Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Red Bar - Grayton Beach Florida

(also published on Yelp)
The Red Bar is located at 70 Hotz Ave in Grayton Beach FL 32459 and is easily accessible from the beach (we walked from the other side of the state park). Parking can be a bit iffy if coming from the 30A side - you can basically line up along some of the street or park on a portion of the upper beach designated for that purpose (there's also water access to locals for dropping boats) - with the shopping in this area it might be easier to walk from elsewhere.







The building itself is very beach-shack-y and super eclectic, with painted or washed gray surfaces and areas completely covered in vines - it's actually quite attractive and easy-on-the-eyes due to the soft surfaces. The restaurant/bar is quite red when you enter - partially due to the lighting and partially due to the objects collected across most surfaces, such as red tinted heavy curtains and red lighting. The ceiling has some great poster art from concerts, movies and other events - there's definitely a great vibe here, much of it associated with music. I loved the atmosphere and could see myself coming to this bar daily, either for the food or to hang out with a mixed drink or two.







We came as a group of 8 people and were seated immediately for lunch. The bar was fairly dark with spots of color coming from the openings to the outside around the edges of the bar, with the pervasive red color. There's outdoor seating but we decided to sit inside - the bar and restaurant were about half-full (this was during off-season - mid-September - so I believe most were locals). Menus were presented as slips of paper, with most featured items on a chalkboard near the front door. Today's main fish feature was the grouper and I can attest that it was quite good and very fresh.

I ordered:

Red Hook IPA - this is just a great IPA that works with about any food, but especially anything fried - the hops cut's through the fat and makes a great and refreshing palate cleaner.



Cup of Gumbo - this was a mighty fine cup of gumbo topped with white rice. There was a good amount of spice, especially the oft-missing filé (sassafras root) and to me an essential ingredient. This is also a great way to start a meal.


Fish and Chips - I was a bit hesitant to order this at first as I'm almost always disappointed when something other than cod is used for this classic British dish - however the grouper was so fresh and so good I was made extremely happy. I would come back to Red Bar for this dish alone.


The rest of the table ordered:

Grilled Grouper Sandwich - as with all of the grouper served on this day, the grilled is no exception to the overall deliciousness. I took a bite of this sandwich and no lie, could have eaten two of these.








Smoked Salmon Salad - I thought this looked impressive but otherwise I'm not sure I would have ordered it myself. Not that it's bad, just too many other choices.


Grilled Grouper Salad - as with the sandwich, an alternative to the calories I guess.


Fried Shrimp Po Boy - now this beast would make any shrimp-fan smile.


After the lunch we tried a couple of the desserts:

Key Lime Pie - not bad at all - appropriately pale, personally I like mine a bit more piquant but this was fine and well made without the over-the-top sweetness you often get in this Southern classic.


Teramisu - this layered dish was quite good with a dusting of cocoa powder and drizzle of chocolate sauce - probably my favorite of the two.


In all we had a great time with good food.If I was a local, this would become my hangout. Do make sure you bring cash as with most of the local joints, the Red Bar is cash only. I gave this 5 stars on Yelp! and those of you who know me, know that I rarely give such a high rating - the Red Bar certainly deserves it!



-- John

The Red Bar on Urbanspoon