Whether you love or hate the holiday of love, you can’t really escape it. And you’ve got to the get through the hearts and chocolate before you can get to the beads and booze of next weekend.
We knew the IN had to show some love to V-Day, but we just couldn’t do the same old “date night ideas” article. Again. So we cooked up a different kind of love story.
We decided to send a Valentine to the one true love we all share, our city.
If you want romantic, sappy love stuff, we suggest you dust off your copy of “The Notebook.” This list is overflowing with reasons that should make you pretty damn happy you live in the City of Five Flags. And if it doesn’t, that probably means you don’t get out much and you can’t really blame the city for your lameness, now can you?
So here it is – our open love letter, in list form yet in no particular order, to Pensacola.
• “America’s Original Beach Party” calls our beach home.
• We finally have a local brewery. And their beer doesn’t suck.
• Because it’s always happy hour for ladies at Hub’s.
• We’ve got not one, but two bad-ass vegan/vegetarian restaurants downtown. Not too shabby for a “small” town, huh?
• PBRs are always tallboys at The Handlebar.
• It took way too long, but we finally got a mid-sized music venue and it totally rocks.
• The best show in town? Saturday night karaoke at “Sir Dicks.”
Sir Richards, 2719 E. Cervantes St.
• “Wahoo!” Not every team can boast that their name is also a cheer.
• A competitive adult skee ball league? Yes, it’s a real thing.
• Free wine, music and an arty backdrop? PMA’s Culture Club never gets old.
• Fish tacos, Cali-style without the West Coast.
• Dog day afternoons at the Bayview Park dog park.
• Seven Gallery Nights in 2012—proof that you can never have enough of a good thing.
• Hometown all-star pride: Trent Richardson, Roy Jones Jr., Reggie Evans, Justin Gatlin and Emmitt Smith just to name a few.
• $3 Dolla Holla—the name says it all.
• We’re only three hours from New Orleans, meaning we’re only three hours from NFL and NBA games, Jazz Fest and Mardi Gras.
• Like Irish Car Bombs? Prove it by getting on the Paddy’s wall of fame.
• When we hear the word “ShamWow” we think champagne cocktails, not super-absorbent towels.
The Elbow Room
• Beads, booze and the beach—the three B’s that make the annual Krewe of Wrecks Parade a can’t-miss event.
• Timberhawk—the best local band any town could ask for.
• Bushwhackers are pretty delicious. Who came up with such a yummy concoction? Oh yeah, that’s right—we did.
• What’s the only thing better than brunch? Getting a free Irish Coffee (frozen or hot) with your brunch.
• Student art that’s actually worth checking out, plus monthly exhibit openings—all at TAG at UWF.
• Priscilla of Zumba Pensacola—making fitness fun.
• A Vietnamese restaurant that all your Vietnamese friends actually like? That’s always a good sign.
Tu-Do Vietnamese Restaurant
• Entrees, sides, even desserts. With Apple Market’s prepared gourmet menu you never have to cook again (unless you want to).
• Monday nights at Ozone—aka 1/2-off large pies if you’re willing to wait a bit.
• Expanding your culinary horizons with weekly dinner and wine pairings at Lee House with award-winning chef Blake Rushing.
• It’s always tea time at Bia’s Sublime Tea & Artisan Workshop.
• Every year you get at least twenty chances (give or take a few, weather permitting) to make it out to Bands on the Beach.
• We finally got a fro yo bar. Then we got three more a week later. Classic Pensacola.
Berry Yogurt, 32 Degrees and TCBY on 9 Mile Rd.
• Hockey in Florida? Why the hell not?
• Because any given Tuesday can be a “Blue Tuesday,” aka Blue Angels practice day.
• We’re the type of city that has festivals centered around our love for crawfish and seafood. How can you not love that?
• Driving through East Hill when City Grocery is grilling on the curb. It doesn’t get better than that.
• We’ve got our very own Saint Nick—he’s the patron saint of local sports lovers, who saves the day regularly by having every sports package under the sun.
• Free admission to the National Naval Aviation Museum. Living in “The Cradle of Naval Aviation” has its perks.
• Because Jerry Seinfeld and Daniel Tosh are coming to town.
• And Blake Shelton and Diplo just did.
• We might have been late to the foodie cupcake party, but we’re making up for it with quality. One bite of the “Hot Mama” and you’ll agree.
• Every year we host the nation’s largest prediction run. Did you know that?
• Tuesday Nights at Atlas—who doesn’t like 1/2-off sushi?
• We get to claim Mike Papantonio from Ring of Fire radio as one of our own.
• And “Morning Joe” himself, Joe Scarborough, too.
• Have you ever been in the Publix on 9th Ave. and not seen someone you know? Yeah, us neither.
• Because we’re all guilty of vandalism, at least once, at the 17th Avenue train trestle, aka “Graffiti Bridge.”
• Plaza de Luna—where the only thing better than the views are the sweet potato fries from the concession stand.
• If it looks too good to eat, you can bet it’s a Betty Weber creation.
• DJ Mr. Lao—big city style mixes every Saturday night at our very own Seville Quarter.
• Proudly brewing Intelligentsia coffee—finally.
• Creative libations from bartender/mixologist extraordinaire Patrick Bolster—always on the menu at 5 1/2 bar.
• Because “White Bag Lady” sightings never get old.
• It might be small, but at least we have an independent movie theater.
• Pimento grilled cheese—yes, please.
• Blue Dot cheeseburgers and King’s BBQ pork sandwiches—comfort food at its best.
• We are America’s First Settlement.
•Eating barbecue ribs while watching the Magee Field Baby Rattlers play the Legion Field Tigers in the Soul Bowl.
• Listening to jazz and blues at Five Sisters’ Blues Café and thinking of all the music greats that played in Belmont-Devilliers.
• Locals drink beer for $2 at the Cavu Club inside the Crown Plaza.
• Pensacola politics beat reality TV any day, and there are no reruns.
• Our first family—Mayor Ashton Hayward, An and Aiden—are the coolest first family in the state.
The IN would like to show some love to our freelancers and friends who cared enough to answer our “what do you love about Pensacola” e-mail. You guys made our job easier and for that we love you a little bit more this week than normal.
You know who you are, but we think everyone else should too:
Kelly Blackwell, Kiley Bolster, Riannon Boven, Whitney Vaughan Fike, Hana Frenette, Nora Jones and Sarah McCartan