Monday, September 22, 2014

Legendary Flora-Bama bar located on two states celebrates 50 years of Gulf Coast craziness


           We didn’t know which was funnier, the sound engineer dressed in flip flops, a straw hat and a Scottish kilt or Cathy, the leader of the open mic who calls herself the “big butt bitch of the beach.”
            Welcome to the Flora-Bama, titled as such for the fact that it sits on one side of the Alabama state line and the other in Florida and is world-renowned for its rowdiness.
            The Flora-Bama has been a landmark in the Gulf Shores-Orange Beach area since 1964, back when the Alabama coast was called the “Redneck Riviera.” The romping roadhouse with its multiple concert spaces, oyster bar, gift shop, pool hall, beachside bar and eatery and liquor store celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, still going strong even though the emerald coast has since turned upscale. In addition, the sprawling venue over two states hosts special events, including the immensely popular Mullet Toss where people — yes — toss fish for prizes.
            A few things to note if you’re heading to the state line bar:
            Try the Bushwacker, the bar’s signature drink, a combination of rums and other wonderful ingredients. So creamy and good you’ll forget yourself and your rowdy attitude will fit right in.
            If your date’s a bore or you don’t like the music, try reading the walls. They’re covered with wit from past customers, plus there are some awesome relics from by-gone music days.
            If you’re looking for more sophistication, the Flora-Bama Yacht Club waterfront restaurant is across the street, just behind the Waffle House.
            While we were listening to Cathy belt out crowd favorites in the lounge area closest to the street, we noticed children with parents wondering around and had that bar scene in “Sweet Home Alabama” flitting through our heads, the one where Reese Witherspoon spots an old friend in a bar with a child on her hip and says, “You have a baby…in a bar!” If you must bring kids, you might want to avoid the large bar-concert space toward the back with the bras hanging from the ceiling. The time we visited after Katrina there was a man belting out how much he despised insurance companies in very colorful language.
            And don’t even bother asking the sound engineer what’s beneath his kilt. He’ll do a little striptease that ends up showing another layer beneath, like a tease.
            “Nothing more scary than Velco,” he said when he pulled apart his kilt revealing more fabric. “Just like a shotgun being pulled.”
             After a few Bushwackers, we weren’t scared. Just disappointed. And we yelled out frustrations with the other women in the crowd.

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