Peak Island Vibes at Sniki Tiki in Siesta Key

It’s easy to poke fun at the coastal Florida archetype known as the tiki bar. They all invariably look about the same, with thatched roofs, bamboo accents, fishing shack décor and a soundtrack heavy with the sound of steel drums. It’s a foundational part of Florida’s food and culture landscape, a quintessential piece of the region’s flair that makes the Sunshine State the premier destination for beach vacations. But more importantly, not all tiki bars are created equal.

Outdoor Bar and Restaurant

Take Sniki Tiki on the Southern end of Siesta Key. Part of the Captain Curt’s family of restaurants, the open-air bar embodies the spirit of all things sand and sea. Located across the street from Public Beach Access #12 to Crescent Beach, Sniki Tiki is the kind of island bar where the smell of sunscreen and salty air mix to make it seem like you never left the beach at all. The ample fans throughout the bar even mimic the Gulf breeze, and with a pitcher of ice-cold beer or a nice rum and coke, a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of flip flops, it’s enough to make Jimmy Buffett proud. 

But what really sets Sniki Tiki apart from other island haunts is the food. The double cheeseburger regularly wins awards in local publications, and a brief scroll through their reviews reveals why. Stacked with two enormous beef patties, cheese, all the fixings and, if you’re feeling adventurous, the option of bacon, the double cheeseburger is exactly the kind of fare to make you feel like your pants don’t buckle quite as easily.

An assortment of shrimp populates the appetizer offerings, including peel-n-eat shrimp served chilled, tangy boom boom shrimp or lightly breaded coconut shrimp. All of the shrimp come straight from the Gulf, meaning these seemingly simple snacks are actually supporting local fishing outfits and are some of the most sustainable seafood options available.  

Heartier fish entrees include basket of fried grouper tenders served with fries, a way more decadent version of fish and chips compared to the somewhat flavorless frozen mystery fish sticks you get at other tiki bars. 

Visitors from the New England area might be irritated and then relieved to know that the Sniki Tiki’s clam chowder once took home top prize from The Great Chowder Cook Off in Newport, Rhode Island. The fact that they use twice the amount of clams than potatoes might help explain that victory.

There are lots of restaurants in Southwest Florida that offer a similar look and feel as Sniki Tiki. If all you need is beachy décor and fried-from-frozen chicken tenders, then any tiki bar will do. But for those who want a little bit more out of their Siesta Key vacation, it’s tough to beat the peak island vibes and fresh seafood of Sniki Tiki.

Captain Curt’s Sniki Tiki outdoor bar and restaurant near the beach in Siesta Key, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides
Photo credit Mary Carol Fitzgerald
Captain Curt’s Sniki Tiki outdoor bar and restaurant near the beach in Siesta Key, Florida
Photo credit Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Written by: Andrew Fabian | Author Website

Andrew Fabian covers arts and food for various publications in Sarasota, where he has lived since 2005. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BA in English - Creative Writing. When he's not running around town to various restaurants and arts institutions, he enjoys a nice woodworking project or an evening on the couch with his wife arguing the merits of a television show or movie.