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Bar Tab: Seafood Shack (updated with video)  

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Bartender Nick Field has been at the Seafood Shack in Cortez for the past 15 years. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Bartender Nick Field has been at the Seafood Shack in Cortez for the past 15 years. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Perhaps you noticed. The relaxing qualities of drinking on the water are minimized during these sizzling days of September. But we still enjoy the view of the waves massaging the sand, the boats traversing the saltwater rivers and, especially, the sight of frolicking dolphins. So what’s a couple of Southwest Floridians to do?

Bartender Nick Field makes a stiff, tasty Manhattan at the Seafood Shack in Cortez. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Bartender Nick Field makes a stiff, tasty Manhattan at the Seafood Shack in Cortez. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Find that rare waterfront bar that is indoors and air-conditioned, replete with large windows framing spectacular views. That’s the deal at Seafood Shack, one of the oldest restaurants and bars in Cortez. My amazing wife Kristin and I stopped by during a recent weekday to take advantage of the 4-6 p.m. happy hour featuring a dollar off just about everything worth imbibing. From our bar stools, in a room as cool as we keep our house (73 degrees), we could see lots of boats, the Cortez Bridge and the Intracoastal Waterway, and, well, life was good. And it got even better with the beverages.

Nick Field, a Sarasota native, has been a bartender at Seafood Shack for the past 15 years. We’ve enjoyed his drinks for the past couple years. Kristin’s parents have been regulars much longer. Nick, a nice guy, who has great stories if you engage him in conversation, knows how to make a drink. And by that I don’t mean the fancy, trendy stuff. I mean he knows how to pour.

I started with a Ketel One and tonic that cost a scant six bucks. I sipped, slowly, while surrounded by nautical décor and handsome hardwood. The regulars at the bar were all cool, calm and collected. This is our kind of place, I thought.

Seafood Shack is a waterfront restaurant and bar at 4110 127th St. W., Cortez. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Seafood Shack is a waterfront restaurant and bar at 4110 127th St. W., Cortez. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Before we threw back more of the bar snack mix, smartly covered with a lid and doled out individually, we ordered the smoked fish spread ($6.95) made with kingfish and mackerel, as well as a half-dozen onion rings ($3.95). These were quality bar bites that doubled as dinner for us. I capped my quaffing with a Manhattan. Nick knows how to make a Manhattan and, again, you can’t beat the price: $3.50 (happy hour); $4.50 (every other hour).

Before returning to our car, Kristin and I walked by the picnic tables facing the marina and Intracoastal. My wife let out an adorable yelp just like she always does when in the company of dolphins. Yep, two dolphins were gliding through the channel, two large, beautiful dolphins, probably a loving couple on their way to a special spot to enjoy the sunset and whatever else dolphins do to relax. Kristin and I look forward to returning to the Seafood Shack bar starring Nick and his drinks for some more maximum relaxation at minimum prices and, of course, dolphin watching.

Seafood Shack
4110 127th St. W., Cortez; 794-1235; seafoodshack.com

Have a suggestion for a place or event to be featured in Bar Tab? Comment below, email to wade.tatangelo@heraldtribune.com or contact me on Twitter: @wtatangelo For past Bar Tab columns, slideshows and SNN videos visit the archive.

Seafood Shack
4110 127th St. W., Cortez; 794-1235; seafoodshack.com

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013
WADE TATANGELOis the editor of TICKET + and a contributor at TicketSarasota.com. He has been an entertainment editor, reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013 and writes the weekly Bar Tab column. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: September 5, 2014
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