The Global Barfly’s Companion #4 by Sam Slaughter
Bar: The Sea Vista Tiki Bar
Location: 1701 S Atlantic Ave, New Smyrna Beach, FL
I’m going to go ahead and say that the Sea Vista Tiki Bar is the best place to people watch in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The bar, one of many beachside bars in the “Shark Attack Capital of the World,” features dirt-cheap drinks, a beachside pool, and more local color than seems possible.
There has never been a beachside bar (that I’ve been to) that has epitomized the phrase “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor” more than Sea Vista. The moment you walk up to the bar—which is an outdoor deck with beach access—you’ll see why. There will be an abundance of “tramp stamps” that have long started to fade and sag, at least three bikers wearing only leather vests and shorts, and a gaggle of small children running to and from the pool as their parents get hammered. Your job as a patron is to order the strongest drink you can think of, sit back, and relax to late 90s ska/punk/beach jams by bands like 311 and No Doubt.
You don’t go there expecting style or class. You go there for drinks like the Tiki Tea or the 386 Motherf*cker that, within minutes, start your buzz. Within a drink or two (and at Sea Vista’s prices, why not two?), you begin to forget that you may end up playing giant Jenga with an ex-con.
This type of beachside perfection is only heightened by the fact that you can walk down onto the beach, dig a hole for your plastic cup, and pass out whenever you’re ready. A bloody Mary buzz under the Florida sun is a beautiful thing as the ocean breeze tickles your back and you slowly sweat out pure vodka.
Sam Slaughter (Episodes 119, 126, and 129) is a writer, English professor, and beer brewer based in DeLand, Florida. He’s had fiction, book reviews, and other nonfiction published in a variety of places, including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, South85, Drafthorse, The Southern Literary Review, Heavy Feather Review, and elsewhere. He can be found on twitter @slaughterwrites and on his website.