Parrot Heads, here’s another watering hole for you on a visit to Gatlinburg’s Margaritaville Resort, where the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle gets some time to shine right on the doorstep of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
No, you’re not in Key West (or Cozumel, or Ambergris Caye, etc.), but plenty of tropical vibes and good-natured-pirate (looking at 40) cheer defines this second-floor bar overlooking the pleasant hustle and bustle of the Parkway. You won’t find outdoor seating here, but when the weather’s nice the windows are open, and you can almost mistake that wafting in Tennessee air for a Florida Keys sea breeze.
When you aren’t watching the Parkway happenings, by the way, you’ll find a number of big TVs for getting your sports fix here.
Daiquiris, as you’d only expect, are the main focus in the establishment’s liquid-nourishment department (cue the requisite “It’s Five o’ Clock Somewhere” reference). There’s a whole mess of flavors, from the lemonade-accented Blue Lagoon with its rum and Blue Curacao and the Last Mango in Paris to the tequila- and triple-sec-spiked Wastin’ Away Margarita. The “Something Tall & Strong” machine dispenses an always-changing daiquiri concoction, meanwhile.
Now, to be completely honest, some will find the daiquiris at this Margaritaville joint a little on the weak side, which is why a lot of patrons here spring for an additional shot of liquor to sturdy things up. Just a word to the wise.
The Daiquiri Shack & Grill bar serves more than just the Hemingway-beloved frozen cocktail of its name: You can also order a Smoky Mountain Mule, for example, or a Bahama Mama. You can also go the beer route: There are various brews on draft, plus a small selection of cans and bottles—including of Buffet’s well-known LandShark Lager, naturally.
The food menu hits the usual pub-grub notes, from such starters as fried pickles, chicken tenders, and wings (more on those in a minute) to a variety of grilled sandwiches, including the Fried Pickle Buffalo Chicken and the Smoked Cheddar Beef Brisket.
Let’s have a look at some of the especially noteworthy menu items at the Daiquiri Shack & Grill:
Havanas & Bananas Daiquiri
Of the broad selection of daiquiris, the Havanas & Bananas is one of the more successful: a blend of Silver Rum, Banana Liqueur, Irish Cream, and Pina Colada Island Oasis that’s mighty easy on the taste buds. (Don’t forget to consider that extra shot or two of booze if you’d like a stiffer version.)
The standout food items at the Daiquiri Shack & Grill are the wings, which are really pretty darn good—definitely better than a lot of your average sports-bar attempts. Served with ranch or bleu cheese, the wings come in a bunch of different zesty preparations, including Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Jamaican Jerk, and (one of the best) Blackjack Bourbon Glaze.
Loaded Potato Cracklins
These guys are on the irresistible side and pair nicely with a slushy daiquiri or ice-cold beer. They’re “loaded” indeed, given their dress-up of applewood-smoked bacon, green onions, sour cream, beer cheese, and Parmesan.
Sometimes the bartender service is awesome at the Daiquiri Shack & Grill, sometimes it’s a bit less-than-awesome, but if you’re hankering for some beachside vibes on your Gatlinburg visit, the place has you covered! The Hawaiian shirt’s your responsibility to provide.
– Set at the top of a set of stairs, the Daiquiri Shack & Grill isn’t wheelchair-accessible.
– The place can be pretty noisy when it’s busy (and often the music’s at a very healthy volume), so don’t necessarily expect a quiet haven for conversation. (But, hey: Is that what honestly you’re looking for in a place called the Daiquiri Shack?)