The second leg of our long trip from New Jersey to New Orleans to Florida took us to Dothan Alabama and Panama City Florida. Unfortunately, I did not record any of the Alabama part of the trip in photos, but only the part of this trip when all the family took a little road trip to PC Beach, one hour South of where I grew up. (This is only fitting however, because the main thing to do in Dothan Alabama is to go to the beach)
This photo shows my father, my partner, my sister Jan, and my brother in law, David on the beach in Panama City around January 9, 2005. It was incredibly warm that day, but with spotty heavy fog as shown in the photograph.
Panama City is a place that I have fond memories of as my family would go there several times each summer when I was growing up. We would always just go down for the day and go to the Miracle Strip Amusement Park and play on the beach all day and take a picnic lunch.
That Panama City doesn’t really exist anymore, as The Miracle Strip is now being bulldozed along with of the properties along the gulf to make way for multi-million dollar condos that are stacked on top of one another for as far as the eye can see.
For us, it was a sad sight to see, for the original property owners, it is a financial fantasy come true.
The best meal we had on this leg of the trip was at a place called the Red Bar in Grayton Beach, West of Panama City. The place is not one that really can be put into words, you gotta see this place. I can only say that a run-down place has never looked as funky as this place does. The Red Bar is a trip back to 1969, with The Doors Blinds on the windows, opera and Broadway Show posters plastered all over the ceiling, a representative of every type of chair ever made sitting around tables (half of them being held together with silver duct tape, pictures of Jesus and tacky 60’s Italian mirrors, and French newspapers covering all the walls in the men’s bathroom.
My father shocked us all that night and ordered the seafood stuffed eggplant and loved it, while I ordered a classic “big ole piece of meat” which was done very well and was a damn good steak for it’s price. The atmosphere is the star here however and if you are within an hour of this place, you just gotta go!
The Red Bar of Grayton Beach Florida gets our vote for the Most Wacko Bar and Restaurant in the South.