Considered by many to be the heart and soul of Grayton Beach, The Red Bar, reopened on Wednesday, July 15th after being closed for nearly 17 months following a devastating fire in February 2019 that destroyed the 100-year-old building. Anticipation from the community has been high as the new building has taken shape, a collaborative effort between local experts BOHEME architects, O’Connell and Associates engineers and Luke & Blue’s builders.
Owners and brothers Oli and Phillipe Petit remained committed to rebuilding the space as closely to the original as possible, following blueprints of the historic building that once housed a general store, the Old Butler Store. Every detail of the new building has been carefully selected to provide the eclectic and vintage feeling of the landmark restaurant. The Petits have spent the past months curating antiques, posters and art to keep the same groovy vibe that has welcomed diners and revelers from around the world since 1995.
Here’s a peek of the new space and the artists that have contributed to the rebuild.
Artist Billie Gaffrey painted the original Red Bar sign that hung on the west side of the building. A new sign was painted by the longtime local known for her fun, funky style signaling that the restaurant was nearly ready to reopen! Gaffrey is the art teacher at the Seaside Neighborhood School, a charter public school in the Seaside community.
Another local artist Bryan Hand, the master behind the famously photographed front door created a replica of his work on a new door. The famous Ganesha served as the backdrop to countless vacationer’s photos and is sure to again! Hand has been a server on and off at the restaurant for twenty years and painted much of the artwork that was on-site at the former building. He also did a bar top flap sketched with Sharpie and ink and with more projects to come.
A new but extra special addition to the wall behind where the bands will perform is an inlaid circle crafted from salvaged wood from the original building by area musician and guitar craftsman Chris Alvarado. Inspired by the inlaid circle on the floor of the Grand Ole Opry from Nashville’s famous Ryman Auditorium, the piece includes an inscription along the outer rim, “Happy days are here to stay,” a phrase that Oli Petit is known for saying, and surely a sign of what’s ahead for The Red Bar.