On top of offering superb outdoor activities like sunbathing, swimming on pristine beaches, and participating in water sports, the dreamlike Emerald Coast is a hotspot for vibrant nightlife.


Whether you’re visiting Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, or Miramar Beach, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to having a great night out in town.


After the sun goes down, these cities come alive with a variety of options for a chilled or high-energy night out — from seaside bars and restaurants to vibrant clubs and large entertainment complexes, there’s something fun for everybody.


In this nightlife guide to the Emerald Coast, we’ll show you our top picks for the best nightlife spots in Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Miramar Beach.


Time to explore the nightlife!

 

Nightlife Guide to the Emerald Coast Cool Bars


The best nightlife spots in Panama City Beach, FL


Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar


For more than 30 years, Sharky’s Beachfront Restaurant and Tiki Bar has been a favorite of both locals and visitors seeking a delightful blend of fresh seafood, beach vibes, stunning ocean views, and top-notch entertainment. While the venue doesn’t stay open too late into the night, it still makes for the perfect place to kickstart your evening in the best way possible.


After watching a spectacular sunset and having a delightful dinner, you’ll see the outdoor deck and beach-facing tiki bar at Sharky’s transform into a vibrant spot with live music performed either by great national or local performers.


The diverse drink menu offers a variety of options that will definitely make you want to linger a bit longer. A must-try is Sharky’s specialty, the Shark Attack: this delightful blend of tropical flavors and rum is your perfect companion as you groove to the lively tunes playing throughout the evening.

 

Ms. Newby’s


Ms. Newby’s stands as another institution in Panama City Beach, famous as a place to dance the night away, meet friendly locals, and create unforgettable memories.


They regularly host DJs spinning great hits, alongside local and national bands that guarantee a great night out for anyone visiting. Also, Ms. Newby’s karaoke nights attract those who wish to sing their hearts out, immersing themselves in the lively pub atmosphere.


The place has many sections, including a quirky indoor bar, an inviting outdoor area, and an upper deck. Ms. Newby’s offers spaces for dancing, singing, or simply chilling as you connect with people from all walks of life.


Oh, and they’re also famous for its signature drink — the Hunch Punch. Why is it named like that? You never know unless you try it!

 

Nightlife Guide to the Emerald Coast Dancing Clubs

 

Donovan’s Reef Bar


Since opening its doors in 1979, Donovan’s Reef Bar has become a hometown gem. It boasts an extensive calendar of events and parties throughout the year and a great drink menu.


You’re up for some classic bar fun with this one: karaoke nights for the singing souls, great live music performances hitting up the dance floor, dart boards, pool tables, oversized Jenga for clumsy competitions, and big TV screens for sports buffs to watch their match of choice. As you can see, there’s something for everyone at Donovan’s Reef Bar!

 

The best nightlife spots in Fort Walton Beach, FL

 

The Block


The Block stands out as an unbeatable choice for a night out in Fort Walton Beach. This one is the full package, combining three entertainment spaces in one and offering a unique experience for every visitor.


At the so-called Sports/Karaoke Block, you can enjoy watching live sports on large TV screens and try your singing skills on karaoke nights (held from Wednesday to Sunday). All of this is complemented by their delicious signature drinks.


Country fun awaits you at the Country Block, which, as the name suggests, is a vibrant hotspot for live music. This space hosts top-notch local and national performers, including the likes of American legend Blake Shelton. To add to the energetic and lively atmosphere, there’s Sugar the Bull — a mechanical bull you can ride for an extra thrill! Are you up for it?


There’s more: at Cell Block, you can dance the night away to a mix of great hits, ranging from pop to rock, while enjoying more amazing cocktails. There, it’s all about letting loose on the dance floor…

 

Nightlife Guide to the Emerald Coast Beer on tap

 

Salty Duck


Dubbed “the original American Craft Beer Bar,” Salty Duck counts forty beer taps that serve perfectly crafted beers from both local and national breweries. The taps are regularly rotated, which means you can try something new with each visit (as if 40 wasn’t enough!)


Adding to the experience, Salty Duck plays live sports on seven large screens and offers a variety of entertainment, including arcade games and classics like giant Jenga, dart boards, cornhole, beer pong, and foosball, to name a few. For those who prefer a laid-back atmosphere, their leather couches are great to chill and chat. Oh, there’s also a jukebox featuring a selection of old and new songs.

 

 

The best nightlife spots in Destin, FL


AJ’s Club Bimini


Located on the Destin boardwalk, AJ’s Club Bimini throws some great parties with amazing views of Destin Harbor. Every night, you can enjoy live music with talented bands and singers that will create an electrifying atmosphere on the spacious wooden deck-slash-dance floor.


Whether you’re out to dance your guts out or looking for a more relaxed evening, AJ’s Club Bimini is the place to go. Lots of seating areas offer a perfect setting to chat, enjoy the view of boats moored in the harbor, and listen to fantastic music.


The drinks? All crafted by the friendly and knowledgeable staff at the club’s tiki hut bar, which, by the way, is super Instagrammable. Think great people, awesome music, and the best beach vibes. There’s no going wrong here!

 

Red Door Saloon


This awesome bar is like a great hole in the wall or an awesome “dive” style venue. They have an outdoor bar with plenty of seating and great views of the sea and docks. It can get a little crowded, but the atmosphere is fantastic; the bartenders are super nice, and the prices are pretty reasonable — cheaper than most establishments you’ll find at Destin Harbor. No wonder this is a local favorite. If you’re into somewhere unpretentious with lots of friendly locals, that’s your spot.

 

Coyote Ugly Saloon


Known as “the most famous bar in the United States,” Coyote Ugly Saloon has several locations across the country, one in the UK, and one in Japan. Their Destin branch is as fun as any of the others and certainly a great spot for a night out. 


The atmosphere is wild. Picture bartop dancing, lively music, and a great list of drinks. Live DJs enhance the atmosphere on Friday and Saturday nights; on Thursdays, you can try your luck at beer pong. And ladies who feel brave enough can dance on the bar — and they even get free shots. Who needs a dance floor when you can conquer the bar, right?

 

The best nightlife spots in Miramar Beach, FL

 

Nightlife Guide to the Emerald Coast Arcade games

The Village of Baytowne Wharf


The Village of Baytowne Wharf offers all kinds of entertainment from day to evening. Besides lovely boutiques and galleries, fantastic restaurants and bars make this spot a great option for a night out. 


Throughout the year, The Village hosts several seasonal night events, being the Bubbly Baytowne the most popular during summer — think summer nights filled with free champagne.



All year round, bars such as
Fat Tuesday Daiquiri Bar, Hammerhead’s Bar and Grille, and Rum Runners are the perfect stage for grabbing amazing drinks, listening to live music, and dancing like there’s no tomorrow.


And it’s not all about dining and drinking; there’s fun and entertainment for the entire family. The Blast Arcade & Laser Maze, for example, features an impressive game arcade with games from which you can collect tickets and exchange them for prizes — what better souvenir to take home, hun? There’s also the
Cloak and Dagger Escape Room, a thrilling experience that the entire family can enjoy. 

 

Nightlife Guide to the Emerald Coast fine dining

The Craft Bar


What about a place with some gastropub vibes? The Craft Bar is perfect for those seeking a relaxed night out with exceptional drinks and food. The bar boasts an outstanding array of signature cocktails, as well as an impressive selection of draft and bottled beers — ranging from the most popular to the rarest in the country. The cozy atmosphere, adorned with red brick walls and high tables, adds an extra touch of charm, enhancing your experience as you explore their diverse drink menu.


Hungry? The Craft Bar is the place to satisfy your cravings with top-quality food, featuring a menu of mouthwatering burgers, refreshing salads, and hearty side dishes. All dishes are crafted using fresh, local ingredients with a regional twist. Be sure to mark your calendar for special nights, such as Monday Burger Nights offering reduced prices on burgers, and Local’s Night every Tuesday, where you can enjoy a happy hour drink selection throughout the evening.


Besides Miramar Beach, you’ll find The Craft Bar in other cities in Florida, such as Pensacola, Destin, Panama City, and Fort Walton. Always a good pick.

 

The Best Nightlife in Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Miramar Beach


We kid you not, these amazing Emerald Coast destinations offer as many great experiences during the night as they do during the day!


If you’re planning a trip to Panama City Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, or Miramar Beach, make sure to mark these hotspots on your map — we’re certain that wherever you choose to go, you’ll have a blast. Also, keep your eyes peeled for new places that have been popping up in these cities — there’s always something new going on in the exciting nightlife along the Emerald Coast!


Wondering where to stay on the Emerald Coast during your visit?


Book your stay with
Emerald Coast Vacation Rentals. We offer an unmatched selection of vacation rental properties to suit every traveler’s taste. Whether you’re looking for a beachfront condominium, pet-friendly rentals, or a charming beachside cottage, we have you covered.

Our properties are strategically located, which means you’ll be steps away from idyllic beaches, great dining options, exquisite golf courses, and an array of outdoor pursuits like deep-sea fishing, dolphin tours, and more. That’s the secret to a perfect Emerald Coast Gateway!