Owners of The Red Bar Break Ground on Rebuild After Devastating Fire
“You can tell them loud and clear, we are coming back.”
On February 13, 2019, our collective hearts broke as word spread that a fire had destroyed one 30A’s most beloved establishments. The Red Bar in Grayton Beach, Florida suffered severe damage from an early morning fire and officials from the South Walton Fire District declared it a “total loss.” The positive news was that because the fire broke in the early hours of the morning, the restaurant was empty at the time. No patrons or employees were on the premises and therefore no one was hurt.
Just a month later, one of the owners, Oliver Petit, declared that they would rebuild. Well, on October 8, 2019, just eight months after the fire, Petit made good on that promise. Today was all sunshine, smiles, and confetti cannons as Petit, along with his co-owners, several local officials, and in front of a crowd of about 200 locals, broke ground with shovels painted as wildly as the famous walls inside the bar once were—and will be again.
Walton Count Commissioner Tony Anderson was holding one of the shovels as further proof of his dedication to bring back a place he’s frequented since he was a child. He said the plans to rebuild were approved the very same day of the fire.
“The day this happened, we knew this was an institution burning down,” Anderson said. “This place meant so much to South Walton and Walton County.”
The Red Bar was a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike so its return will be a welcome sight for all. “It’s just awesome to see the iconic Red Bar coming back,” Visit South Walton Executive Director Jay Tusa said.
While today’s ceremony was a boisterous celebration of a new beginning, Petit paid homage to the history of the original building by pouring some of its ashes onto the new spot.
WATCH: The Ultimate Guide to Florida’s Highway 30A
In a video with 30A.com, Petit assured loyal patrons that the new building would be as close to the original as possible—with one very positive upgrade: the bathrooms. “No significant changes. The décor, the look of the place will be exactly like it was. The biggest difference will be the bathrooms. The bathrooms will be improved for the men and the ladies.”
He also revealed that the target date for the re-opening is currently Memorial Day Weekend. He acknowledged that it could take a little longer but that they were committed to bringing The Red Bar back, no matter what. “You can tell them loud and clear, we are coming back,” Petit said.