By Samantha Lambert
THE CRAFT BAR, UPTOWN STATION
The wait is over, Fort Walton Beach! The newest location of The Craft Bar opened in early March at Uptown Station next to Wine World. It is the fourth Craft Bar to open under owner Chan Cox.
“Bringing the Craft Bar to Fort Walton Beach has been in the works for a while,” says marketing director Fontella Hardman, who has been with the company for five years. The Destin location opened in 2014.
The Craft Bar is a gastropub that serves craft beer, handcrafted cocktails, and chef-inspired food, all with a focus on local and regional sources. There are 30 craft beers on tap, and Chef Scott Plumley’s culinary creations are artisan twists on traditional pub food.
Lunch is available everyday from 11 AM to 3 PM. Popular lunch items include salads (tuna, chicken) and the Market Meatloaf. Dinner is from 3 to 11 PM (midnight on Fridays and Saturdays). Choice dinner selections include bourbon smoked striped bass and fried chicken. The Saturday and Sunday Chicken and Waffle Brunch (from 11 AM to 2 PM) includes a free glass of champagne.
Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 PM, with a select menu. Appetizers are $5, and select beers and wines are $5. Popular appetizers include a giant soft pretzel and pulled pork quesadillas. A 12-ounce carafe of wine can also be purchased for the same price as a large glass of wine.
The Craft Bar has an open floor plan with plenty of seating at tables, in booths, or at the bar. There are four big-screen televisions for watching sports and a dog-friendly patio. The Craft Bar is also very family friendly.
Discover more at www.thecraftbarfl.com/fort-walton-beach.
850 CRAFT RESERVE, MARY ESTHER
There is another nice surprise for beer enthusiasts on the other side of town. The 850 Craft Reserve at 330 B Mary Esther Boulevard, just in front of the Santa Rosa Mall, opened about three and a half months ago. It is a bottle shop taproom—a package store for beer and a bar—owned by Army veteran Payton Tarver and her husband Kevin. The Tarvers picked up the concept in New Orleans where bottle shop taprooms are common.
“We wanted to create a destination spot, distinct from downtown,” says Kevin Tarver. “850 Craft Reserve gives people of Mary Esther something on this side of town. At 850 Craft Reserve, we recognize a clear need to cater to the beer enthusiast as well as the beer curious, both of whom are seeking unique, bold and exciting flavors in their sometimes never-ending quest to try that next yet untried beer.”
850 Craft Reserve has 12 taps and a cooler of 100-plus choices of beers. You can create a six-pack, fill a growler, or just enjoy a beer at the bar or at a table. There is a food truck on Fridays and Saturdays. There are three big screen televisions and a station with cards and other types of games. The menu board shows UNTAPPD, the geosocial networking service and mobile phone app that allows its users to check in as they drink beers and share these check-ins and their locations with friends.
Some of the more popular beers and brewers handpicked for 850 Craft Reserve include Tin Roof out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Foreign Objects out of New York, and Wisconsin’s Untitled Art. There is a 20 percent discount for carryout and a 10 percent discount for military. Every Wednesday, growler fillers get 10 percent off. A glass of wine can be had for five bucks.
On March 30, 850 Craft Reserve will be helping out at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery in Navarre with their craft beer fest. On May 2, 850 Craft Reserve will host a Tap-Take, where brewers from Captain Lawrence (New York) will send representatives and load up the taps with their product. Local musician Rob Romans will perform.
850 Craft Reserve is open noon to 10 PM Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 11 PM Fridays, 11 AM to 11 PM Saturdays, and 1 to 6 PM Sundays. Call 850-830-5261 or find them on Facebook.
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