Those who have followed my musings on Floridious expeditions in the past have probably noted my fixation on the periphery of the state. Sure, I love the creamy center - and one of my favorite cities, Ocala, is dead center of the state - but whenever possible, I stick to the shoreline, the beaches, the offshore islands and keys, being in boats off the coast, and on piers. Bradenton Beach City Pier is one such pier, and you can often see me here, not fishing, not writing, just hanging out and enjoying the inherent pier-ness of it all. Find me.
Not every pier in Florida comes equipped with bars, restaurants, and restrooms, alas. But Bradenton Beach's does. Here you'll find the glorious Rotten Ralph's, where I've spent many a morning waiting for the doors to open at 7am so's I can get myself all breakfasted up after watching the sunrise. They also have a bait shop serving all your nightcrawler needs, and occasionally live bands like The Almost Famous Band which morphed into Hwy 41 which morphed into Renegade.
(Update! Just got word that Rotten Ralph's is moving inland, to the corner of 34th Street West and 60th Avenue in Bradenton under the new name Ralph's. Want to rent the Rotten Ralph's location on the pier? It's available for $5,500 a month plus 12 percent of the gross sales.)