St. Augustine’s Boat Drinks: Come for the drinks – stay for the food

I wish I could say I found this on my own. I most certainly did not.

I’ve been frequenting St. Augustine quite a bit in the 4 or so years that the St. Augustine Food and Wine Festival has been in town. I’d always enjoyed a visit to America’s oldest city, but my visits were fewer and father between before the festival set up shop at the World Golf Village.

In that time, I’ve come to know quite a few great people. Talented people. Like-minded food people.

So when St. Augustine-based photographer Melissa Marcarelli recommended a spot to me, I didn’t take it lightly, but there is only so much food a guy can eat in a day, you know? My guess is Melissa first mentioned Boat Drinks to me back in 2022. At the time I took it as just another recommendation, which frankly, it was.

During subsequent visits to St. Augustine, she’d ask. Almost every time. “Have you gone to Boat Drinks yet?” No. I hadn’t. In my own defense, the one time I tried, they were closed on Wednesdays. That was my only free night. The visit would have to wait.

Fast forward to a visit I had with Melissa in March of 2024. Yes, last month.

“Have you been to Boat Drinks yet?” No. I had not. And i had begun to develop a complex. I needed to address this issue. I wish I could say I addressed it that week, but the next night? You guessed it. Wednesday. They were closed. My boat drinking would have to wait.

All that to say I finally made it to Boat Drinks a couple of weekends ago and now fully understand why it was the recommendation Melissa would just not let go of.

Simply fantastic.

Let’s start with the name. Boat Drinks leads you to believe it’s a bar, yes? Of course. And it is. Very much so. However, it is also a restaurant. Bar with food? Or restaurant with a bar? I’d probably say the former simply because of the quality of the drinks, which I’ll get to in a second. Every bite I ate at Boat Drinks was out of this world fantastic. I left there thinking this might be some of the best casual eats I’d ever had in St. Augustine. And that’s saying something because that scene is growing beautifully. There’s some REALLY good food along Florida’s Historic Coast.

Crispy Shrimp Sliders with a Datil Sauce. The call the sauce a ‘caribbean version of St. Augustine’s favorite sauce.’ Cool. Fine. Actually, not cool because it packs a beautiful kick. The shrimp was cripsy, the sauce was tangy and the sliders were just outstanding.

Crispy Shrimp Sliders

The Double Smash Burger was everything a smash burger should be. I don’t need to beat this drum too much except to say there are a ton of places out there using ‘smash burger’ as a marketing ploy. In reality they are rarely smashed and barely burgers. This is not the case at Boat Drinks. The perfect smash burger? I won’t go that far, but this was excellent.

I had their special of the day. A Blackened Black Grouper sandwich from the Gulf of Mexico. I trusted this to be a fresh piece of fish and it very much was. It wasn’t inexpensive, but if you’ve had enough frozen fish sandwiches then you know when you have a good piece of fish. And this was.

Double Smash Burger with all the stuff

Oh yeah, those drinks. We only had two. Their espresso martini (which Melissa highly recommended) was fantastic. Made with rum, it was delicious. They also offer it with vodka, but I can’t imagine it being as good as this one with rum. I had a drink they call a Dirty Banana. Jamaican Rum, coffee, bananas (duh) all mixed with a coco-piña slush. Don’t laugh, but all I could think about as I sipped it was the number of calories I was taking in….without any care in the world because of how simply fantastic this frozen drink was. I could drink them for hours on my favorite boat. Hell, I’d even sit on your favorite boat.

The Dirty Banana

Speaking of boats, I find it amusing that there aren’t any in sight around here at Boat Drinks. You’d think a spot like I’ve described would be on the water somewhere. Maybe a marina bar or near a beach. None of the above. You’ll find Boat Drinks right in the heart of Old Town St. Augustine on St. George Street, their main drag. Right next to the praline sample place and the tacky gift shop selling the kiddies eye patches and plastic swords.

Not a body of water in sight.

That shouldn’t stop you from a visit if you are headed that way this Summer. Boat Drinks will not leave you high and dry.

Thank you Melissa. The next one’s on me.

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