HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – It’s not goodbye. It’s, we’ll see you down the road. A local piece of Florida panhandle history was recently lost off scenic Highway 30A.
When my nephew sent out a group text Wednesday morning sharing the bad news that The Red Bar had burned to the ground, it felt like we’d lost a member of our family. Okay, that may be a little over the top, but it had become one of our Hayes family vacation hangouts. Parking could be a nightmare, depending on what time of year you visited, the wait could be long, but it was all worth it once you got inside. You were in another world. The photos posted on The Red Bar website are proof.
The Red Bar was funky. It was fun. It was different, unique. That’s why it held such a special place in people’s hearts. It’s where a lot of families and friends shared drinks, good food and enjoyed time together making memories that will last a lifetime. The fire didn’t take that away.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office shared these photos with us. South Walton firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading to other buildings but when the rusted tin roof and walls collapsed, there wasn’t much they could do to save the building. Reports say the local and state fire marshal’s office are saying it looks like the fire started in the dining area in the front section of the restaurant.
30A Eats posted this message from one of The Red Bar co-owners saying they will rebuild. Oli Petit is quoted as saying, “I want to tell our patrons and my staff that we will be back, and we will rebuild to the exact previous specifications – maybe with a better bathroom. Life goes on.” And anyone who has been to the red bar can appreciate Oli’s bathroom humor.
The state fire marshal’s office is still investigating. So far, they have not determined what caused the fire, although it could be electrical. We’ll let you know when we find out.