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Cross the Line at the Flora-Bama

flora-bama orange beach al

Flora-Bama Orange Beach AL

If you ain’t never been to a honky tonk, you best get to it.

Just down the street from the Best Western Premier Tides Hotel sits one of America’s Great Beach Bars, the storied FloraBama.

There’s so much history here, they wrote a book about it.

The bar was built on the state line between Florida and Alabama in 1964.

It burned to the ground the day before it opened.

The owners rebuilt and opened a few short months later. As the sole purveyor of alcohol in the area, thirsty fishermen and contractors made this their watering hole.

The bar has changed hands many a time, but all the owners are like family. There’s a lot of heart and soul here. And where there’s soul, there’s music.

In the late 1970s, the FloraBama expanded to include a stage and pool hall, enjoying nearly 20 years of success before Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004.

But the party wasn’t over. Under new ownership and management, the FloraBama is stronger than ever, still enjoying annual events like the Mullet Toss and Polar Bear Dip while growing to include a liquor store, marina, fishing charters and two sit-down restaurants.

The restored and revitalized FloraBama has it all and welcomes all. You’ll see bikers, bikini babes, businessmen, college kids and geezers hanging out with a cold beer listening to cool tunes on a hot day.

“Every time you come here, you never know who you’re going to meet or what’s going to happen, but you leave with new friends and a good story,” they told us during a recent visit.

Half of the employees have been here for at least 10 years and many for closer to 30. It’s a big FloraBama family, and you can be part of it.

“The building is just a shell … it’s the people who make FloraBama the place it is,” says Pat McClellan, part of the management and ownership team that includes John McGinnis III, Cameron Price and Joe Gilchrist.

There’s live music every day.

Free Bingo on weekday afternoons.

And – get this – church service on Sundays, with around 500 people at every service. What a place to worship!

People in these parts worship this place, too.

Just one visit, and you’ll understand why.

Florabama is located at 17401 Perdido Key Drive in Perdido Key FL. For more information, please visit the Florabama website or call (850) 492-0611.

– Ashley Kahn Salley
Lead Storyteller, Innisfree Hotels