Before taking off to the beach with my family, I always do online research to figure out special places to eat, drink, and be happy. I’ll look at food and beverage menus, assess the ambiance, and consider other intangibles for each candidate before setting my gustatory agenda for the trip. My wife and teens laugh and tease. But it works for me. And they end up reaping the benefits, too.
The Gulf at Orange Beach bills itself as “a casual, yet chic, seaside hideaway where the sun, sand and lush beach setting complement the tasty food, drink and friendly casual service.” O.K. That sounds good, so I take a deep dive into The Gulf. Here are nine reasons why it should be on your list for a lingering visit.
My favorite coastal stops always offer a great view of the Gulf of Mexico — usually including a beach and offshore barrier islands or keys. The Gulf ticks several atmospheric boxes: sugar-white sand, palm trees, and water vistas with boats and birds.
Built mostly from repurposed shipping containers, The Gulf anything but cookie-cutter. It’s outdoor-oriented, and this time of year is perfect for al fresco dining and drinking. Extra points for how recycling and sustainability seem to be priorities.
The bar is best-known for scratch-made minty mojitos. The top seller is the Seasonal Berry Mojito — muddled fresh lime, mint, and berries, mixed with simple syrup, aged rum, and a bit of club soda. Other popular options include a multi-hued rum punch called Surf’s Up, and a Spicy Blackberry Jalapeño Margarita. Batch-aged liquor infusions look enticing.
The chalkboard menu changes daily with fresh catch and seasonal produce. There’s something for everybody, whether you crave Gulf seafood, a comforting burger, or something light like a salad or poke bowl. Vegetarians can get by choosing among several snacks and sides. Order at the window and find a table on the deck or the sand “beach” built behind the seawall. The grouper sandwich, with a side of house-cut fries, is a favorite option.
You Can Shop, Too!
Shopping’s not my thing. But others in my family enjoy it and I’m always down to receive a souvenir. The Gulf’s boutiques sell clothes, home decorations, and mementos.
Sit and Stay a While
While others shop, I prefer hanging out in comfort, perched out in the sun and sand or in the shade of a palm tree. Lounge around on sectional cushioned sofas, reclining chairs and shady tear-drop shaped cabanas while contemplating the view, getting lost in a book, or striking up a conversation.
Dogs Love It
If it’s Fido’s vacation, too, your good doggy deserves a paws for the cause. If it’s a people-lovin’ pup, it won’t lack for attention.
Have I mentioned the view?