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Raising 'Human Dignity' Alongside Fresh Seafood and Fun at Pensacola's Flora-Bama

By Kelly Church

Right along the Florida-Alabama state line, the Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar is a Pensacola, FL restaurant and bar with a strong following and a full menu. Known for their oysters, their drinks and their events, Flora-Bama has been in business for more than 52 years. Their loyal following is what has kept the local business going, according to Public and Community Relations Director Jenifer Surface.

"The Flora-Bama has an incredible history in the area. A lot of people who have been here before have wonderful memories that they have shared with friends and want to revisit us," Surface says. "It's the people who make the Flora-Bama and they have kept us going for a long time."

The Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar includes a full menu with everything from home-style appetizers to light sandwich wraps, seafood favorites and burgers. Surface says customer favorites are the Bama Burger, topped with grilled onions, mushrooms, jalapenos, bacon, Swiss and cheddar cheeses; Jumbo Royal Reds, deep water gulf shrimp "seasoned to perfection"; and oysters, of which there are multiple options: Oysters McClellan with diced onions, bacon and gouda cheese; Cajun Oysters with spices and parmesan cheese; and Raw Oysters on the half shell. As for bar drinks, Surface says the most popular is by far the Bushwacker, which she compares to an adult milkshake.

"Think a vanilla, chocolatey, creamy, alcohol-filled frozen mixture and it's delicious," Surface says.

On a monthly basis, the Flora-Bama hosts one major event and several smaller events. Next up is the 32nd Annual Interstate Mullet Toss & Gulf Coast's Greatest Beach Party. Always falling on the last full weekend of April, this year on April 22 through 24 beachgoers can participate in what the Flora-Bama Lounge calls "one of the biggest parties on the coast." Participants will throw a dead mullet (the fish, not the hairstyle) over the Florida-Alabama state line, measuring who gets the farthest. Flora-Bama says participants book their trip to the coast to participate months, and sometimes years, in advance. Surface says the toss itself benefits local charities including the Community Drug & Alcohol Council and the Boys & Girls Club.

Other events at the Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar also benefit local charities. The "Super" Bowl Chili Cook-Off benefits the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life. Flora-Bama's Beach Run-Walk for America's Warriors 5K & 1/2 Marathon directly benefits the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The Mullet Man Triathlon will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

The Mullet Swing Golf Classic benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Through their events, Flora-Bama incorporates their desire to enhance the level of respect amongst the community members. To find more events and who they benefit, visit the Flora-Bama Lounge & Oyster Bar website. There are annual events and many in between.

"We want to always be responsive and sensitive to the human dignity of others and grant equal respect to all who enter the Flora-Bama," Surface says. "It's a place where you can come and celebrate life and take a break for a little bit to enjoy an array of talented musicians, put your feet in the sand, relax and be whoever you want to be."

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