Red Bar Strives to Reopen by Memorial Day Weekend
The Red Bar was South Walton’s most popular indoor destination.
It was the place for fun with friends and family while taking in all of the eclectic decor, listening to great live music and enjoying great food and cocktails.The heartbreaking news of our beloved Red Bar being destroyed in an early morning fire on February 13, 2019, had both visitors and locals shaken to their core. Over the years, the Grayton Beach, Florida staple restaurant became a place where friends and family from all over the world gathered many times. When owner Oli Petit announced soon after the fire that they “will be back,” the news was welcomed with both anticipation and skepticism.
Some say it can’t be replicated and that it will never be the same. Well, they would be correct. With a true treasure like The Red Bar, it is impossible to replace the memories, memorabilia, and hand-written messages on the walls and tables. But a place that means so much to so many people and has shaped the community in a positive way, deserves to be rebuilt and the new memories will come!
Rebuilding signifies that life goes on and from the ashes the new Red Bar will rise.
The site was completely cleared and ready for construction in April 2019. The original hope was to begin rebuilding by the end of July 2019, but planning, roadblocks, negotiations and contracts take time. Finally, on October 8, 2019, The Red Bar held a groundbreaking ceremony surrounded by friends, neighbors, family, and politicians!
The building plans are nearly an exact copy of the old building. Owner Oli Petit has been diligent about reproducing the original charm of the old space which began as Grayton General store back before prohibition. He does the interior decorating himself so expect to see a ton of memorabilia like before. His dad Louis (Louis Louis Restaurant) loves to scavenge and has been traveling far and wide to antique, junk, back yards, and thrift stores looking for items. They already had a warehouse full and by the time the new building is ready, so they will be also. Ready to cover every inch of the interior with stuff, and local artist and Red Bar employee Brian Hand is already at work recreating pieces he had in the old place and creating new ones – including painting the front door and porch.
As of now, the walls are up and trusses installed. There is much excitement in the Grayton Beach community as everyone is ready to support their favorite iconic restaurant. Oli hopes to be open by Memorial Day Weekend in 2020.