Nothing like some brick-lined back patio drinking.
Outside, it would be easy to confuse Sunset Grille with a quirky little breakfast spot for neighbor millennials with a fantastic avocado toast. The bright and cheery exterior, complete with pastel-colored planters and a whimsical sun sculpture over the front door isn’t exactly dive bar standard, but it does hint at an inviting spot for an afternoon of day drinking.
The space stretches back from the street farther than it feels like it should, a layout divided into two halves with a snug front bar and a sprawling back patio. Up front, a small horseshoe bar borders a pair of pool tables, giving off the vibe of some kind of sun room created for the sole purpose of drinking beer. The confines are intimate but not overly cramped, high top tables ringing the room.
And if Sunset Grille ended at this front area, the story would stop there as a fun, neighborhood bar recommendation, but the back patio elevates the experience considerably. The inside-out format of the patio blends an extensive back bar with semi-covered and fully uncovered table seating, creating something along the lines of a Florida beer garden.
It’s probably not fair to call Sunset Grille a dive bar, really. The space is a bit too sprawling, the food menu a bit too legit, the bathrooms, sadly, a bit too clean. Rare is the dive bar that features a brick-laid back bar with arched windows that provide interspersed spots to belly up. Rarer still is one that features vaguely nautical paintings that include an octopus-themed exterior electrical box.
Fixed bench seating is complemented by a plentiful array of wooden tables out back. Roll down barriers keep the rain out when needed, otherwise removed to spill out into open-air seating a slightly elevated stage area for live music. Though this theory remains unproven, the layout feels a bit like the dividing line between bar regulars up front and a more diverse crowd out back even featuring, gasp, families.
In the end, the recommendations to visit Sunset Grille referring to it as a dive bar probably say a little more about the bar tolerance of those that recommended it that way than it does about the vibe of Sunset Grille itself. It’s a Florida beach bar nowhere near the beach recreating a bit of that feeling with an epic back patio and some secondary seating elsewhere to provide a little shelter from the general drinking public storm. While not a dive bar destination, necessarily, Sunset Grille is an easy recommendation for a little day drinking and wings.