This Space Coast blog gig targets the not-so-coveted Baby Boomer generation and “senior demo,” which is industry jargon for anyone that perks up to television commercials for extended Medicare coverage or cell phones with big buttons.
Not so oddly, I watch 50s and 60s reruns (77 Sunset Strip is my current favorite) thinking the commercials I see are for someone much older and not me, of course! Anyway, I generally look for things to do on Florida’s Space Coast near brew pubs, thinking that through a cold IPA beer we will meet interesting people of all ages, which is generally the case. I am more the boomer Hubble Telescope...locating and illuminating. By the way, my wife asked me to point out that alcohol is not the center of our social universe, which I have now done.
This month my keen Hubble lens has located five places on the Space Coast that are NOT geared to kids, GenX, GenY, or GenZ customers. These places are Boomer-ready. As a fan of discovering unexpected, intimate, adult-beverage venues, my requirements are simple: no loud, ear-banging live music; no wall-to-wall, in-your-face big screen sports televisions and no gabby 20-something bartenders calling me “brother.”
I had a hard time figuring out what to call these places so you wouldn’t think these are just bars attached to restaurants or hotels. My parents called them “lounges” or “clubs” in the 60s and 70s. The word bar is just, well, too short and inaccurate. These are places that stand on their own. These are places with long histories where people like us arrive in nice shirts and slacks. No comfort pets. Smartphones seem out of place or constantly checking Facebook feels that way. No children’s crayons or coloring books.
Here are five places to check out on Florida’s Space Coast:
522 Ocean Avenue, Melbourne Beach
This sophisticated, yet very cool bar and restaurant has a great collection of wines, single malts and a full bar staffed with knowledgeable bartenders and servers. Happy hour starts at 4 p.m. every day, and the menu features Australian Lamb Chops, Roasted Duck, Sea Bass and Fresh Maine Lobster. You can sit outside on the deck, inside, or at the bar. Yes, they know how to make good gin martini. Plus, this is where the locals from Melbourne Beach congregate most nights and exchange great stories. For maximum effect, avoid shorts [unless they are red and accompanied by a blazer, button down shirt, and penny loafers].
2515 Roberts Road, Melbourne (Close to Viera)
With red neon signs flanking the left and right of the front door stating, “WHISKEY” and “EATS,” you know you’ve located a funky place for a beverage. Happy hour is Tuesday through Sunday between 4 and 6 p.m. They have an excellent chef and an accommodating menu that features classics like burgers, Reubens, steaks and much more. Bartenders know their stuff, and the martinis are excellent. There’s no high-volume live music, or television to drown out your conversation. The ceiling is festooned with old golf bags and clubs. Closed Mondays. They keep regular hours for lunch and dinner, but nothing too late.
900 North Atlantic Avenue, Cocoa Beach
Smack in the middle of Cocoa Beach and definitely old-school, Gregory's is a classic dark wood lounge with great staff on either side of the long bar. Expect a good martini, and a dinner menu with seafood and steakhouse options. They do have a kids’ menu, but don’t be too alarmed by that. No high-volume bands and loud television here either. You can actually carry on a conversation without sounding like an old, “What did you say?” codger as you cup your ear. When they answer the phone, you’ll hear something about Gregory’s Upstairs Comedy Club, but don’t be deterred. Shows take place Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m.
2210 Front Street, Melbourne
Located just outside of Downtown Melbourne, you may need a Google Map to help find this waterfront gem. You’ll find a great mix of locals and visitors start to arrive between 5 and 6 p.m. The menu is diverse, the atmosphere is simple, and the service is top-notch. There’s no ear-splitting, amplified live music. I recall a couple of televisions at one end of the bar, but most customers are not there for a sports bar experience. If you’re a seafood lover, this place is for you. Oh, good gin martinis, too.
2250 Front Street, Melbourne
Just a few numbers down from Ichabod’s, Chart House is even further from the day-to-day traffic in Melbourne. And while I try to steer clear of national chains, Chart House has grown into a solid local watering hole for a nice night out. You’ll get spectacular views of the Indian River Lagoon from just about any seat in the house. Large, friendly bar. Well managed place for a drink (yes, gin martini’s), and to meet locals from the area. Only downside is valet parking, but then, maybe you deserve to valet now and then.
For those of you interested in visiting the Space Coast, make sure you order a vacation planner. This guide includes rocket launch viewing sites, five ways to see Cocoa Beach, and hotel information. Order it here.