ROAD TRIP: The Red Bar, Grayton Beach, Florida
Grayton Beach is way off the beaten path. We would never have found The Red Bar had it not been so highly recommended by our good Twitter friend @sashaeats, whom I respect so much for his foodie views. As we began to post reviews on our list of the best Panama City Beach restaurants, our readers mentioned The Red Bar as well. Grayton Beach is far removed from the hype and over commercialization of either Panama City or Destin. It’s really a quaint, sleepy little beach town that Melanie and I fell in love with as soon as we arrived.
Upon our arrival at The Red Bar it wasn’t quite what we had expected. The building itself appeared to be in pitiful shape as if it were held together by the weeds growing on the outside and the posters glued to the ceiling on the inside. The furniture was secured with generous applications of duct tape and collectively, it reminded me of what we called a “flophouse” in the 70s. The inside was poorly lit, except by the red lights stringing the ceiling and one would expect to find their own hookah pipe firmly mounted on each table. Even before you enter, the door speaks of the eclectic ambience that awaits inside.
Our server greeted us with a large chalkboard and began to go over our menu options for lunch. Our server also let us know that it’s CASH ONLY but fortunately there was an ATM located on-site. We decided to get the Shrimp Baskets and begin our meal with the House Salad. The salad was an excellent mix of greens and I particularly liked the Gherkin pickles that were sprinkled into the salad. The salad dressing was rich, plentiful and full of flavor. It was a great way to start our meal.
The Shrimp Baskets soon arrived and the presentation of shrimp on top of fries did not reveal the delight that was ahead. I seldom have seen shrimp this large and the batter that was used gave a marvelous flavor to the shrimp. Now, when I say “the shrimp is large” you almost cannot fit a whole one into your mouth without having to bite it. The cocktail sauce had the perfect amount of kick and we were soon in seafood heaven.
The fun was not over yet! Our server made us an offer we couldn’t refuse! Homemade Key Lime Pie made fresh that morning – let me tell you – it tastes NOTHING like what you’d get in the grocery store.
The Red Bar is a quirky spot but the food is fantastic and the nearby beaches are some of the best in Florida that we’ve seen. The Red Bar certainly makes our MUST-VISIT list whether you’re in Destin or Panama City Beach. Be sure to check out the gorgeous beaches after your meal! Guten appetit!