October 1st, 2008 by theAddison
There several great bars within walking distance of the inn and many of the restaurants have nice bars in them too. Pablos Mexican Restarant on 2nd Street makes the best margaritas in town according to Lee, our assistant innkeeper. Bretts has a nice bar from which you can watch the sun set and O’Kane’s Irish pub has a full bar with a house band playing three nights a week. Carolyn’s on Center has a nice little bar on the ground floor with beer pong on Sundays in the garden patio out the back door. But restaurants are restaurants and bars are bars. This is my view of two great bars in Fernandina Beach. Both are fun places and they both welcome Maggie Doone so that’s where we go.
The Palace Saloon is the oldest running saloon in Florida, in operation since 1903, even through Prohibition. The Palace is a big rambling place. You walk past the pirate at the front door and enter the main bar. Uncle Charlie’s (their sports bar) is straight ahead through the door at the end of the bar and the Big Room is through the short little door on your left. The Big Room is where the bands play. The main attraction at the Palace isn’t bands in the Big Room or the football game on the TVs in Uncle Charlie’s. The main attraction is Artie The One-Man Party, daytime bartender Monday through Thursday. Artie dispenses drinks and hospitality daily and makes everyone feel welcome at the Palace. He’s even got a stash of treats behind the bar for Maggie. The Palace serves beer, wine and hard liquor but be warned; the Palace is a smoking bar and the cigar smoke can get pretty thick in there some days.
Just around the corner from the Palce, on Third between Center and Ash is the Green Turtle. It can be a little hard to find because their sign is small so just look for the Volkswagen van that was painted by Scramble Campbell. You can’t miss it. The bar features several of Scramble’s canvasses inside and more of his artwork can be found decorating the porch.
Inside the Green Turtle is cool and dark with a combination of beer posters and Grateful Dead memorabilia. They have a great selection of draft and bottled beer and a pretty lousy wine list. No liquor is served but the best part for me is that it is a non-smoking bar. People can light up on the porch but not inside. Anthony, the owner, has good connections in the music industry and gets some really good bands that play rock to regaae to bluegrass. The place is pretty small so the bands don’t have to be loud to be heard. Even old folks like me can enjoy it.
Maggie Doone used to be content to lay on the cool tile floor but lately has been more demanding and insists on sitting up at the bar with everybody else. She’s way too young to drink but that doesn’t bother her. With no opposable thumbs she can’t pick up a glass anyway.
So the next time you’re in town you know where to go for a cold one. There are several great places to get a drink in town, try a couple and let me know how it went.