End of the Line
Nokomis Beach, Florida
Articles and Photos by Jimmy Jacobs
After chasing snook on the beach, is there a better way to finish the day than enjoying dinner and a libation overlooking the water amid a slice of Old Florida? If that sounds appealing, then Pop’s Sunset Bar & Grill is right up your alley.
Situated overlooking Blackburn Bay in Nokomis, Pop’s is in its fifth incarnation as an eatery and watering hole. Over the years the sign out front has read Silver Shark (which featured sharks in a fish tank near the outside bar), Buoy Bar (which attracted the motorcycle crowd to pool tables), Brit’s Place (for fine dining) and Pop’s Tropigrille. (the sign from that period now hangs in the tiki bar).
The historic sign in the Tiki Bar.
Present-day Pop’s dates from 2001, when new owners purchased the business. At that time, they expanded the Tropigrille to take over the next-door site of Urbanek’s Fish Market to accommodate the new restaurant’s tiki bar.
The fish market, which started as Urbanek’s Fish Camp in the 1940s, was founded by a Cuban emigrant that arrived in Florida aboard a Cuban Navy vessel, which he converted into a commercial fishing boat.
The courtyard contains five firepit tables.
With the consolidation of the two business sites, five fire pit tables were added in the landscaped Pop’s Courtyard, along with a complete renovation of the indoor bar and adjacent dining room. Later in 2019, Pop’s Tiki Bar also was opened.
Most guests arrive through the front door, but you also can enter from your boat at the dock.
Today guests can arrive by car, or pull their boats up to the restaurant’s dock. Either way, they are greeted with a causal ambiance, good service, delicious food and cold drinks. The menu features specialties like classic crab cakes, mango-rubbed shrimp and daily fresh fish choices. For a quick lunch, the grouper Reuben sandwich is a favorite, or try a salmon BLT. Additionally, if you are not in the mood for seafood, the menu features burgers, wraps and pizza.
Either way, you’ll probably want to also beat the heat with a cold Pop’s Punch featuring rum, pineapple and orange juice. On weekends you can enjoy a wide variety of beers, wine or cocktails while listening to live music.
The one thing you will not find at the restaurant or bar is Pop. Though new patrons regularly ask who he was, they find out the name actually comes from the sound made by snook attacking bait fish on the water’s surface beneath the restaurant’s dock lights in the evening.
As the sun fades, the snook start popping along the restaurant’s dock.
For more details, check out Pop’s Sunset Grill’s website.