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Clearwater AL

Extremely helpful member
Forum Supporter
Aug 28, 2013
Get Real
Just something to read… in the “After 5 Forum Pub”. It took me a few
days to put this together. My writing skills aren’t what they used to be.

After Spring Break and for the rest of the year our beach bar often reminded
me of a Chameleon. It was a side gig I got involved with.

From opening mid-morning to last call at night, the patrons (regulars), the
tourists, the locals and the unusual seem to come in cycles.

There’s always a few early starters before lunch but then came the
“Lunch Crowd”… locals, people working in the area, folks coming in off
the beach and construction workers. Busy, loud and fast. Burgers, fries
a couple of beers and gone.

(This was the time of the beach line building boom, all the little beach
cottages that lined Gulf Blvd and the streets parallel behind Gulf Blvd
were losing out to 4, 6 and 10 story condos. Now driving south on Gulf
Blvd south from Bellaire Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Reddington Beach
Madeira Beach to St.Pete Beach is like driving down a concrete canyon.
All the little cottages are gone and all the neat beach bars are gone too.

Then there was the afternoon drinkers, mostly older men, retirees who
lived near by. Many walked to the bar. A lot of them were there because
of our day time barmaid. She was in her early 50s but looked like she was
her early 40s. They’d grumble if someone came up from the beach for a
cold one and played the juke box. Two or three “seniors” of the afternoon
crowd could have bought Clearwater. There were some million dollar
homes near by too. I knew but others had no clue these guys were very
very wealthy. They were down to earth, no flaunting personality, no
gawdy gold rings and neck chains… just tee shirts, shorts and sandals.
As one once confided to me… “this is the real world.’

Then there was what I called the “5 o’clock squad”… people coming in
for a drink before they go home. It would start about 4 and go to about
7 PM. It was a real mix… business men and women, construction workers
people coming up from being on the beach all day and even a few lawyers.

Also, the beach bars wars between us… who put out the best hors d'oeuvres
(food) for the 5 o’clock squad.

Then, the night crowd… Coral Reefers, Beach Bums and Rock n Rollers.

About 9 o’clock the young crowd would begin to drift in. Beach Heads.
Crank up the juke box, the pool tables were non stop. There was a blue/gray
haze rising up into the night from the parking lot and behind the building.

Occasionally I’d go down there about 10 PM just to check on things.
One night when I got out of my pick up… it smelled like a hemp rope
factory was on fire. I lectured them to walk down to the beach, not in the
parking lot or behind the building.

They all knew our hard rule…
“No Pot Smoking Inside or be Bar’d for Good.’

The night bartenders were not allowed to leave behind the bar to police
the outside.

The Chameleon.

Anywhooo… just wondering if any of our older members remember
their “Spring Break” days when free standing beach bars dotted the beach
line. Today they are in upscale big hotel bars and lounges along the concrete
canyons of Gulf Blvd. (I’d bet you could sit in one for hours and not hear
a Jimmy Buffet song.)

People ask me if I am ready to move back to Florida… no, it’s not the
Florida I once remember.

Hope you all didn’t mind my rambling. Again, just something to read.
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Don’t know about spring break beach bars but you make me travel there in time and space. Thanks
I enjoyed that, Al. Thank you!

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