Just writing about O’Maddy’s Bar and Grille, thinking about sitting looking at the water while sipping a beer and munching on their Caesar salad topped with a double order of Vegas Hot fried chicken tenders raises the probability, considerably, that that’s where I’ll wind up eating supper tonight! O’Maddy’s, and similar places, are why some of us live in Florida. We like beach towns and beach town attitudes. I’ve written about Gulfport, Florida, before on this site in Before TV and Gulfport, Florida. In every way, Gulfport is an archetypical beach town. I’m instantly transported to my youth whenever I go there. Two good Gulfport websites are the City of Gulfport official site and this terrific site that really captures the feeling of Gulfport.
Back in the early 60s, I was fortunate to go to my first couple years of college out on Point Loma, in San Diego, California. Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and Ocean Beach were where my friends and I spent our leisure time. Even today, those little beach communities have managed to retain some of their original, wonderfully seedy nature. (Here’s a live webcam of the surf at Ocean Beach.) I guess O’Maddy’s in Gulfport takes me back to 1963, San Diego beach towns, woodies, Jan & Dean, and riding behind my college roommate on his Vespa, listening to the Beach Boys sing Surfin’ USA.
Please don’t get the idea I was a surfer. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I was solidly, 100% nerd. But I liked the music and the times and the early 60s California scene. O’Maddy’s is as close as we’re going to get to that time and place, 3,000 miles away and 45 years later. The choice of piped in tunes at O’Maddy’s shows that the owner recognizes the demographic of his clientele very well. (My toes tap every time I’m there.)
O’Maddy’s Bar & Grille (5405 Shore Blvd., Gulfport, FL, 33707; 727-323-8643) is open every day at 11 A.M. with bar hours Monday through Saturday: 8 A.M. to 2 A.M. and Sunday: 11 A.M. to 2 A.M. Karaoke begins every night at 9:30 P.M. and the dinner menu starts at 5 P.M. Thankfully, the karaoke is in a different part of the building.
A word of warning about their website: it has midi music that plays on its own and can’t be turned off. Be sure to mute your computer’s speakers first unless you enjoy that kind of thing. But, their site is worth going to because it lists all the details of their menu. Their food is excellent. This is a “home run” place: excellent grub AND ambiance. The view of the water and Williams Pier is guaranteed to lower your blood pressure instantly.
There’s interesting info on William’s Pier at Waymarking.com: “521 foot extension into Boca Ciega Bay providing access to fishing in deeper waters/free admission/exterior lighting/benches/fish cleaning table.” So…take your fishing tackle for some fun before you go in for the karaoke contest every Wednesday from August 13th through October 22nd.
I’ve never had a bad meal at O’Maddy’s. The menu has plenty of appetizers with chicken tenders, buffalo shrimp, gator bites, mussels, onion rings, and scallops, through various salads with different meat toppings, on to excellent enormous wraps and sandwiches like corned beef, cheese Phillies, traditional Reubens, mahi-mahi Reubens, or substantial dinners of steak, pasta, chops, chicken, or fish.
To get to O’Maddy’s from Gulfport Blvd., which is the same as 22nd Ave. S., go all the way south on 54th St. until you dead-end at the Gulfport Casino. Turn left and it’s a couple blocks on your left. You’ll probably see me there, tonight!
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