On the hunt for somewhere fun to kick back with an excellent glass or bottle of beer in the heart of residential Pensacola? Look no further than Wisteria Tavern, which has a long history as one of the city’s finest watering holes. This local legend began its impressive run shortly after the end of Prohibition, obtaining a coveted beer-only liquor license from the state of Florida in 1935. Since then, it has remained a top hangout for locals while also attracting a few knowledgeable snowbirds.
Wisteria Tavern certainly diverges from the trendier, more contemporary bars of Pensacola. It would be a disservice to call it a dive bar, but it also doesn’t quite fit in with the town’s upscale establishments. Rather, it belongs in its own category, filling a niche that many people may have otherwise never realized existed.
At first glance, Wisteria Tavern blends into the oak-lined street on which it’s situated — in the middle of a residential neighborhood. This definitely isn’t where you go for a raucous party, but therein lies the appeal for anyone who prefers a quieter experience.
Offering a diverse array of bottled, canned, and draft beers, Wisteria Tavern should appeal to both brew novices and longtime enthusiasts. If you’re not particularly fond of beer, don’t worry; alcoholic alternatives are available in the form of hard cider. On the other hand, you’re bound to be disappointed if you crave craft cocktails from a full bar, as the tavern is limited to beer, cider, and wine.
When you want a bite to eat, you may need to look elsewhere, unless you’re willing and able to grab something from the onsite food truck. Don’t expect to simply walk to the next restaurant over; the downside of Wisteria Tavern’s peaceful location is that other establishments take some time to reach. If you’re willing to drive a few minutes away, however, you’ll find a few great neighborhood restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal before or after your tavern visit.
Whether you eat onsite or stick with beer, you’ll definitely want to spend time in the patio and backyard area. This open space has an intimate, yet celebratory feel that echoes the best of a casual backyard barbecue with friends.
A few of our favorite options on the beer menu include the following:
Peanut Butter Porter: Back Forty Beer Company
Hailing from Gadsden, Alabama, the Back Forty Beer Company boasts a creamy porter that is sure to satisfy. The taste of peanuts is muted, but the woody aroma is pleasant nonetheless.
Jovie Christmas Ale: Props Craft Brewery
Props Craft Brewery in nearby Fort Walton Beach offers a memorable holiday edition that might remind you of your favorite Christmas cookies. Accented with honey, cinnamon, and cloves, it feels downright festive.
Big Talk: Grayton Beer Company
This tropical IPA comes from a popular Santa Rosa Beach brewery. Hints of mango and papaya make it the perfect treat after a fun day at the beach.
Rackham Imperial Red: Destin Brewery
Round out your local beer sampling experience with an exceptional red ale from Destin. This is just one of several options from Destin Brewery, so be sure to try them all if you don’t have the chance to stop by.
Over & Over: Orpheus Brewing
If you’re not typically a big fan of beer but would like to try something other than wine or cider, this pineapple sour is your best bet.
Embrace the local Pensacola experience at Wisteria Tavern, where you can get in on a friendly beer-drinking tradition spanning nearly a century. Learn for yourself why locals think of this as Pensacola’s best-kept secret.
-This tavern is decidedly dog-friendly. Canine companions can often be found lounging or playing in the patio area.
-The parking lot can be difficult to see from the street. Thankfully, it’s easy to turn around and try again if you drive too far.
-A small selection of games (including darts) should keep you entertained if you aren’t content to simply relax with your beer.