"Unfortunately the Red Bar sustained heavy fire damage and is now a total loss."

By Rebecca Angel Baer
February 13, 2019
Rush Jagoe

Sad news to report today out of Florida. Beloved restaurant and regular haunt for most who live along or visit Florida's 30A, Red Bar in Grayton Beach burned down Wednesday morning. South Walton Fire District officials first announced this terrible news on their Facebook page just after 6:00am this morning.

Some reports from social media claim that residents in the area heard the sounds of possible explosions but the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

As of 8:45am, SWFD updated their Facebook page by saying that crews battled the heavy winds and that the fire has been contained and kept from severely damaging adjacent buildings. They are also reporting that the fire did not cause any injuries. But the statement also said, "Unfortunately the Red Bar sustained heavy fire damage and is now a total loss."

Local resident Kyle Swift captured the fire on video and posted it to Facebook. His post included a call to action to support the owners and staff of this treasured local spot.

This devastating fire is horrible news for anyone who has visited Red Bar because most will tell you that to know Red Bar is to love Red Bar. This quirky Bohemian beach restaurant and bar was one of a kind. The walls and ceilings were covered in rock-n-roll posters and the wait was often long.

Dining at the beach. It's an adventure, and each restaurant bears its own character. Here are some of my favorites, using Grayton as home base and fanning out. The Red Bar of Grayton BeachThis place is perfectly Grayton--peculiar and oh-so Bohemian, with rock-and-roll posters covering the walls and ceiling, velvet settees for waiting, and loud, often live, music. The menu's on a chalkboard brought to the table, and every selection (all quite hearty) is delicious. It's cash or check only, and it might take an hour, or even two, to be seated. But it's worth the wait.Trattoria BoragoSkip seafood for a night, and go for some genuine Italian. It's white tablecloth and candlelight, but even with our 2-year-old in tow, we found the staff to be gracious and the food delicious. Try the shrimp pasta with cream tomato sauce or the eggplant lasagna. Then jog home.Note: A gentle word if you are trying to eat anywhere between 6 and 7:30 p.m.: You will wait. And wait, and wait. So plan an early or late dinner. When they're offered, make reservations.

But ask anyone who's been there, and they will tell you that the limited menu, that changed regularly and was just written on a chalk board, was always worth the wait.

Rush Jagoe

The Southern Living staff is mourning this loss along with all of you this morning. One of our editors, Kaitlyn Yarborough, grew up visiting 30A and said of Red Bar, "For anyone who's ever been to The Red Bar, you know it's something special. You can see, hear, and smell the soul spilling out of it during every Jazz Brunch. Grayton Beach won't be the same without it."

A former Southern Living staffer was known to drive the four plus hours to Grayton Beach from Birmingham just for dinner.

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We are grateful that no one was hurt in this fire and are sending our thoughts and prayers with the Red Bar family.