Long Live The Red Bar

The late great John “Jabo” Starks kickin’ out the jams at Grayton Beach’s Red Bar.

By Nikki Hedrick


Turns out I don’t have—or can’t find—as many photos as I expected to have. But I think that was (and hopefully is) part of the magic of The Red Bar. It forced you to be in the moment.


Oli took a building with deep community roots and turned it into something legendary. We were still a sleepy beach town. But instead of building a place only about people on vacation, he had a heavy metal poster next to a jazz legend, both proudly plastered on the ceiling. It was a local’s oasis in a sea of places trying to lure the most vacationers as possible.


To some, it wasn’t much more than a few walls. But to so many of us, The Red Bar was bigger than the sum of its parts. We are the people who cried when the news spread. We are the people who feel heartbroken for an old wooden building whose floors creaked.


Long live the Red Bar.

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