How do you create a renowned wine and food festival? Bring together celebrity winemakers, top culinary talent, thought-provoking tasting seminars and elements that highlight and celebrate current trends. Expect to find all of this plus more at the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival April 26th through 29th, considered by many as the ultimate […] Read More
There’s Grocery Shopping and Then There’s Thirty-A Filet & Vine Santa Rosa Beach— Shea and Paul Gill are looking forward to providing the Emerald Coast with the sort of specialty market items they are used to having access to in bigger cities throughout the Southeast. Originally from Montgomery, the Gill’s affinity for specialty grocery stores […]
BUD & ALLEY’S WATERFRONT RESTAURANT IN SEASIDE HOSTS THE 27th ANNUAL SEEING RED WINE FESTIVAL VINTNER DINNER Seaside, Florida (Oct. 18, 2017) — Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant on Scenic Highway 30A in Seaside, Florida, ushers in fall with a festive kick off the four-day 27th annual Seeing Red Wine Festival by hosting the highly-anticipated Vintner […]
While a handful of die-hard locals have no doubt sampled all of South Walton’s wonderful watering holes, out-of-town visitors don’t always have a lot of extra time to venture off the sandy path. And although the following bars are somewhat hidden away from public view, there’s certainly no reason to keep any of them confidential. Even if you’re a local, we bet you’ll still find something new to try on our list of the Secret Bars of South Walton (in no particular order): 1. The Perfect Pig Bar in Gulf Place While you might have sampled The Perfect Pig’s meaty “Praise the Lard” menu, it’s easy to overlook the full bar tucked away in the back of their Gulf Place location. There’s more than ample ambience at the bar, a couple of bistro tables for those cozy encounters, a TV or two for sports, and a creative cocktail menu with happy hour specials. 2. NEAT This swanky, cozy and uniquely Alys Beach hangout is located directly on Scenic Highway 30A, just a frog hop across the cobblestones from George’s at Alys Beach. There’s a tiny store that purveys hard-to-find craft liquors, with a special emphasis on regional brands. NEAT’s Tasting Room next door is a magical new spot to sip. The bartenders have an ever-changing cocktail menu and they teach you how to make the concoctions you enjoy at home! Learn more. 3. The Porch During renovations at The Old Florida Fish House in the spring of 2014, new owners Jill McDonald and Sandy Thomas discovered a really scenic spot on the restaurant’s lake side had been wasted as a storage and office space. So, they set to remodeling what is now The Porch, a hidden gem tucked in next to the restaurant. The bar is made from sinker cypress logs, over a hundred years old, that were gathered from the rivers of Northwest Florida. Grab a spot there or at one of the tables with a perfect view of the coastal dune lake. The setting is a screened-in porch, great for catching a breeze in the warm months, but when it’s cooler the screens are covered with glass. Plenty of televisions are available for your favorite games, as well. 4. Redd’s Fueling Station Tucked away behind Sally’s by the Sea Store (an old-school convenience store that sits right atop Blue Mountain Beach), Redd’s Fueling Station features food, a full bar and live tunes many nights of the week, including Open Mic nights. The Proprietor, Redd, is famous for her larger-than-life “Singing Bartender” personality, routinely belting out her unique brand of show tunes and rowdy fun to the delight of locals and visitors alike. 5. The Treetop Bar at Funky Blues Shack It’s not open every night — or with any predictability, for that matter — but there’s a secret rooftop bar above Graffiti and The Funky Blues Shack in Baytowne Wharf. When you get to the top of the stairs by the bathrooms, hang a hard left and look for the door at the far end of the hall. The small open-air deck that you’ll discover behind that door has a bar adorned with string lights, and just enough seats for all your good friends. This is the perfect perch from which to enjoy any starry night over Baytowne Marina… or to catch one of their spectacular fireworks shows. 6. WaterColor’s Gathering Spot Everyone knows about the world-class cocktails that the mixologists serve up at Fish Out of Water, but not as many people frequent the bar downstairs, just off the main hotel lobby. WaterColor calls it The Gathering Spot, and they feature a fantastic Happy Hour every day from 5 to 6 p.m., including cocktail and sushi specials. We recommend the cucumber martini. There’s often live music by local fav Kyle LaMonica, and there’s even an outdoor patio area with fire pits and rocking chairs. 7. Crabby Steve’s The fabled Crabby Steve’s is a Gulf-front bar that can only be accessed from the surf side. It’s located behind High Pointe Resort in Seacrest between Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. And although you can’t walk through High Pointe Resort to get there, you can use a public beach access point and then make the long scenic barefoot hike to get there. From the beach, you can walk up to Crabby Steve’s and enjoy delicious food, cocktails (they have a full bar) and an absolutely spectacular Gulf view. FULL SUPER-SECRET BAR DISCLAIMER: Some residents of High Pointe Resort strongly maintain that Crabby Steve’s is reserved exclusively for High Pointe owners and guests. However, Crabby Steve’s Facebook page says that walk-ins are welcome. We don’t know the full truth, but what good is a secret bar without just a little bit of mystery? 8. Growler Garage Behind the beautiful chrome bar at Growler Garage near Gulf Place you’ll find 40 craft beers, a few wines, and often Mitch Omar, who is living out his dream of owning a beach business on 30A. Omar sells growlers of beer to go, perfect for taking to the beach across the street, but as the regulars know the patio is a great spot for hanging out, sipping a cold one — or two — and meeting other beer aficionados like yourself. 9. Havana Beach’s Rooftop Lounge Havana Beach Bar & Grill at The Pearl has made a splash among foodies and visitors since it opened a few seasons ago. But many people are still haven’t sampled Havana Beach’s Rooftop Lounge, its more casual counterpart out back. A trendy rooftop bar with just a slice of Gulf view, it is perched above The Pearl’s gorgeous pool deck and spa (see below). Havana Beach’s Rooftop Lounge is open to the public and features a full bar, dreamy cabanas, fountains, ambient lighting and appetizing small plates. 10. The Wine Bar at Grand Boulevard A popular hangout among Sandestin-ites, The Wine Bar at Grand Boulevard remains largely undiscovered by the 30A crowd. Located in the very back of Chan’s Wine World (next to Publix), The Wine Bar is one of South Walton’s more cosmopolitan hangouts, with a beautiful full bar, a gourmet late night menu and, of course, an excellent and extensive wine selection. 11. Hidden Haunts on Scenic 98 Scenic Highway 30A is home to many wonderful things, but an abundance of bars where you can stick your toes in the sand while watching the fruitcake parade roll by isn’t one of them. Such sandy hangouts are much easier to find over on Scenic 98 in Miramar Beach. Hidden directly in plain view, the Tiki Bar is a small thatch hut propped up just steps from Seascape. There are only a few bar stools to be found here and shade is at a sky-high premium on those sweltering summer days. So if you crave a little more shade (not to mention bathrooms), head over to the bar that’s tucked underneath Whale’s Tail just a few hundred yards to the west. Or, venture a few miles further to the bar that’s back behind Pompano Joe’s, where you can watch the beach volleyball games underway. A short way east of the Tiki Bar, tucked inside the actual beach walkover from Surfside, is Royal Palm Grille’s Beach Bar. It offers one of the best views you can find and a perfect spot to grab a bite, a refreshing cocktail and a bit of shade during a day out in the sun. 12. The Outpost You need to venture out across Choctawhatchee Bay and up the river to reach this frontier-like outpost. You can get there by car or creek (The Outpost is on Black Creek, which is accessible through Jolly Bay or via the tangled tendrils of the Choctawhatchee River), although you’ll probably fit in best if you show up on a Harley. The Outpost is a biker-owned-and-operated boondocks bar, serving up grilled burgers, wings, boudin sausage, and of course, all the ice cold beer you can safely slam down. It’s a real adventure to go by boat, which is our preferred method. Did we skip over your secret South Walton watering hole? Shout it out below — or keep it to yourself … but only if you must!
Earlier this week, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, recognized as one of the top charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine, donated a record breaking $2.66 million to 14 local charities serving children in need in Northwest Florida. The private check presentation ceremony was held at the WaterColor LakeHouse. The attendees from the charities didn’t know how much they were to be awarded until the checks were presented to them onstage, leading to some big cheers and grins and even some tears of gratitude. The foundation has donated more than $13 million to non-profit organizations since its inception in 2005. This year’s results are a $360,000 increase over the $2.3 million donated last year. “Today is the day in the world of our Foundation,” said John Russell, the president’s foundation. “Today, we honor our supporters, recognize those who have gone above and beyond and most importantly award funding to the great organizations that are on the front lines for the children of our community.” In addition to funding the 14 local charities, the foundation has created the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation Children’s Fund, which represents the funds set aside for any of the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation charities that have an emergency need during the year. “Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation identified a need to prepare for the future, so we created a safety net for our charities that may have an emergency need outside our normal contributions,” Russell said. “It is our hope to continue to grow this fund as an insurance policy for our charities over the coming years.” The 2016 recipients of the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation include: AMIKids Emerald Coast received $125,000 to fund one Mental Health Counseling Academic Interventionist for high-risk youth. Funding will allow facilities the purchase of a new, safe bus for students to be transported to and from school. Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to allow double the amount of students from last year (200 children across four counties) to attend programming for one full year. The programming is designed to provide unique opportunities to learn, grow and to recognize youth for their achievements in an effort to steer youth clear of personal failure. Children in Crisis received $225,000 to fund the facilitation of housing for abused, neglected and abandoned children. The Opportunity Home, Sue Sue’s Cottage, YaYa’s Home, and the Travis Tringas Home provide stability, shelter, house parents, food, clothing and necessary items to help children live a healthy lifestyle. Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN) received $200,000 to fund and serve underinsured and uninsured children in need of dental care. These funds will allow for two hygienists on the Mobile Dental Clinic, and one full-time dentist and support staff at the CVHN Dental Clinic to assist with children in need of dental and medical care. In addition, they will be able to purchase new detail supplies and cover the maintenance and repairs of their equipment. Emerald Coast Autism Center received $200,000 to fund scholarships and their capital campaign, a new facility to serve children on the autism spectrum. The new NWFSC Campus Facility will allow Emerald Coast Autism Center to increase their capacity levels, serving up to 130 students. Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center received $300,000 to aid in construction costs for the new Walton County facility, a child-friendly atmosphere to provide counseling, family services and facilitation of investigations for child abuse and neglect. Food For Thought Outreach received $175,000 to provide nutritious meals for school-aged children on weekends, holidays and summer break. Habitat for Humanity of Walton County received $180,000 to fully fund the building of two new homes for families with children in Walton County. Homelessness & Housing Alliance received $20,000 for long-term solutions to homelessness. Opportunity Place received $75,000 for immediate housing for homeless children and their families. Pathways for Change received $200,000 for comprehensive addiction treatment programs including men’s residential treatment and operations for the family center. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast received $225,000 to fund the expansion of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which will provide a larger nursery to accommodate a 10-bed Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the future. Shelter House of Northwest Florida received $155,000 to fund support groups, counseling and advocacy for youth ages 6 months to 17 years, touched by domestic violence. Funding will also support their Youth Prevention Program, therapists for children, supplies such as school snacks and diapers, tutoring materials, community outings and the Youth Community Action Team. The Arc of the Emerald Coast received $200,000 to support Early Intervention and Family Education Program at the Early Intervention Center for children living with disabilities. Youth Village received $125,000 to fund capital campaign purchase of land and facility construction along with afterschool programming for more than 40 low-income children along the Emerald Coast. DCWAF Children’s Fund received $55,000 that will serve as a contingency fund for charity partners and will be used as a safety net to serve children in need in the event of an emergency. DCWAF has realized a long held dream to create a fund for future needs. The DCWAF Children’s Fund is cash held in a separate account available to any of the DCWAF charities who have an emergency need. The dates for next year’s Destin Charity Wine Auction Weekend, the Foundation’s signature fundraising event, are set for April 28-30, 2017. For more information, visit www.DCWAF.org.