Nautical Themes and Water Views

Watermark Bar & Grille sets seafood standards for dining along Lake St. Clair
Photos courtesy of Watermark Bar & Grille
Watermark Bar & Grille’s lunch and dinner offerings include everything from salads and surf & turf choices to gnocchi bread bowls and lakeside favorites.
Photos courtesy of Watermark Bar & Grille

A nice summer night, waterfront dining, and a tiki bar. What more could you ask for?

What sets the Watermark Bar & Grille apart is that it has the best view on the Nautical Mile, plenty of parking, and it’s easy for boats to dock on-site.

The Nautical Mile is a stretch of Jefferson Avenue between 9 and 10 ½ Mile roads in St. Clair Shores. A string of restaurants is tucked away there, each one located down a long marina drive. They’re places to savor a meal and great views amid the thousands of boats docked on Lake St. Clair. Watermark faces a wide canal that links Jefferson Beach Marina with the open lake. A favorite of locals, Watermark also draws boaters who dock there for dinner; a big houseboat once docked there.

The eatery opened seven years ago on the site of the original Brownie’s, and replaced two more recent restaurant/nightclubs, Beach Grill and Tin Fish.

cold Mule drink
Sautéed walleye and a refreshing cold Mule drink.

Over time, the spacious restaurant with a tiki twist has won fans with its friendly, relaxed approach. Unlike some restaurants along Lake St. Clair, it’s open year-round and offers Tuesday through Sunday hours. 

The lobby features nautical themes and soothing blue colors. Up a few stairs to the left is a massive rectangle bar with seats for more than 40.

Three nitro taps serve beers with a smooth finish, or guests can enjoy wine and specialty cocktails ranging from the sophisticated (Greyhound Mojito) to the casual summery surprise (Peach Palmer, made with peach Crown Royal plus iced tea and lemonade).

Near the bar is the main dining area. Its big windows face the water and can be opened in summer. It has a high ceiling with navy beams, and is decorated with nautical-style chandeliers and lighted palm trees in planters. Guests can choose from tables or booths.

On the other side of the lobby is a sleek banquet room that also has a water view, gold Chiavari chairs, and chandeliers of modern crystal glass. The space has a separate banquet menu and seats 50-130 guests for parties, meetings, showers, and weddings.

Watermark Bar & Grille deck
The wide, curving deck along the water is a popular spot to enjoy the outdoor tiki bar and full dining options.

Watermark’s highlight is its outdoor dining. A wide, curving patio deck along the water has a tiki bar and full dining options. In spring and summer, the crowded deck is the place to be for live music. In the winter, you can dine in a heated igloo amid the cold and snow — a cool idea invented during the pandemic that’s still popular.

The restaurant’s longtime plans to add a rooftop patio were slowed by the pandemic but are still in the cards. In 2024, Watermark will offer more live music and make additions to the menu.

This spring and summer, the menu will showcase weekly features as well as diner favorites. A crowd-pleaser? The tomahawk grilled pork chop — a big, bone-in chop with a garlic butter sauce.

The appetizer that put Watermark on the map is its char-grilled octopus, with sizable tentacles draped over the plate, but the most eye-catching dish may be the Watermark kabob. With either shrimp or chicken, it’s served on a hanging pole with a skewer, and when the servers put it down it’s hanging right in front of diners.

This spring and summer, the menu will showcase weekly features in addition to diner favorites.

The restaurant opens at 9 a.m. on Sundays for breakfast. Among the offerings are crepes, steak and eggs, build-your-own omelets, and peanut butter-stuffed French toast. Add a Bloody Maria to that, which includes jalapeno for a kick, or a Cherry Bomb 10, with champagne, pineapple, and cherry juice.

The lunch and dinner offerings are wide but not pretentious. Watermark has pizza, sandwiches, paninis, pasta, salad, and surf & turf choices, including everything from a gnocchi bread bowl to lakeside favorites like sautéed walleye. An elaborate and interesting seafood salad includes octopus, shrimp, mussels, and salmon mixed with salad fixings and feta.

In 2023, Watermark’s owner bought The Whiskey Six restaurant in the city of Grosse Pointe and now runs both. While it’s all about the food, the great view and its accessibility to Lake St. Clair sets Watermark apart. 

Plan It!

Watermark Bar & Grille

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