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Twelve places to catch live music on Bradenton Beach | Events

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Twelve places to catch live music on Bradenton Beach
Twelve places to catch live music on Bradenton Beach

Living on the Island, the question that I get asked the most is “what is there to do around here at night?"

When I first threw my suitcase into the bungalow six years ago, the answer would have been “not much,” but a lot has changed in that time and Anna Maria Island now has a pretty active and interesting night life.

Off the top off my head (and please email me if I’ve missed something)…

Beginning with the far back reaches of Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach, Rotten Ralph's on the Pier has been known to make some noise, but I think they're pretty tame - with a good view.

 Continuing through the round-a-bout you'll find Drift In on the right. It’s a must-visit, as there is no other place I know of where you’ll find such an eclectic mix of people anywhere. Fondly known as the "Star Wars Bar" for that reason, as the music is just as diverse as it customers. They have live music seven nights week, it’s a great place for people watching, and the service is quite possibly the quickest of any bar on the island. Those girls can sling it! And don't worry, the smoke may briefly damage you, but the people are all very friendly.

Across from the Drift In is the Bridge Tender featuring live music every night, a casual menu and a patio overlooking the bay. Past that is Sports. It's a local hang-out for the service industry employees and fishermen, just as smoky as the Drift In, with hardly any of the pesky live music to contend with, but they do have pool tables.

Next on Bridge Street is the Back Alley. The Back Alley features a unique line-up of area bands and musicians weekends, most of which you won't find at other island locations. Food, beer and wine are available and it really is just an alley, so check the weather and their listings when you come out because there's no shelter.

Just past the Fish Hole mini-golf is a vacant lot that hosts the Bridge Street Market on alternate Sundays, and a musician is always there providing background to the bustle of the crafts merchants and food vendors.

 Past that, at the end of Bridge Street (on the western end round-a-bout), you’ll find Costaville, the Bridge Street Bistro and the Moose Lodge. The Moose requires membership, but the drinks are cheap, they’ve got exclusive beach access (and parking) and I'm pretty sure they still have spaghetti nights.

Banana Cabana is next with music on the weekends and delectable island food.

The Beach House is one of the Chiles Group properties and definitely a must-see on the island. They feature the most waterfront footage of any restaurant on AMI, along with an army of well-trained, welcoming staff and a hand-picked stable of musicians.

The final Bradenton Beach music venue is the Gulf Drive Tiki. The tiki is relatively new and among the coolest things to go up on the island. It sits right on the edge of the beach and hosts the public as well as private events. They have a full bar and the Gulf Drive Cafe menu is available as well at some of the high-tops on the boardwalk...kind of a best of both worlds. The Tiki can easily hold 200 guests for a private or public function.

So there you have it: a dozen live music venue options in Bradenton Beach, Florida.

Not bad for such a small place and I have it on pretty good authority that another, very casual live music option is coming to one of Bradenton Beach's waterfront locations for a free sunset show on the beach.

Details to follow. Visit www.mikesalessings.com for more information.

Check out more of Mike Sales' live music picks at Live Music on Holmes Beach

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