Two Gulf Coast watering holes and favorite locals’ hangouts were recently named to Thrillist’s lineup of The 21 Best Beach Bars in America: Flora Bama Lounge & Package Store in Perdido Key, Fla., and Pirates Cove in Elberta. Flora-Bama Lounge & Package Store
is the iconic honky tonk known for straddling the Alabama/Florida state line. It’s also known for its bushwacker
and fun environment that is welcoming to all.
Opened in 1964 and offering a selection of drinks, oysters, pub fare and live music daily, Flora-Bama is a landmark in the community. Enjoy five stages for live music
featuring bands that perform country, rock, dance and beach music while you sip on the creamy bushwacker.
This frozen cocktail blends rum, Kahlua, crème de cacao, cream of coconut and milk to create a ice creamy, delicious adult milkshake. And Flora-Bama is one of the most fun places to indulge in one, said Thrillist. “[Flora-Bama is] the best place in America to drink in two states at once straddles the Florida/Alabama line on the Gulf of Mexico. This iconic roadhouse on the sand looks like the result of M.C. Escher’s Redneck Period, with staircases, hallways, bars and music stages all arranged with no apparent order but still in perfect harmony. It’s one of America’s great unrefined treasures, while bikers, sailors and snowbirds drink bushwhackers side-by-side with nary a mention of any of their differences. Its annual highlight is the mullet toss, a competition to see how can throw a fish furthest across the state line that has spun off an entire weekend celebration complete with a triathlon. But, like any self-respecting Southern, though it spends the week sinning, Flora-Bama still reserves Sundays for church, when it plays host the weekly Worship on the Water services.”
Besides the Interstate Mullet Toss
and live music every day of the year, Flora-Bama also hosts the annual Frank Brown Songwriter’s Festival
,” named after the night watchman from the early days of the bar.
Flora-Bama is an easy drive from Orange Beach
, Gulf Shores
or Fort Morgan
. Simply take the beach road (Ala. Hwy 182) across the state line into Florida and look toward the beach. You can’t miss it. The address is 17401 Perdido Key Dr., Pensacola, FL 32507.
Or, if you’d rather catch a ride, call for the Flora-Bama Shuttle & Bus at (850) 316-5253. For only $5 per person, $10 minimum, a shuttle will pick you up in Perdido Key and Orange Beach. While there is a 15-passenger limit, a larger bus is available for larger groups.
The second bar named to Thrillist’s lineup of top beach bars is Pirates Cove Marina & Restaurant in Elberta. To drive, Elberta is about a half hour from the beach. But, the way the locals gets to Pirates Cove is by boat, and that’s how you’ll want to do it too. Bring your boat
to the beach and stay in one of our boat-friendly vacation rentals or rent a boat or a Jet Ski and head north across Wolf Bay to get there. Pirates Cove is also dog friendly, so bring your best friend and stay in one of our dog-friendly vacation rentals.
Simply dock your boat or Jet Ski and walk the “plank” onto the Pirates Cove beach or into the bar for a cheeseburger, wings or pizza and a signature bushwacker (topped off with Bacardi 151 or not—it’s up to you). Let the kids and the dogs play on the beach and watch them from the patio or boat or bring a chair to hang out on the beach while they play.
Enjoy live music
on Saturday nights from bands like Dr. Bill and the Band-Aids, Rhythm Intervention and Big Muddy.
Fun annual events include Illuminating Autism Fundraiser in June, Cove Dog Olympics in September, Lost Bay Regatta in October and Frank Brown International Songwriter’s Festival in November. “While the frozen, coconut-chocolate drinkable heaven that is a bushwacker is the main draw here, even those who don’t want to drink their week’s worth of calories should make a trip,” according to Thrillist. “Driving to Pirates Cove isn’t advisable, both because of the hurtin’ the drinks put on you, and because getting here by water is half the fun. Those without boats can rent a pontoon at Tacky Jacks, then commence with a big, floating party complete with waterslides for the trip there and back. Add in an off-leash dog area and a menu with one of the best burgers in the state, and you’ve got a must-hit if you’re ever on the Alabama coast.”
Be sure to visit one of these award-winning hangouts during your next visit. When the whole family or a group of friends is coming, too, reserve a stay in a four-bedroom Perdido Key
or Orange Beach
vacation rental to be as close as possible these fun taverns.