Name: John Fifer
Day Job: Commercial Real Estate Advisor at Beck Property Company
Pensacola Resident Since: 1985. Left for some college, came back. Left for some adventures, came back. Left for some jobs, came back. I just can’t seem to get the beaches out of my system, so this time I’ll be here for a very long time and I’m completely happy to be back where my family and closest friends are!
Good Eats: Carmen’s Lunch Bar has some great BBQ. My buddy Daniel at The Wine Bar can cook up some mean duck. Cactus Flower has the most addictive cheese sauce in the world. Deli Case near Cordova Mall is the best place for a sandwich; because where else can you take your niece to get a Princess sandwich and you can get a Dark Knight sandwich? Oh, and you have to go find the End of the Line Cafe as it’s a hidden gem with fantastic food.
Watering Holes: The Leisure Club or Maximilian Coffee for cool and hip caffeine consumption while reading the Independent News, of course. New York Nick’s for football and crying when FSU loses to NC State every year. The Fish House Deck for the lovely ladies. Gallery Night for bulk wine tastings and police crowd enforcement disasters. The Oar House for sunsets and wishing I was “on a boat” feat. T. Pain.
Nightlife: Camping under the stars pretty much anywhere. Blue Wahoos baseball night or day, but the fireworks are the best—how does a recovering Boy Scout pyromaniac get a job exploding stuff every Saturday night? Gallery Night is like a huge family reunion every month. Rich McDuff at McGuire’s is a longtime favorite along with hilariously inappropriate lyrics.
Outdoors: I’m a serial backpacker and love to hit the wilderness as often as possible. Canoeing or kayaking is a close second. Surprisingly, there are tons of hiking trails and wild rivers all around Pensacola. When I’ve been sitting in the office too long, I start daydreaming about hiking the Florida Trail, which starts in Ft. Pickens and ends 1,100 miles later in the Everglades.
Never Miss Events/Festivals: Gallery Night. Blue Angels. McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Run. Our annual “Turkey Bowl,” going on 17 years, where some long time friends get together and play football on Thanksgiving. As the years have gone by and our bellies have gotten bigger, our games have gotten shorter and our breaks longer. I think the only thing we did last year was show up, sit on the sidelines and reminisce about how awesome we used to be. Good times, good times!
Intracoastal Outfitters and Weatherford’s. Wes and Dave are the best and helped outfit me for my long distance hiking trips along the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. Palafox Market on Saturday mornings has grown on me. While I’m not a jewelry person, Meghan McMillan’s jewelry is awesome and the CSA farms with natural food stuffs are so much better tasting than Wal-Mart.
Arts & Culture: When you get involved, things are really hopping in Pensacola. Being a movie buff, I loved the Saenger Theatre classic movie nights this summer. Even though my personal artistic talents rarely exceed stick figure comic strips, I never get tired of the GulfCoast Arts Festival. I’m a huge history dork, so I’m the guy that actually reads those little brass plaques on the side of buildings. Phrases spoken often include: “Where did John go?” “Oh, he’s over there staring at the side of that building…” And of course, the MESS Hall kids science fun place where you get to blow stuff up is awesome, too!
Exercise Therapy: As you’ve previously read my interests in food, drink, and lack of “weekend warrior” fitness, my exercise regimen falls squarely on the shoulders of Chad at Cross Fit Five Flags. After my first workout of mostly pull-ups and trying to keep up with my Cross Fit buff little sister, I could barely move my crippled T-Rex arms. But due the methods of Cross Fit and the persistence of Chad, my belly is retracting and it looks like I have a shot at this year’s Turkey Bowl MVP award. Chad, you da man!