Red Bar Rising

The late great Cheech at The Red Bar. “We miss him so,” says Rachel Anderson, “and he was always at Red Bar after or before we went to Grayton Beach.”

I didn’t get to The Red Bar as much as I would have liked, but I have total recall of every single visit there.


A Sunday brunch date with a young lady who spent the entire time making googly eyes over Dread Clampitt bassist Kenny Oliverio. I did not request a second date.


An interview with the legendary drummer John “Jabo” Starks, who performed with the Red Bar Jazz Band (they’ll be back too, folks). I was told beforehand not to ask any questions about Mr. Starks’ time in the James Brown band. Turns out it didn’t matter—we talked about a lot of interesting things, and the man’s love of all musical genres continues to inspire me.


Okay, a few of the other visits are a little fuzzy. I didn’t make it over there for several years after I was transplanted to the Emerald Coast due to my experience on the set of The Truman Show, filmed mostly in and around Seaside. The cast and crew always talked about going to The Red Bar after the day’s filming, and by the end of a long day of sitting in the background players’ tent doing nothing, I didn’t feel like running into those godawful movie people.


But I will be one of the first people in line for the inevitable reopening of The Red Bar 2.0.


Bruce Collier writes about his Red Bar experiences in this issue’s Food + Beverage section, and our fearless music correspondent Nikki Hedrick shares her thoughts as well.


If you jump to this issue’s News from Beachcomberland, you’ll see that the first of two (so far) fundraising events for Red Bar employees (really, the Red Bar Family) was a huge success.


I misplaced Red Bar proprietor Oli Petit’s phone number, or maybe it vanished when I finally upgraded my dumbphone to a smartphone. The email I have for him is outdated as well (!?). So, Oli, if you’re reading this—and I know you are, because you’ve always been a great supporter of Beachcomber—I’m ready to settle that old bar tab now.


And very much looking forward to starting a new one.

Editor Manson




In the Feb. 14-27 Beachcomber’s Movies + TV section, the late great actor Albert Finney was misidentified in his tribute photo as the late great actor Dick Miller. We are very sorry for the mistake, but at least Mr. Finney made it into this year’s “In Memoriam” slideshow on the Oscars telecast.


Also, in last issue’s Your Thoughts and Comments, the Editor’s Note following Aly Bockler’s thought/comment should have read:


“The lovely and talented Aly Bockler is the frontwoman for the awesome rock band Conjugal Visit!! We hope to see her at the Beachcomber Music Awards Monday, Aug. 26, at Al’s Beach Club on Okaloosa Island. And at the grand reopening of The Red Bar 2.0 in Grayton Beach, date TBA. Hugs!”



The last line in this article (“The More Things Don’t Change” by Charles Morgan III, Feb. 14-27 Beachcomber) should be a huge wakeup call. Proud to know the great man that wrote it.

– Ian Cobb
Spread the love

Local Guides

Art Galleries

Your guide to Art Galleries in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville, and Watersound.

Happy Hours

It’s happy hour in Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Shalimar!


Services on the Beach. Destin, Fort Walton, Miramar Beach, and 30A / South Walton