When you are looking for an open-aired bar with a nice view, Off the Hook Bar & Grill is the place to come. With a full bar and a small kitchen, there is plenty to keep you around as long as possible. Live music is frequent and a fenced in area with some really cool structures and swings for the kids to play on makes it a family friendly location. If you have never been here for a sunset, then you are missing out!
Open-Aired Bar with a Beautiful View
When you come to Off the Hook, you come to enjoy the open-aired bar on North Lagoon. Nothing else makes your food taste better, your drink go down smoother, or the entire experience more memorable than relaxing under the umbrella overlooking the water. A lot of people enjoy a drink or some food when they come in or before they go out on their rented boat, but a large majority of the patrons are people coming to enjoy the scene.
One of the best and most popular meals at Off the Hook is the Wings. There are a number of flavors available, but even the owner will recommend the dry rub since it is so tasty and popular. Their kitchen is small, so I imagine they cannot make wings quickly since I bet their fryer is too small to maintain temperature. That being said, some times the food can take a little while coming out, wings included. In the past, the wings have come out undercooked, so we always order them crispy just to be sure. While you are waiting for your food, enjoy your drinks and the view!
The quality of these fish tacos really depend on the cook. One of the cooks makes an excellent fish taco, but not every cook does, so the quality is not reliable. When it is tasty, it has an excellent presentation, the flavors mix well, and the texture is appetizing. When the quality is low, it has none of the flavor or texture that makes it enjoyable.
Off the Hook has a large play area with some very cool structures that the kids can play on as well as two swings. The area is fenced in from the parking lot, but not the dock and opened-air seating. Another issue is that it is not visible from most seats, so do not leave the young children alone if you have safety concerns like them going soon to the dock instead of staying in the play area. Great area for imaginative kid play, so you will find kids of many ages drawn to the area instead of sitting with you at the table.
Off the Hook Bar & Grill is located on North Lagoon off of Thomas Drive, so many people, locals and travelers alike, pass this location every day on the way to the beach. You cannot directly reach the parking lot from Thomas drive, so turn at the light on to North Lagoon to enter the parking lot. The parking lot is rather large, but Off the Hook shares this large parking lot with people who rent pontoons and jet skis from this location, so it can be difficult to find a spot close by, especially on a beautiful day and near sunset.
The ambiance is amazing. The seating is completely outside and each table has it’s own canvas umbrella to reduce the overhead light or keep you dry during a rain shower. The bench seats and tables are fixed, but there are a few chairs at the bar that are moveable. All of the structures are wooden and heavily coated with a dark wood finish, which adds to the feel. Off the Hook is up against the pontoon and jet ski rental dock right on the Lagoon. Much of the seating has a beautiful view of the sunset over the Lagoon, so twilight can be a magical time with family and friends. The kid play area has its own unique structures and the kids have a fantastic time playing on the structures, so you may have a hard time getting them to sit at the table with you. When there are live bands, it is nice, but they also have TVs hanging on the sides of the bar to catch the games.
Since you are outside on tables, it really is not going to be the cleanest seating. However, the tables are cleared off regularly, patrons typically throw away the trash themselves, and the kitchen looks clean from the ordering window. The ground is well kept. The bathrooms can be trashed and the trash cans overflowing, but they appear to be cleaned daily, but I doubt during each shift.
The menu is pretty disappointing, but it is only a small kitchen on an open-aired bar. The menu has bar food of low quality with a few favorites and reliables, like the Wings and the Boom Boom Shrimp. Mostly it is sandwiches and bar appetizers. In the beginning when they first opened, their fish tacos were excellent, but the quality is inconsistent and has gone down over time. Their kids menu is well-liked by the kiddos since it has all the kid favorites like hotdogs, corndogs, grilled cheese, etc, and some local favorites for the more adventurous kids like the fried shrimp basket. If the kids ask for a hamburger, they will have to get the full-sized portion at the full-sized price. Feel free to take your picky eater with you the next time you visit though since they have so many reliable options!
The prices are a little steep for the low quality bar food. But you are paying for the atmosphere. Now that I know better I try to avoid eating a full meal here, but I will let my kids eat here or get a snack for myself. Drink prices depend on what you get. There are drink specials regularly.
The quality of the food is good. The ingredients seem fresh, but there is not much of a fresh menu. The flavors of the foods are disappointing. Most everything is deep fried and lacks flavor. The fish tacos used to be really good when it first opened, but that appeared to be based on the cook. Now they are ok, but not as good as they were. The quesadilla and the shrimp basket are good. The food is great for kids, but parents may be disappointed unless they have had a number of drinks. The best bet is always the wings which come in a variety of flavors. Dry rub is the most popular flavor. We typically order the wings crispy since we had a few times where they weren’t all the way cooked (that being said, a quick heads up to the staff and they would redo them).
The food presentation is ok. Everything is served in baskets lined with paper. The drinks are served in plastic cups or their respective single serve bottles. There is a bucket on the table that holds condiments and a roll of paper towels.
The staff is seasonal since the bar is open-aired and closes in the winter, so one year you may have great service, while the next year it is awful. Last year was vastly improved, probably Off the Hook Bar & Grill’s best year yet. In the past we would order from the bar because our service at the table was so awful. Best bet is to catch your waitress when she greets you by ordering drinks immediately. If you plan on eating, let them know then to come right back to get your order- since it is a bar, not everyone orders food, and the kitchen is small so food usually takes a while (easily 30-45 minutes). Anytime you see the waitress run by, catch them to let them know you need something. This last year we did not have to order from the bar and the waitress was busy, but did check on us somewhat regularly, so the service has improved.