If you’ve ever found yourself sipping cocktails beachside, whether you’re on one of numerous beaches here in the states or somewhere exotic, there’s a good chance your cocktail was a fruity, frozen concoction that happened to be served in a plastic cup with a plethora of fruity garnishes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a “beachy” cocktail, but they’re a little on the predictable side sometimes.
If you love the beach atmosphere, but are in the market for a more sophisticated cocktail then you may want to head over to the Casa Marina Hotel in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. The historic hotel, which first opened its doors in 1925, premiered its Penthouse Lounge a little over a decade ago and they’ve been serving up cocktails to the “Jax Beach” community ever since.
“Flirtini” and “Raspberry Lemonade Martini” at the Casa Marina Hotel’s Penthouse Lounge.
Thanks to its location, the Penthouse Lounge offers amazing ocean views since it sits right above the beach. They also boast a full martini menu and for those of you hoping to get your snack on as well, there’s also a tapas and lunch menu. While at the lounge I had the opportunity to sample a handful of cocktails and I have to say that my favorite was the “Key Lime Martini.” A combination of Stoli Vanil Vodka, Licor 43, fresh lime juice and cream, the “Key Lime Martini” is a decadent cocktail that comes with a surprisingly tart finish.
“Shrimp Curry” at the Casa Marina Hotel’s Penthouse Lounge.
Now I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys that a great night of cocktailing isn’t complete without a few edible treats and the Penthouse Lounge features a tapas menu that’s perfect for sharing or light snacking. It’s hard to pass on any seafood dish when the Atlantic Ocean is just feet away, so if you’re looking for your seafood fix, the Casa Marina Hotel’s martini-haven serves up both “Shrimp Curry” and their “Penthouse Crab Cakes.” And if you’re looking for something a little out of the norm then I highly suggest their “Baked Brie Encroute.” It’s sweet and savory perfection and a must-have for cheese lovers.
Be Easy’s Aaron Grigsby and Penthouse Lounge maitre d’ Sterling Joyce.
Yes, the Penthouse Lounge may be heavy on the local flavor, but according to Kyle McManus, the lounge’s bar manager, he hopes to break away from the title of Jacksonville Beach’s “little secret.”
“I don’t want to be the little secret anymore,” said McManus. “People want it to be like a local secret, but there’s even locals who don’t know about it sometimes…It’s a good place to be. We have a great view of the beach and the ocean with good cocktails.”
Thanks to a carefully crafted food and drink menu, a famed Sunday brunch, and festive live music (we happened to have come across a great band by the name of Be Easy during our stay), I’m sure the days of the Casa Marina Hotel and their Penthouse Lounge being a local secret are fortunately numbered.
*I was provided with a sponsored trip, but the opinions in this post are solely my own.
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