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Cozy Spots for Food and Drinks in South Walton

December 16, 2013 by Leanne King

As summer sun and sandy toes turn to brisk breezes and football games, it's fun to find local spots with cozy seating areas - places where you can relax and enjoy the off season in South Walton. Here is our latest SoWal List which has a few of our favorite local spots that will make the transition from gathering on the beach to gathering off the shoreline a little easier and a lot more fun.

Bud & Alley's Pizza Bar in Seaside simply brings people together. It's nestled in the dunes right beside the Gulf at the foot of the Seaside Obelisk. The iconic structure's official name is the Coleman Pavilion but locals call it the Obe. One of our favorite spots is on the Terrace, an open-air dining area right next to the Obe. Gourmet pizzas of Uovo, San Marzano, Felino Salami and other offerings of antipasti, cured meats and cheeses, seafood, insalata, vegetables, pasta and desserts are just some of the items to enjoy at Pizza Bar.
"On our outdoor terrace we do a lot of rehearsal dinners and receptions. The tables are coffee table height and seating offers a lot of cushions," says manager Joe Beane.

723 Whisky Bravo in Seagrove Beach is a beautiful fusion of casual and contemporary. Over 15 flatscreens make it an ideal setting for watching sports but the rooftop bar with open deck and Gulf views make it difficult to go inside. The rooftop is a perfect place to toast the sunset and gather around the fire pits. The menus are broken down into lunch, happy hour, dinner and even a two-for-one menu that features Gulf shrimp and grits, a crispy duck spinach salad and a large variety of gluten free foods. 
"We have beautiful fire pits and outdoor areas that are perfect for cool weather cocktails and dining. We offer great options for lower temperatures," says George Barnes, Director of Operations.
The Gathering Spot & Sushi Bar inside the Inn at WaterColor Inn & Resort has a beach-house feeling that everyone loves, but the dark rich colors invoke the feeling of autumn. Cozy wicker club-style chairs gather closely around small tables for intimate groups. And if intimate isn't what you have in mind, there is a large screen television for games! Live music is featured every Monday night during happy hour, which runs from 5 - 6 p.m. daily and features sushi and drink specials. The Gathering Spot is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and sushi is featured after 5 p.m.
"The Gathering Spot features an extensive sushi and small plates menu to enjoy in our lounge atmosphere or outside along one of our fire pits. Cocktails featuring house made spirits and mixes and a high-end wine list complete the experience,” says manager Tony Liartis.

Louis Louis Restaurant and Bar in Santa Rosa is located on Mussett Bayou Road and that's the perfect address for the funky atmosphere. Some call it Red Bar north, with a bit more emphasis on fine food. Strings of cocktail lights and a fabulous accumulation of random art and objects put you quickly in the spirit of fun, while the brick patio is more reminiscent of a hidden courtyard in New Orleans. This place is home to regulars who enjoy discovering the beer of the month. Nightly specials range from Panne Chicken to Shrimp and Crawfish Pasta.
"People love gathering around our real wood burning fire pit, especially our friends from up north. Louis Louis is the perfect place to hang out with a toddy," says owner Kyle Petit. 
Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar at Grand Boulevard has come onto the scene with all the makings of a great spot for cozy seating and friends to gather. The giant roll-up glass doors between the bar and the outdoor seating make it hard to resist being out there. Beautiful woods throughout the bar and restaurant as well as the outdoor area give it a cozy feel that brings a temptation to linger. And if that isn't temptation enough, the various menus are. The various menus include lunch and dinner, dessert, liqueurs and scotches, small plates, and a gluten free menu. Not to mention the great happy hour, daily specials and winey chick specials!
"With the weather cooling off, the comfy couches and fire pit offer a perfect spot for people to snuggle up and have dinner and drinks" said General Manager Justin Justak.    
The Marigny is hidden away in a perfect spot off East Hewitt Road north of Hwy 98 in Santa Rosa Beach. These guys meet you at the door with their cajun accents and relaxed attitudes and then leave your taste buds tingling with cajun spices and secrets. If you're a Saints fan this place is a must. The outdoor bar area has enough televisions to watch whatever game you want to watch, while your friends may be watching another. Loud fans aren't a bother at The Marigny, they are actually preferred. Although being a sports fan isn't required to enjoy the menu of Natchitoches Meat Pies, Boudin, Poutine and so much more.
"We have a new S.I.C.C. (Service Industry Clock-out Card) that we offer to anyone in the service industry. It gives great drink discounts every night from 9pm 'til closing," says managing partner Jason Jaume.
So as the winter rolls in, snuggle up with a hot toddy and relax at one of these cozy spots. Find more great places, rate, and comment in the SoWal Dining Guide


Leanne King's picture

Living and writing in Tennessee, Leanne could no longer settle for temporary trips to the Emerald Coast. Realizing that she was holding her breath waiting for the next visit, she moved to be here where the breathing comes more easily and the living is more alive.

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