1215 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco
1215 Bald Eagle Drive
Snook Inn is the type of restaurant that regular visitors to Marco Island make a point to visit after spending the day on the beach. The atmosphere is laid back and the diners can watch a spectacular view of the ...More about Snook Inn »
Behind the bar at the Snook Inn, bartender Tommy Conroy, in a faded, rolled-up-sleeved Hawaiian print shirt, khaki cargo shorts and black sneakers, mixes up drinks for his customers. With “My Girl” strumming from an entertainer’s guitar out on the tiki bar-style stage, Conroy quickly shuttles from patron to patron, serving up frozen treats, ice-cold beer and specialty cocktails.
The bartender splashes a little coconut rum on his cheeks, like aftershave, to get a rise out of a few new customers. “This is my office,” Conroy says. “It’s relaxing, even when there’s three people deep and it’s getting crazy. I can kind of look outside on the river, listen to the music, and it keeps me calm amidst the chaos.”
Although Conroy serves up a variety of specialty drinks, he said happy hour at the bar is the true special, because it includes half-priced drinks on even their top shelf products. “Everything half-price? That’s a specialty drink!” Conroy says.
Reminiscent of his early career, Conroy makes a specialty drink for both men and women. The men get a spinoff of the Texas Two-Step, which is a shot of tequila, a Bloody Mary chaser and a beer. Then, to make it Florida-style, Conroy swaps the Bloody Mary chaser with pineapple or orange juice.
For the females, Conroy said, “You want to make it kind of fruity and easy for girls to drink.” That come is the form of the Tahitian Bomb, a twist on a traditional Bay Breeze, using dark rum and a coconut rum floater.
Conroy invented the drink while vacationing on a cruise ship. He kept asking bartenders to make a Bay Breeze with dark rum and a pina colada floater on top, but each time around, he received a different drink. Finally, he approached a Jamaican bartender, who asked why he didn’t just order a coconut rum floater on top.
“Oh my God, I’m a bartender, I should have figured that out,” Conroy remembers telling him.
He let a customer name it the Tahitian Bomb. Don’t expect to find the drink on the menu though. “I don’t know if that’s a Snook Inn specialty or a Tom specialty,” Conroy jokes. “I usually suggest a mango daiquiri with a floater on it. Some people don’t like a frozen drink, so it’s good to have a couple of specialty drinks to toss around.”
Conroy, 52, moved to Marco Island 12 years ago from Texas, where he tended bar through college at Texas Tech in the 1980s. Then, he took a break from bartending and delved into the real estate business for about four years. After coming to the Island on vacation 12 years ago, he was offered a bartending job at the Snook Inn and never looked back. “I like hanging out with the people. There’s a lot of fun people down here,” Conroy says. “And, when I’m working at night, it frees me up for golfing, boating, fishing – all that stuff you can do down here.”