Whiskey Joe’s Brand Manager Marty Duffany said there are a few constants that span across the Whiskey Joe’s restaurants regardless of their location: a beachfront cocktail bar, outdoor firepits to gather around and a good view of the water. In Pensacola, the restaurant is planted right on the Little Sabine Bay.
Pensacola Beach checked all the boxes for an additional location, said John Tallichet, CEO of the Specialty Restaurants Corporation that includes Whiskey Joe's.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be entering the booming Pensacola market,” Tallichet said in a statement. “The Whiskey Joe’s brand aligns perfectly with Pensacola’s sun-seeking, laidback crowd looking for a bite on the beach.”
The space will be able to seat 730 to 800 people on a regular day using beachfront and indoor seating, Duffany said. The restaurant will also cater to those looking for a quick bite to eat with a carry-out window that can accept walk-up orders straight from the sand in addition to online ordering.
The restaurant will open in two phases, beginning with an outdoor kitchen and outdoor dining area opening in mid-February, and the indoor dining area and two indoor kitchens following closely after in April.
The restaurant will open with a Wednesday through Sunday schedule before committing to staying open seven days a week, according to Duffany. Lunch will begin at 11 a.m. and he anticipates the restaurant will stay open until about 10 p.m. to start.
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Not only will the new location have the capacity to host birthday parties, anniversaries and corporate events, but it will provide a new option in the area for beachfront weddings and rehearsal dinners. Though the restaurant is still weeks away from opening, management is accepting bookings starting April 1.
Almost all the “Floribbean”-style food on the menu is made from scratch, Duffany said, including the restaurant’s famous “gator bites,” mango glazed scallops, local fish tacos, Island crab cakes, burgers and Joe’s Pile of Nachos.
He said he hopes the spot will be not only an attraction for tourists, but a place of retreat for even locals to feel as though they are on vacation.
“Give yourself the thought that you’re going on vacation down to the Caribbean, those tropical-themed drinks, whether they’re frozen or shaken in a Hurricane glass, things like that. That’s what we want to do,” Duffany said. “We want to make sure even the locals, when they live in Pensacola, Tampa, Miami, that they feel like it’s a little getaway for the day and make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean.”
The hangout will also appeal for those looking for a quick drink on the beach, with over 40 drink options available from the brand’s “World-Famous Barefoot Tiki Bar.” Though the restaurant specializes in tropical, tiki-style cocktails, such as margaritas and mojitos, the bar will also have an extensive selection of craft and domestic beers on tap, according to public relations representative Sarah Thaler.
Even with the abundance of alcohol, Duffany said the laid-back atmosphere will be family friendly for people of all ages — especially for those with young children.
He said the beachside dining allows parents to enjoy a meal at the table while the kids are able to play within eyesight in the sand, unlike at more traditional restaurants. There will also be partial fencing surrounding the outdoor dining area.
“If you go to any of our Whiskey Joe’s, you see that going on. That’s the whole vibe of it,” Duffany said. “Younger parents that are working and are stressed out with kids can come and almost feel like it’s a little day vacation, a little bit of the Caribbean in their life. Get away from that stress.”
Duffany said he plans to use the outdoor space as a gathering point year-round, even in the cooler months, with the help of some later installations.
“Even in the colder months going forward, our restaurant is so cool. The thing is on the tiki bar, we’re going to try and keep that open year-round,” he said. “Starting next winter … we’ll have heaters all through the tiki bars downstairs and then drop-down isinglass. We don’t need the isinglass to start because we’ll be already to the point it will start to warm up, we’ll have that eventually.”
Duffany said he plans to make the bar’s weekday happy hour competitive for the area, both in variety and price.
The restaurant is currently hiring for multiple positions including hosts, servers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, maintenance and a certified sanitize coordinator.
Duffany said he has received over 120 applications so far, but will still be hiring up until the point of the grand opening.
Those looking to reserve the space for a private event or apply for a job can visit the Whiskey Joe’s website for more information.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill to open Pensacola Beach location in February