Schooners bills itself as “The Last Local Beach Club,” but it’s really much more. It’s a spot on the beach where you can order a dependably good cocktail, enjoy a surprisingly great meal, and enjoy an extraordinary ambiance. While the proprietors don’t have anything to do with the waters of the Gulf, they do provide an excellent dining atmosphere that includes a welcoming staff and live music that keeps the party going.
Although this has nothing to do with their food, Schooners’ live cam feeds are worth a mention. Primarily because they’re just plain fun. As the name implies, the “Sunset Cannon Cam” is meant to catch those stunning moments when the sun sinks below the horizon (although you’ll get a peak at the gorgeous beach during daytime hours too).
The “Beach Cam” provides a live broadcast of who’s on the beach, any games that might be going on, and of course, the waves as they gently lap at the shore. Finally, the “Hill Bar Cam” shows you what’s happening inside the bar. Want to check and see if your friends made it before you? This is the place. All cams can be viewed from Schooners’ website.
Schooner’s kitchen is small compared to many, but chefs manage to create a pretty great field (or sea)-to-table dishes.
Here are some of the menu items that impressed us:
A quintessentially Southern dish, this gumbo includes shrimp, crawfish, and andouille sausage. It’s warm, savory, and not to be missed.
Seared Crab Cakes
Appetizers are appetizers until they’re something more special. Schooners’ version consists of two jumbo lump crab cakes served with tropical fruit salsa and Cajun remoulade. Truth be told, after one serving you may be tempted to order another and simply make a meal of it. We recommend you resist that urge and order one of their great entrees.
Gala Chicken Salad
Isn’t it odd when you order a salad because you’re not terribly hungry, only to find that it’s more filling than most traditional dishes? The Gala Chicken Salad is the perfect example of this. It consists of roasted chicken, gala apples, dried cranberries, golden raisins, and walnuts mixed together in a cream salad base and served atop mixed greens. It’s topped off with tropical fruit salsa for a truly Floridian flavor.
Take your average crispy flatbread and add chopped lobster, smoked gouda, cheddar jack, parmesan, tasso (pork), minced yellow onion, and a touch of jalapeno. Bake until the cheese melts into the flatbread and serve. Yes, it’s as wonderful as it sounds.
Schooners’ take on the classic Cuban, this delectable sandwich includes slow-roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard rolled and grilled in a flour tortilla. It’s a gourmand delight for the meat lovers in your party.
Gulf Fresh Grouper
When Schooners says “fresh,” they mean fresh. As in just-out-of-the-water fresh. Served as a sandwich, ask for any condiments you’d like to make it your own.
“The Beach Party”
Any seaside restaurant worth its salt offers a seafood platter, and Schooners is no exception. Theirs includes a trio of redfish, oysters, and butterfly shrimp. It’s the perfect meal if you simply cannot decide on the specific seafood you’re craving.
White Chocolate Macadamia Cheesecake
It would feel wrong to omit this dessert option, and so here it is: a ridiculously sweet version of cheesecake covered in melted white chocolate and sprinkled with macadamia nuts. It’s the ideal ending to an ideal dining experience.
Whether you come for the music and stay for the food or come for the food and stay for the music, Schooners is sure to make you happy. Take your time with the experience. Order a drink and stroll the beach, or simply sit back and breathe in the fresh sea air.
-There are plenty of menu options if you are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. Ask your waiter for more information.
-Schooners is wheelchair accessible.
-The restaurant can be loud during peak hours. If you’d prefer a quieter setting, ask to be seated outdoors.