Archives for category: Pensacola Beach

Emanuel Cook, photo – Brad Hardisty

Taking a break from the Nashville nightlife, I headed south through Alabama to Pensacola, Florida where the summer crowds had died down and the weather was a perfect 80 degrees during the day and a crisp 70 at night. Pensacola comes alive for its every other month art gallery crawl on Friday night where local artists show their latest creations in and around old town Pensacola on Palafox with musicians playing music in clubs, on overhanging porches and the city parks.

Emanuel Cook was jamming by the park near the end of the action. Emanuel is a guitarist who once played with Miami, Florida native Betty Wright. Emanuel easily moves between Jazz and Blues with eclectic taste. One of his favorites is Gino Vanellis’, “ I Just Wanna Stop” that Emanuel just throws in like its nothing at all, between a cover of Muddy Waters’, “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “ Black Water,” by The Doobie Brothers.

Emanuel Cook is a local Pensacola treasure mixing up jazz chords, open blues configurations and singing with a warm, rich resonant voice.

Emanuel is a little hard to find on the web, but, look him up playing somewhere along Palafox if you are ever down by the gulf. Tell Emanuel you read about him on The Nashville Bridge.

I jammed with him for a while and got a picture of Emanuel playing my Luna Dobro hybrid.

Down the street, Vinyl Music Hall is the club that brings the bands down by the bay.

Joe Patti’s, photo – Brad Hardisty

When you are down in Pensacola, you got to get yourself some fish! Joe Patti’s is the place to get it fresh.  For over 75 years, Joe Patti’s has existed down on Pensacola Bay.  During the 1960’s, Joe Patti’s Seafood was sought after up and down the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast by the finest restaurants.

photo – Brad Hardisty

Nowadays, the retail operation is world class, where not only do they have fresh seafood, where you can find all the panhandle favorites such as grouper, pompano and redfish, but, also Florida lobster, Gulf shrimp and even catfish.

photo – Brad Hardisty

photo – Brad Hardisty

The store also includes fresh sushi, a wine shop and a delicatessen, with everything from fresh baked Italian bread, homemade Gelato to all kinds of seafood salads and the largest collection of imported olive oil that I have ever seen in my travels.

Lobster Salad from Joe Patti’s Deli, photo – Brad Hardisty

I opted for an early lunch of Lobster Salad which contained full lobster claw pieces, some shrimp in lime juice with a little salt, cilantro and red and green onions. It was great straight out of the half pound size plastic container, but, may have been even better on a hot sourdough baguette with some of their fresh roasted garlic spread.

Backside pier area of Joe Patti’s Seafood, photo – Brad Hardisty

While there was plenty of great food to bag and eat out by the pier, Joe Patti’s has a restaurant around the corner mainly catering to the lunch crowd from Tuesday thru Saturday. It’s called Captain Joey Patti’s Seafood and Deli on C Street.

fresh Florida lobster at Joe Patti’s in Pensacola, photo – Brad Hardisty

The fish is fresh from the dock, with Grouper and the catch of the day fried in their own seasoned cornmeal batter.  A big shrimp basket with fries is less than $13, while the catch of the day is less than $10.

The food is like the best home cooked seafood you could imagine, nothing fancy, but, everything will bring you back for more.

I ate their twice trying their seafood gumbo with chunks of shrimp and crab one day and the catch of the day with cheese grits and cole slaw on the side the next.

The fish with two sides was less than $10. The cole slaw was another thing. It was some of the best creamy cole slaw I ever had. I detected some tang with the sweet, possibly a little pickle juice. I was unable to find out the secret from the waitress. You’ll have to try it and see what you think.

photo – Brad Hardisty

Everything was so good at Joe Patti’s that I plan on getting a Styrofoam cooler from Dollar General on Monday and loading up some fresh catch for Tennessee before I head back.

Key Lime Pie at The Fish House, Pensacola, Florida, photo – Brad Hardisty

One more thing you need to try in Pensacola. Key Lime Pie is a Florida trademark. I have seen shows that claim they found the best or so and so has always been considered the best in Key West. Well, The Fish House right on the bay makes the best Key Lime Pie in the world. It is natural yellow instead of tinted with food coloring to make it green. It melts in your mouth along with the mile high fresh meringue on top toasted to a nice brown.

You gotta have some Key Lime Pie when you’re in Florida. Music, food, white sand beaches, beautiful women and a nice small downtown nightlife make Pensacola one of the greatest escapes south of Nashville.

–          Brad Hardisty, on location in Pensacola, Florida

A funny thing happened on the way to Whitesnake

Many of you were probably wondering if I had checked out. Actually, I had a great time down in Pensacola Beach, Florida before I had realized I had left my laptop and Nikon camera in my Hotel room two days later while I was in Memphis. Luckily they had found my stuff in my Hotel room but the Hotel Manager (whom I will choose to remain nameless) didn’t keep his promises to get it shipped and I finally contacted the Hotel Brand Customer Service to get my laptop back.

When I made the original call, I was assured it would be shipped the next day. Three days later on Friday, my Yahoo email address sent spam out to everybody on my email address without me having access to my laptop for over a week. I received the notifications on my Droid phone.

I figured somebody was accessing my computer. I called the hotel and after two hours I got a hold of the Hotel Manager and sure enough my laptop had not been shipped. In fact I got two more false ship dates before I got an actual UPS tracking number the next WEDNESDAY!!!!  It arrived the following Friday, two weeks after I checked out.

You know I usually give people a second chance, but in this case, I think I will wait till they get a new Manager.

By the way, Pensacola and the whole Florida Panhandle was a great getaway. It was a major music party that weekend. I did have a good time until two days after I left and went through that episode. Let me recap.

I booked the Hotel the week before Memorial Day in hopes of peace and quiet to leave behind the Nashville night life and do some songwriting only to find that The Hangout Music Festival with everybody from Paul Simon to Motorhead was on for three days in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Not only that, but Kenny Chesney was doing a concert on the beach as well.

I tried to get a day ticket instead of press credentials for the Hangout Music Festival only to find out it was sold out. Okay fine, on with my original plan except Pensacola Beach was in the midst of a summer kick- off party as well so after day light hours of quiet beaches and good food, at night it was party time.

Friday Night was Gallery Night in old downtown Pensacola New Orleans style iron work and balconies.  There was music everywhere from a rockin’ Kiss tribute band, Love Gun, at The Vinyl Music Hall, Art Galleries open and Clubs lining Palafox Street.

Atlas Oyster House, Pensacola, FL

Between the great seafood at Atlas Oyster House, especially the Blackened Shrimp with Smoked Gouda Cheesy Grits with Portabella Mushroom Remolaude, there was plenty to do.

I didn’t get much songwriting done, but, the white sands between Fort Walton and Destin made Saturday the reason why I hope to end up in Pensacola when things slow down. In fact, being by the gulf, why would I want to make any plans? It feels great to be on a wandering gypsy adventure.

By Saturday night the local party was cranking up with 80’s tribute band The Molly Ringwalds rocking the Boardwalk outdoor stage at Captain Fun’s Beach Club. With a bass player dressed up like Dee Snider and a keyboardist doing Pee Wee Herman they ran through the 80’s from “Everything She Does is Magic” to Queen’s “Under Pressure”. While I was enjoying the music and scene down in Pensacola Beach a local told me about a historic Club called Seville Quarter that had everything from a Piano Bar, Dance Club to local live music out on the patio.

Big Jim Brown at Seville Quarter

I met him down there and caught a set by local musician and music store owner Big Jim Brown and The Speed Kings. He was described as a blues guitarist, but, more accurately kind of roots rock closer to Tom Petty. A lot of nice people and a mix between old hippies and local Air Force military and plenty of beautiful girls kept the party going late into the night.

View from Atlas Oyster House

Sunday I met with an old friend and ended up at Atlas Oyster House again. There are plenty of Restaurants in and around Pensacola but it was my favorite. For the final Seafood du jour, I had a dozen Baked Oysters with Shrimp, Parmesan and spices with the best slice of Key Lime Pie I ever ate.  The boat dock and the bay made for great scenery on my last full day.

Monday I headed up to Birmingham to pick up a new pair of Supra Dixons at the most authentic skateboard store in the south, CCS at The Galleria in Birmingham and catch up with friends.

Tuesday, I was off to Memphis to support FnA Records recording artists Tora Tora opening up for Whitesnake at Snowden Grove in Southaven, Mississippi.  I helped out with the label merch while catching them play stuff off their new disc, Revolution Day, like “Mississippi Voodoo Child” as well as “Revolution Day”.  They were getting their groove on in front of the hometown crowd.

Tora Tora at Snowden Grove

It never fails when I watch a band at their hometown gigs from back when, the old friends stop by and tell me about going to high school with the band or hanging out at band practices.  It’s always fun to hear the stories and realize how many years have gone by.

I hadn’t seen Whitesnake since Jon Sykes and Cozy Powell were in the band.  The only permanent fixture is David Coverdale. They were bent on playing a lot of the new stuff.   The guitar slingers on this round were Reb Beach (Winger, Alice Cooper, Dokken) and Doug Aldrich (House of Lords, Dio). Doug Aldrich looked like a 30 year old Randy Rhoads in full stance, Les Paul in hand; hard to believe he is 47. His playing was phenomenal.

SIX in Branson /Photo- Tammy Grice

I was planning on going to Branson to meet up with SIX aka The Knudsen Brothers. I had Co-Produced Praises We Sing back in the Nineties at Ray Charles favorite L.A. Studio, Trax Recording. SIX is now one of the top performing groups in Branson, living the high life, family style, in Branson, Missouri.  One of the benefits of doing a Vegas style show in Branson is being able to be home during part of the day and home in your own bed at night.  It is a big change from being on the road or paying some hard won dues in Las Vegas. Six is arguably the most successful Accapella group ever while still staying out of the main stream radar.

I’ll have to head to Branson another time. I got home Wednesday morning at 3am because of major pain with my teeth. I made a call to my Dentist at nine and immediately his office set an appointment up with the Entodontist at 10:30am. After looking at the X-Ray’s, the Entodontist sent me to the Oral Surgeon at high noon.

It was serious. Luckily, Dr. Clark in Franklin was really good. I had never been there before, but the staff and Dr. Clark made me feel comfortable with their relaxed attitude and framed photos of San Francisco. It turned out Dr. Clark was from the California Bay Area where I had spent a lot of time with relatives growing up.  He had me out with a mouth full of stitches by 2:30pm. It may not have been the planned ending to my vacation, but, the parachute worked.

Now that I finally have my laptop and camera back, I have a lot of catching up to do.  


 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN