It has been called one of the last great American honky-tonk roadhouses, the perfect blend of beer and whiskey, laid back and wild, where you wipe your feet on the way out, an otherwise tattered, white sandy blip on the teeming gulf coast radar that for more than three decades has served as a romantic, raunchy, roadside respite for good music, good times, good views and most importantly great people. According to its uniquely colorful originator and operator, Joe Gilchrist, the legendary Flora-Bama Oyster Bar & Package Store is many things to many people…a place where all walks of life bikers, judges, professional partiers, politicians, dignitaries, derelicts, diplomats and coquettish coeds converge to embrace a special brand of unmitigated pleasure. And that s the way it should be, according to the muse-like Gilchrist, who for the past 50 years has piously lived his often-repeated mantra: Life is meant to be enjoyed. Gilchrist’s simple formula for fun and frolic of bringing different people together in a beautiful spot to enjoy the universal language and tonic of music and laughter has made his tropical watering hole a global icon among expatriate dives. Playboy has called the loveable, makeshift hodgepodge of wood, rope and canvas America s Best Beach Bar, and during Mullet Toss Weekend in April, or the ever-bustling Fourth of July weekend, you ll be lucky to find elbow room, much less an idle bar tender. In this book Joe Gilchrist tells the amazing history of the Flora-Bama, its inauspicious start, its phoenix-like rise, and tragic, near-demise at the destructive hands of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004. Moreover, Gilchrist chronicles his quixotic run as a fun-loving and free-wheeling entrepreneur during what was undeniably a much simpler time, as well as his thoughts about the uncertain future of our great country and free market capitalism, in what is today an increasingly difficult small business climate. More than a spicy expose on cherished Southern comforts untold, this book is a lasting tribute to the magical, music-filled Mecca that has entertained millions, as well as a provocative, wisdom-filled analysis of integrity of our current class of American political leadership. This book will forever alter the way you view The Bama, Joe Gilchrist, and the United States of America.
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