How many of you have heard of or know anything about the World Famous Flora-Bama Lounge and Package Store in Perdido Key, Florida? If you have not, you are missing out. I hate the term bucket list but if you have one put the Flora-Bama on it. And be sure it is on the top. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan tried to take her, but she came back “full bore”. You never know when fate may step in again.
The Flora-Bama is known for two famous things: (1) the Mullet Toss contest where contestants toss mullets (presumed to be dead) from Alabama into Alabama once a year and (2) the largest collection of used bras in the Southeast. Upon entering the “Bama Dome” stage area one cannot believe the number of bras left behind by many a happy young lady as a testament to the good times she had there….as well as the patrons in her company. Now rumor has it (well no, in fact it is true) that our party came home with one less bra than was taken and that is all I have to say about that!
At first Flora-Bama was a package store in the front with a lounge in the rear. Now due to its popularity and said hurricane, you enter through a gift store. The package store moved across the street. Trust me, they know there is more money in selling a T-shirt for $25.00 that costs $5.00 than there is in a six pack of Bud! And the lounge – no one has lounged there in years.
Recently my weekly Thursday afternoon social club took a four-day weekend trip to the Flora-Bama for relaxation and rest. (Yeah right!) The fact is 31 of our closest friends loaded up and headed south back in August. It was exactly what I had expected, except one part – the food. I figured I was in for a full weekend of bar food. Was I ever wrong! I think I had two of the best meals I have ever eaten. And I have eaten at a ton of great places like Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, untold great Charleston fine dining eateries, as well as many Atlanta restaurants.
This one mile stretch of beach has it right! It is the other “Miracle Mile”. From my meal at the Flora-Bama Yacht Club to Cobalt Restaurant, I was in cuisine heaven! Now, I know what you are saying. A yacht club in Alabama? Isn’t that a bass boat? Well, you have a point but call it what you want. If they call it a yacht, who am I to argue? But eat the tuna at the yacht club and just call it fish….well that ain’t right. It is like caviar!
You know what they say, “You go to the beach, you always eat seafood not beef.” That is a great commercial for the fishing industry and bad for the beef guys but I can now attest, that is not a good rule of thumb anymore. First, the restaurant is under a bridge. Now, would you eat in a restaurant in Atlanta under a bridge? I think not. But at the beach, under a bridge ain’t such a bad deal. That is, if you pick the right bridge! At Cobalt, I did have what I still believe was the best steak I have ever eaten, bar none. A true surprise that I hadn’t expected.
If you are taking notes, lets recap. Flora-Bama Lounge is a must see (take extra bras). Flora-Bama Yacht Club has big bass boats and great tuna. Take a fan if you are going in the summer. Cobalt Restaurant has an unbelievable menu and food quality, making it a must stop.
OK, now pull out your calendar for your next year’s summer vacation. Cross out Panama City and add Flora-Bama. Now that is all I have to say about that!