BRADENTON -- It's the hottest Bradenton summer in recent memory, but there are still plenty of ways to cool off. Grab your bathing suit and lather up with sunscreen, it's time for Weekend Adventures in Bradenton!
FRIDAY, JUNE 25
It's been a long, hot week and you need to cool off. There's something about a nice cold one that goes down so much better when you're sitting on the water or belly up to a tiki bar. Ask any poor landlocked northerner and they'll tell you that you just can't beat a refreshing cocktail while watching the sunset in a tropical setting. Fortunately, you live in paradise and such luxury is at you constant fingertips. This weekend, check out one of these Friday happy hours.
You can't beat the view at this upscale island spot. Stay for a delicious meal or just grab a brew as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico a few feet from your stool.
200 Gulf Drive North
Happy Hour, 3-7 p.m.
|Skinny's Place on Facebook|
These are the best burgers in Florida. Period. End of story. If you're like me and enjoy the sort of pedestrian old Florida haunts that have become an endangered species these days, then get out to the island and get your burger on at my favorite burger joint in the world. The beer is cold and cheap. The people are genuine and friendly. And did I mention the mouthwatering burgers? This is the real cheeseburger in paradise!
3901 Gulf Drive North
Happy Hour 3-7 p.m.
There's no water view, but this mainland institution has one of the only real Tiki bars in Bradenton. There's live musice and a lively crowd, so things tend to get rowdy at Clancy's. You can also enjoy quality apps and top-shelf, standard bar fare from their grill and they score extra points for having Guinness on tap.
Clancy's Bar and Grill
6218 Cortez Road West
I know it's Lakewood Ranch, but even suburbia has to have someplace for the fun people who are stuck there to congregate. Come into Ed's (adjacent to Lakewood Ranch Cinemas) and you'll quickly forget that you're east of the interstate. You won't see the "Sex and the City" wannabes that too often crowd LWR joints. Ed's is a fun, causal, unpretentious, family-friendly burger and beer joint that's got an impressive selection of signature burgers.
The Elgringo is my personal fave. Wash it down with a $2 PBR pint, or a $1.50 Bud Select, all day everyday for a tasty economic stimulus. If you like imports, the $3 pint of Carlsburg is a steal and they've got good martini specials because... well, it's still Lakewood Ranch.
1079 Rodeo Drive
SATURDAY. JUNE 26
Lakewood Ranch BBQ Cook Off
Summertime means BBQ! Get back over to LWR and check out the second annual BBQ cook-off and Beer festival. Professional Chefs at Ed's, MacAllister's, and the Polo Grill will be competing for the crown, while guests enjoy tasty samples and try international beers from Gold Coast Eagle Distributing.
Second Annual Barbecue Cook Off
Celebrity Slam Jam
Want some action? Get out to the Manatee Civic Center for the Celebrity Slam Jam. Local NFL football stars Fabian Washington, Mike Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have teamed up with the YMCA and local law enforcement officers for the Safe Summer Coalition, a summer program that features sports camps, with the goal of providing positive activities to occupy and enrich at-risk youth.
Other NFL stars including Larry Fitzgerald, Rod Harper, Chris Johnson, and Anaquan Boldin will participate, along with NBA star Corey Brewer. The slam dunk contest starts at 5 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at the Manatee Convention Center Box Office or through Ticketmaster and $25 at the door.
Celebrity Slam Jam
Manatee Convention Center
1 Haben Boulevard
SUNDAY, JUNE 27
Get a break from the heat and take in an air conditioned show. Bring the kids out to the Manatee Players Theater for a performance of the popular production, "Rugrats Live." Based on the beloved cartoon series that takes a look at the world through the wonderous eyes of a toddler, "Rugrats Live" is fun for the whole family and a growing population of young adults who grew up to the antics of Chuckie, Tommy, Angelica and company.
Showtimes: Friday 7 p.m.; Saturday 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Sunday 2 p.m.
Manatee Players Theater
102 12th Street West