When it comes to dive bars, we have learned they come in all sizes, shapes, amenities offered and location that surprise you. We discovered this gem as we traveled the coastline of the Florida panhandle. After leaving places like Alligator Point, Panacea and St. Teresa along Highway 98 we came into a small fishing village called Carabelle. Hunger led us to a sign stating Harry’s Bar and Package. All I can say is if there is a mold for dive bars, Harry’s created it!
You walk in the front door directly under the classic neon sign to a dim lit room that takes your eyes a few seconds to focus on your surroundings. There are two bright areas – the pool table and the back well stocked bar. A friendly voice said, “have a seat, be with you folks in a minute”. Quickly finding a seat at a 30 foot long bar, the first sign I saw was a beer special offering $1 Milwaukee’s Best beer cans. A couple of crusty locals had already taken advantage of the special based on the cans in front of them.
Food May Not Be an Option
A table off to the side of the bar had three fishermen discussing the days fishing success – or lack thereof! The barmaid finished serving the table and headed our way. “What can we get you to drink”, was the first statement as napkins flew in front of us. She was cordial and quickly quench our thirst. Then we decided to ask a question that we weren’t sure we wanted the answer to – “Do you serve food.” It was evident our friendly barmaid had been asked this many times before and a quick “not really” flew off her lips. “Give me a minute and we’ll get you a menu from next door” she stated.
“Next Door” is a kitchen with a window that serves food in an atrium with another small bar and a few tables. It seemed Harry’s used this venue to serve food to hungry guests. There is a back door that leads to the atrium. That’s where fifteen minutes later our food arrived. Typical bar food, nothing outstanding, but enough to feed our hunger.
Eating gave us time to look around the bar for more clues to Harry’s dive bar atmosphere. There was a small room with bottles of common liquor and cordials. That was the “Package” part of the name.
Harry’s Bar and Package may not be the grand glorification like Flora-bama, but the fishing village friendly atmosphere is worth the stop. Might be a great place to get a fishing charter captain!