Bayshore Club is an expansive open-air restaurant right smack on the water in Coconut Grove with views and a vibe that’ll likely earn it loyal customers forever and ever. All of that’s so true it probably doesn’t matter what anyone says about the food.
Without a doubt, Bayshore Club is a worthy stop for a boozy sunset happy hour before moving on to any of the other excellent spots nearby. It happened to land in the midst of a Coconut Grove restaurant revolution that’s brought with it a handful of Michelin stars and the most authentic Mexican dishes this side of the Rio Grande.
Bayshore Club is situated on the historic site known as Dinner Key, on land that once held Miami’s first seaplane port, which explains fun cocktail names like Come Fly with Me and Tropical Paper Plane. Its next life was as Scotty’s Landing, a longtime locals’ joint beloved for its beer and burgers with a view. Today, the 300-seat Bayshore Club inhabits a dramatic modern structure whose design nods to a bygone era of glamorous Pan Am stewardesses and Mad Men decadence.
A massive, Jetsons-style curved roof propped up by spindly columns stretches over the elevated outdoor dining space and large circular bar, where a three-piece jazz band often plays. Down by the marina, there’s seating around fire pits, a free-standing bar and an inviting swath of artificial turf dotted with cabanas. It all amounts to the kind of place you’d instinctively take your out-of-towner friends with kids who just landed in Miami, or maybe a first date who’s down for a few Marina Mules and ping pong.
Adding to its impressive portfolio of at least 10 restaurants in town (including the Michelin-starred Stubborn Seed), Grove Bay Hospitality Group leads the show here, tapping Stiltsville’s James Beard-nominated chef Jeff McInnis to create Bayshore Club’s menu. The goal was to create a seafood-centric concept that channeled the restaurant’s stunning sunset views across Biscayne Bay. For McInnis, that meant familiar items like shrimp cocktail, smoked wahoo fish dip and grilled local fish tacos.
For our visit, we started with stone crabs, which came partially cracked, leaving some work to be done at the table. They were served with a sweet mustard sauce and—sacrilege to some Miamians—cocktail sauce. Next, the crab cakes on the sliders oozed out from their buns when bitten, and had a flavor we couldn’t quite identify (perhaps from the mysterious “Bayshore Club sauce” that appears on everything from the burger to the Blackened Mahi Sammy).
The lobster roll arrived on its side in an exceedingly buttered bun, stuffed with what seemed to be salt-free lobster in a mayonnaise-heavy sauce. The cobia skewers were grilled well enough and served alongside, let’s say, al dente eggplant, cooked-until-soft carrots and limp mandarin orange slices sitting off to the side as if accidentally left there.
Just about the time the waiter came to take away our half-eaten plates (except for the stone crabs, because nobody leaves those behind), the puffy clouds offshore began to turn purple and pink, reflected in a calm bay dotted with sailboat masts. Every seat in the place was full, right down to the Adirondacks by the water, and as the sun slowly melted away, it felt like all of our worries did, too. And that, coupled with a few strong drinks, felt like more than enough.