There are many stories about how the most famous beach bar in the country, the Flora-Bama Lounge, became the iconic location it is today. Some of the stories are even true and a few others were thought up on a local bar stool. The truth is that in 1962 the State of Florida gave the State of Alabama two miles of beach front land in return for the construction of the Perdido Pass Bridge. The Tampary family (Father Ted with sons Connie and Tony) decided to build a small bar and package store on the new State Line. The Flora-Bama was originally constructed in 1964, two years after the road was completed. In the early days of the Flora-Bama, the lounge was practically the only thing in the area. As traffic began to increase along the new highway, business grew and the lounge grew to match it with new construction added piecemeal to accommodate the larger crowds. At the time it was established Escambia County, Florida, in which it is located was "wet" while across the line Baldwin County, Alabama, was "dry".
The Tamparys created a camaraderie rarely found among people of all ages and walks of life. Joseph Gilchrist purchased the tiny lounge and package store on April 17, 1978, and made live music a daily staple. Joined in 1986, by partner Pat McClellan, together they created calendar events like the “Interstate Mullet Toss” and the “Frank Brown Songwriter’s Festival,” named after the early, imposing night watchman.
In 2009, John McInnis and Cameron Price became co-owners of the Flora-Bama, along with Joe and Pat, to carry it into the next 50 years. Together these four owners have carried on the tradition of making the Country's Best Beach Bar a place where everyone feels comfortable and leaves smiling. Today the live music at the Flora-Bama consist of local favorites to Platinum selling recording artist. The events range from chili cookoffs and fishing rodeos to the Annual Mullet Toss and big beach front concerts. The best part is there is always someone and something different going on at the Flora-Bama every day and you never know who is going to be sitting next to you.