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BOC ’12: Bars, Drinks & Nightlife

5 ½ BAR
Winner: Best Original Drink Menu, Best Bar To Drink Alone, Best Martini, Best Bar Ambiance
Runner Up: Best Place To Eavesdrop, Best Margarita, Best Dark Corner For PDA, Best Selection Of Wine By The Glass, Best Bartender-Patrick Bolster
After enjoying a show at Vinyl, step through the door in the rear of the hall and into one of the swankiest joints in town. This quiet little bar connected to Pensacola’s hottest music venue scored big, once again topping several Best of the Coast categories. With its own entrance on Garden Street, the intimate 5 1/2 prides itself on mixology know-how. Say hey to Patrick and curl up with a Moscow Mule.

BAMBOO WILLIE’S BEACH SIDE BAR
Winner: Best Daiquiri, Best Day-Drinking
Runner Up: Best Bushwacker, Best Place To Shake Your Stuff
Bamboo Willie’s is the Portofino Boardwalk’s spot for drinking, dancing and letting the sun, salt and sand seep into your brain. With so many daiquiri varieties behind the bar, making a drink selection could prove a tough choice. Probably best to start off with a Bushwacker before any such big decisions are made.

BLEND LOUNGE
Winner: Best Place To Eavesdrop
Runner Up: Best Drink Specials
At the back of World of Beer with a street entrance on Intendencia Street is Blend Lounge with a full liquor bar and beautiful bartenders. Blend is where the power brokers go to down a few before they head home or to the next county commission or city council meeting. The party crowd loves Blend for its nightly drink specials and promotions.

THE BRIDGE BAR
Winner: Best Bar-Gulf Breeze/Navarre, Best Bar With A View
Runner Up: Best Bar To Drink Alone, Best Bar Where It Pays To Be A Regular, Best Bar For Trivia, Best Bartender-John Muzzy
This intimate bar at the foot of the Pensacola Bay Bridge at the entrance of Gulf Breeze has a spectacular view of Pensacola’s waterfront. Scott and Nick Wheatley have created the preferred watering hole for Gulf Breeze locals who enjoy watching sunsets with a cold drink alone or with friends. Bartender John Muzzy will greet you with a smile and remember your favorite drink. On weekends enjoy live music on their deck.

COYOTES SPORTS BAR
Winner: Best Bar-Cordova Area
Runner Up: Best Bar For Bingo
Established in 2004, Coyotes Sports Bar is located on the parameter of Cordova Mall, neighboring Monterrey’s Mexican on Bayou Boulevard. Sports, live music, karaoke and daily specials won the hearts of IN readers for the second year. The daytime happy hour—with $1 off all drinks—didn’t hurt either.

THE ELBOW ROOM
Winner: Best Late Night Eats, Best Dark Corner for PDA, Best Jukebox
Runner Up: Best Bar Menu, Best Bar to Drink Alone, Best Place for Bar Games, Best Kept Local Secret
The true test of any local is whether they have been to The Elbow Room. Don’t let the drab, brick exterior fool you. Walk in and you will find a bar so unique that you will quickly become a regular. It’s dark with only red lighting and a fake fireplace that’s always lit. There’s a dartboard, pinball, Pac Mac, arcade bowling and the best jukebox in Pensacola. They also have a treasure trove of board games to play while you drink cold beer and munch on delicious pizza and sandwiches.

EMERALD CITY
Winner:  Best Bar Overall, Best Drink Specials, Best Cover Charge Worth Paying, Best Bar Where It Pays To Be A Regular, Best Heavy Pour, Best Place You Can’t Take Your Parents
Runner Up: Best Night Club, Best Bar Downtown Pensacola, Best Bar To People Watch, Best Margarita, Best Bar For Getting Flat-Out Drunk, Best Bar To Hook Up, Best Dark Corner For PDA, Best Original Drink Menu, Best Place To Shake Your Stuff
Saddle up to the bar, Dorothy, and have a drink at Pensacola’s premier gay club. The drink specials, music and entertainment have made Emerald City a favorite of IN readers, placing this nightspot at or near the top of every bar category. Follow the yellow brick road and peek behind the curtain for a glimpse of the best DJs and drag shows in the area.

CHRISTOPHER PETERSON, EMERALD CITY
Winner: Best Bartender
Christopher Peterson believes that what makes a bartender great is genuine relationships and a sense of humor, as well as remembering drink orders and being speedy. “I can identify with pretty much anyone no matter what walk of life they come from,” Peterson said. “My attention to making sure they have the best time possible helps too.” Peterson’s favorite drink to make is home-made pepper infused vodka for Bloody Marys and the Pensacola Beach Lemonade. “It’s dang tasty.”

THE OTHERSIDE
Winner: Best Place to Meet Friends After Work
Runner Up: Best Happy Hour, Best Bar Ambiance, Best Bar For Bingo
The Other Side, located next door to its companion bar, Emerald City, also placed well this year for its intimate atmosphere and drink specials. Click your heels three times and all the sudden you’re in an upscale martini bar with flatscreen TVs and a pool table.

HOPJACKS PIZZA KITCHEN & TAPROOM
Winner:  Best Bar Downtown Pensacola, Best French Fries, Best Selection of Beer on Tap, Best Bar Menu, Best Bar For Getting Flat-Out Drunk. Best College Hangout
Runner Up:  Best Late Night Eats, Best Pizza, Best Bar Overall, Best Drink Specials, Best Bar Where It Pays To Be A Regular, Best Local Person/Business To Follow On Twitter, Best Place to Mooch Free Wi-Fi, Best Place To Meet Friends After Work, Best Happy Hour, Best Karaoke DJ-KJ Wildo
Hopjacks delivers one of the more unique atmospheres in Pensacola and won the much-sought-after Best Bar Downtown Pensacola title. Stocked with more than 200 beers—111 on tap—in a bar that spans much of the establishment, you’ll never get thirsty—or bored. While the bar selection is top-notch, so is the pizza and their world-famous fries. The best part of all is they serve food ‘til the wee hours of the morning, just when those post-drinking munchies set in.

HOPJACKS NINE MILE
Winner: Best Bar-North Pensacola/Nine Mile Road/UWF
Runner Up: Best New Bar-Escambia County, Best Restaurant-North Pensacola/Nine Mile Road/UWF
Now that it’s there, it’s difficult to imagine a world without the Nine Mile Road Hopjacks. Building on the success of his downtown location, owner Joe Abston decided to expand his business to the other side of town. Now University of West Florida students don’t have to drive to downtown to enjoy the beer, pizza and duck fries.

ALBERT LAO
Winner: Best Club DJ
Originally from Los Angeles, Albert Lao went from djing college parties and Hollywood clubs to working for Sony Music in New York. He credits Mark Ronson, Funkmaster Flex and DJ AM as influences. “Some of my favorite songs to mix are ‘Hypnotize,’ ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ ‘Under Pressure,’ ‘Poison,’ and ‘Push It’ – 60 percent of the time, it works. I love to incorporate older songs along with the newer stuff in my sets to make it diverse.”

NEW YORK NICK’S
Winner: Best Sports Bar, Best Restaurant for Sports Fanatics
Runner Up: Best Wings, Best Sports Team Club Headquarters
All the games—that is what set Nick’s apart. Palafox’s top sports bar has flat-screen TVs everywhere you turn—offering games and sports that nobody else carries, including lacrosse. There is not a better place in town to catch college football or March Madness. The wings and sauces are made in-house and the Stoney sauce is heaven on anything it touches. If you become a regular, Nick might even smile at you and let you change the channel to your favorite show, but it better not be Lifetime Television or some Reality show.

PADDY O’LEARY’S IRISH PUB
Winner: Best Shot-Irish Car Bomb, Best Bar for Poker
Runner Up: Best Pizza By The Slice, Best Bar-Pensacola Beach, Best Bar Personality-Seamas Hunt
Paddy O’Leary’s fame is derived from its Irish Car Bomb shot—it’s good enough to send Margaret Thatcher herself into a raucous round of “Danny Boy.” The bar also features poker nights, lots of NFL football and a reputation for being “a real Irish pub.” “One thing that makes an Irish pub is a proper pint of Guinness,” said County Wicklow, Ireland-native Seamas Hunt, co-owner and runner up in this year’s Best Bar Personality category. “There’s no one else in Pensacola that takes the time to do that.”

PLAY
Winner: Best Place For Bar Games, Best Karaoke Night, Best Signature Drink-King Koopa
Runner Up: Best Bar Downtown Pensacola, Best Happy Hour, Best Bar For Trivia, Best Pet-Friendly Bar, Best Jukebox, Best Shot-Dragon’s Breath
With rotating microbrews, a combination of vintage and new arcade games, pool tables and skee-ball machines, Play is Pensacola’s favorite neighborhood bar with a side of fun. You can drink or you can play, but it’s a lot more fun if you do both. No matter what the score, you win.

SANDSHAKER LOUNGE
Winner: Best Bushwacker, Best Bar-Pensacola Beach
Runner Up: Best Bar To People Watch, Best Day Drinking, Best Bar For Poker, Best Bar For Trivia, Best Music Venue, Best Signature Drink-Bushwacker, Best Shot-Dirty Girl Scout
The home of the world famous Bushwacker is like no other bar on Pensacola Beach. The outside deck and observation tower complement the beach bum atmosphere for which this iconic bar has always been known. Order a Bushwacker and enjoy live music, karaoke and other events throughout the week. Don’t forget the 151 shot of rum!

SEVILLE QUARTER
Winner: Best Salad Bar, Best Night Club, Best Bar To People Watch, Best Sports Team Club Headquarters, Best Bar For Bingo, Best Place To Shake Your Stuff, Best Bar To Hook Up, Best Bar Personality, Buck Thomas
Runner Up: Best Cigar Shop, Best Wine Tastings, Best Reception Venue, Best Chicken Fingers, Best Bar Overall, Best Cover Charge Worth Paying, Best Jazz Bar, Best College Hangout, Best Place For Bar Games, Best Bar For Poker, Best Bar Menu, Best Music Venue, Best Karaoke Night, Best Bar For Live Music, Best Ladies Night, Best Running Club, Best Regular Gig-Dueling Pianos, Best Special Event Space-Heritage Hall, Best Bartender-Michelle Klemm, Best Regular Gig-Mr. Lao
Since opening in 1967, Seville Quarter has been a staple of Pensacola nightlife. Originally owned by Bob Snow, the entertainment complex is now under the guidance of the Mitchell family. Seville Quarter is a jack-of-all-trades establishment, offering food, drinks and a variety of entertainment options. From the dance club vibe of Phineas Phogg’s to the Dueling Pianos of Rosie O’ Grady’s, this Pensacola institution serves up every flavor of conceivable nightlife nightly. They regularly bring in national and regional acts and host dozens of weekend festivals and events throughout the year.

BUCK THOMAS, SEVILLE QUARTER
Winner: Best Bar Personality
Buck Thomas has been working with Seville “for a long time,” as he put it. Thomas feels that his job is to help everyone celebrating at Seville to have a good time, without upstaging anyone. “You have to be a part of the party, not the life of the party,” he said. When Thomas is off-the-clock, he might be a bit more laid back he says, but loves working at Seville. “You meet so many different people and overall it’s just fun.”

WORLD OF BEER
Winner: Best New Bar-Escambia County, Best Selection of Bottled Beer
Runner Up: Best Bar Overall, Best Bar-Downtown Pensacola, Best Place To Meet Friends After Work, Best Selection of Beer on Tap
In 2007, two Gulf Breeze High graduates, Scott Zepp and Matt LaFon, opened the doors of World of Beer in the Westchase area of Tampa. The concept took and became one of the hottest franchises in the country. This summer, the pair moved back to Pensacola and opened a World of Beer on Palafox Street attracting both beer aficionados and casual beer fans with its educated, knowledgeable staff, an energetic atmosphere and live musical acts.

Back To Best of the Coast ’12