There’s nothing quite like the experience of a good, old-fashioned, honky-tonk beach bar. Pensacola’s legendary Flora Bama delivers on its reputation as one of the world’s best beach bars — and then some. If you’re looking for an authentic mix of live music, good times, and great company on your Pensacola vacation, the famous Flora-Bama Lounge is a must-do.
Who doesn’t love a good origin story? The Flora Bama Lounge boasts one of the best. In 1962, the state of Florida gave the state of Alabama two plum miles of beachfront land in exchange for the construction of the Perdido Pass Bridge. Ted Tampary and his sons, Connie and Tony, had the vision of building a small bar and package store on the new Florida-Alabama state line. Two years later, the Flora Bama was born, forever changing Pensacola’s entertainment scene.
The Flora Bama has continued to grow and evolve over the years with the addition of live music 365 days a year and exciting calendar nights like chili cook-offs and the Annual Mullet Toss. In doing so, it has transformed from a small local watering hole to a one-of-a-kind destination in the one-of-a-kind spot of Perdido Key.
Today, the Flora Bama is home to five stages for live music featuring bands spanning genres from country and rock to dance and beach music. Depending on your mood, you can select the stage that best suits the vibe you’re looking for. Or, just watch the glorious sunset over the water from one of the Flora-Bama’s beachfront bars.
No discussion of the Flora Bama is complete without mention of its festive atmosphere. License plates from far and wide bedeck one wall while a clothesline dangling with bras hangs from the ceiling. Want to tip the band? Head up to the top floor, add your contribution to an old tin can, and watch as a pulley system delivers it to the band on stage. (This is also a perfect perch for people-watching.)
The Flora Bama is also home to the island’s only real beachfront oyster bar, where friendly waitstaff — Southern hospitality is very much alive and well here — serves up fresh oysters aplenty along with everything from burgers to po-boys. Or, stop by one of Flora-Bama’s two restaurants, the Flora-Bama Ole River Grill or the Flora-Bama Yacht Club.
Looking to pick up some beverages to enjoy at the beach or to do some deep-sea fishing? Flora-Bama has you covered here, too, with Flora Bama Marina & Watersports right across the street and Flora-Bama Liquor & Lotto located just up the road. Flora-Bama’s gift shop, meanwhile, is the perfect place to get your souvenirs.
Just how amazing is the Flora Bama? After playing a show at the landmark bar, country music star Kenny Chesney wrote a song about it. Spend some time at the Flora-Bama and you might want to pick up a guitar and write one, too.
– The Flora-Bama has a full calendar of daily and annual events, and regularly updates its blog with information about what’s up next. Check it out before your visit to see what’s on tap.
– Forget to pick up a memento while you’re there? The Flora-Bama website also has an online store that sells everything from shirts to drinkware.
– If you’re looking to enjoy the Flora-Bama experience on a less crowded night, avoid weekends and peak times, like spring break.
– Make sure to sample the Flora-Bama’s signature drink, the Bushwacker. (Lightweights beware: this creamy frozen concoction does pack a bunch thanks to five different types of liquor.)