ones on the Rum Runners menu, serving up fresh blackened or grilled fish with the accompaniment of island rice and a vegetable medley.

If you feel like getting a little tiki during your Destin-area getaway, consider Rum Runners, where your night on the town may include some ivories being exuberantly tickled and a bowl-you-over kind of drink.

Insider Tip:
The service at Rum Runners can be on the slow side—sometimes the very slow side, especially on busy nights. This isn’t a promising choice for a quick meal, in other words.