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The Flora-Bama Lounge and Package (aka The Flora-Bama, the Bama, and Pumptown), located on Perdido Key at 17401 Perdido Key Drive, is a beachside oyster bar, honkytonk-style nightclub, and Gulf Coast cultural landmark, touted as being America's "Last Great Roadhouse". The Flora-Bama takes its name from its location, only feet away from the Florida-Alabama border, though it is officially located entirely within Florida.

The bar originally opened in 1962. It was purchased in 1978 by Joe Gilchrist (brother of Gulf Breeze Mayor Lane Gilchrist), who co-owns the bar with Pat McClellan. After storm surge from Hurricane Ivan gutted the building in 2004, filling it with sand "bar high,"[1] it was partially demolished and rebuilt.

Some of our fine china may be irretrievable. Our crystal chandelier is a complete loss.

Joe Gilchrist, on the Hurricane Ivan damage[2]


Widely known as a place where "you can have a millionaire sitting next to a biker," this unique make-up of bar patrons is one of the contributing factors to its large appeal and attraction. Locals mingle with tourists rather easily and on large holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day, cars line the highway for miles in both directions as the bar draws such a large crowd.

The Jimmy Buffett song "Bama Breeze" was written about this roadhouse.

Author Tim Dorsey wrote that the bar "looked as if it was built by enemies of its owners."[3]

Stuff magazine named the Flora-Bama one of the "20 Best Dives in America" in its January 2003 issue.[4]

Hosted events[edit]

The Flora-Bama Lounge is host to a number of annual and one-time local events. Perhaps most famous of these festivities is the annual Interstate Mullet Toss, an event where individuals compete on the beach throwing a mullet from a 10 foot circle in Florida across the state line into Alabama. Not only is the mullet toss great excuse to throw a weekend long party, but contributions are made to local charities, mostly to youth organizations. Winning throws approach distances in excess of 150 feet and the event is always held in the last full weekend of April. Additional events include the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, the Polar Bear Dip, the Mullet Man Triathlon, and the Super Bowl Chili Cook-off.

A recent addition is the annual Mullet Man Triathlon, a conventional sprint-distance race consisting of a quarter-mile swim, followed immediately by a 15-mile bike and a 4-mile run. Not considered a serious competitive event by most of the contestants, the true motivation is (half-jokingly) said to be the post-race party.

External links & references[edit]

  1. "Last call for famed state line nightspot." Pensacola News Journal, April 9, 2005.
  2. "Perdido Key's Flora-Bama not ready to abandon ship." Pensacola News Journal, September 30, 2004.
  3. "Mullet will still fly at famed lounge." Pensacola News Journal, September 2, 2002.
  4. "What a surprise! Flora-Bama makes list of America's best dives." Pensacola News Journal, December 17, 2002.