In summer, there's live entertainment at most resorts, including the Ramada Plaza Beach Resort, in Fort Walton Beach; the Hilton Sandestin Beach & Golf Resort; and Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, in southern Walton County. Call ahead to find out what's scheduled, especially during the slow season (Oct-Feb).
For other ideas and listings of what's happening, pick up a copy of the weekly Walton Sun newspaper.
Several restaurants provide entertainment nightly in summer, and on weekends in the off-season. The dockside AJ's Club Bimini, 116 U.S. 98 E. (tel. 850/837-1913), has live reggae under a thatched-roofed deck. A somewhat older, if not more sober, crowd gathers at the big harborside deck at Fisherman's Wharf, on U.S. 98 E. (tel. 850/654-4766; www.fishermanswharfdestin.com), and the Deck, on U.S. 98 E. at the Harbor Docks restaurant, overlooking the harbor (tel. 850/837-2506). For Irish tunes nightly year-round, head for McGuire's Irish Pub & Brewery, in the Harborwalk Shops, U.S. 98 east of the Destin Bridge (tel. 850/650-0567). The Sky Bar, above Gratzi Italian Restaurant, 1771 Old Hwy. 98 (tel. 850/837-7475; www.skybar.net), draws the after-dinner crowd from the Back Porch and other adjacent restaurants.
Twenty-somethings are attracted to the dance club, rowdy saloon, Jimmy Buffett-style reggae bar, and sports TV and billiards parlor all under one roof at Nightown, 140 Palmetto St. (tel. 850/837-6448; www.nightown.com), near the harbor on the inland side of U.S. 98 E. One admission covers it all. There's live music Friday and Saturday nights, and amateur boxing on Tuesday. Nearby, Hogs Breath Destin, 541 Hwy. 98 E. (tel. 850/837-5991; www.hogsbreath.com), is a lively sibling of the famous pub in Key West with bands playing rock, blues, and jazz.
Out toward Sandestin, Fudpucker's Beachside Bar & Grill, opposite the Henderson Beach State Park, offers double the fun with two summertime stages. There's another Fudpucker's at 108 Santa Rosa Blvd., on Okaloosa Island in Fort Walton Beach (tel. 850/243-3833).
Fort Walton Beach
Country music and dancing fans should head for the High Tide Oyster Bar, at Okaloosa Island off the Brooks Bridge (tel. 850/244-2624). Papa Joe's Hideaway, 104 S. Perry Ave. (tel. 850/244-5599), is a great hangout for live music -- everything from country and blues to experimental jazz -- and, on Thursdays and Saturdays at 6:30pm, final table poker.
Beaches of South Walton/30A
For a mellow night out, Rosemary Beach's Courtyard Wine & Cheese, 66 Main St. (tel. 850/231-1219; www.courtyardwineandcheese.com), features a fantastic selection of wines by the glass or bottle, excellent cheeses and fondue, live music, and courtyard seating. Over in Seaside, sunset or late-night drinks are a must at the Tarpon Club Roof-Deck Bar upstairs at Bud & Alley's (tel. 850/231-5900; www.budandalleys.com). For a great bar and tapas scene, Crush Wine Bar (tel. 850/468-0703; www.crush30A.com) is the place. But it's the Red Bar (tel. 850/231-1008) that sees the funkiest crowd, from rowdy locals to bona fide celebrities. As the night goes on, the place gets crazier. Brace yourselves.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.