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Caribbean-themed restaurant and tiki bar ‘Whiskey Joe’s’ opens Friday on Pensacola Beach

Growing Florida restaurant chain Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill is opening its fifth Pensacola Beach location in February at 400 Quietwater Beach Road, Unit 16.

Once home to Pensacola favorites Castaways Beachside Restaurant and Raw Bar and Jubilee Oyster Bar & Grille, the place will once again be a place for sunsets and seafood.

Marty Duffany, Whiskey Joe’s brand manager, said there are a few constants at Whiskey Joe’s restaurants, regardless of location: a beachfront cocktail bar, outdoor fire pits for gathering and a great view on the water. In Pensacola, the restaurant is planted right on Little Sabine Bay.

Pensacola Beach ticked all the boxes for an additional location, said John Tallichet, CEO of the Specialty Restaurants Corporation which includes Whiskey Joe’s.

Manager Marty Duffany speaks Thursday about the Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill tiki bar being built on the Pensacola Beach boardwalk.

“We are absolutely thrilled to enter the growing Pensacola market,” Tallichet said in a statement. “The Whiskey Joe’s brand fits perfectly with Pensacola’s laid-back, sun-seeking crowd looking for a bite to eat on the beach.”

The space will accommodate 730 to 800 people per day using beachfront and indoor seating, Duffany said. The restaurant will also cater to those looking for a quick bite with a take-out window that can take walk-in orders straight from the sand in addition to online ordering.

The restaurant will open in two phases, starting with an outdoor kitchen and an outdoor dining area in mid-February, and the indoor dining area and two indoor kitchens will follow closely in April.

The restaurant will open with a Wednesday-Sunday schedule before committing to stay open seven days a week, according to Duffany. Lunch will begin at 11 a.m. and he expects the restaurant to stay open until about 10 p.m. to begin.

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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. Although the restaurant is still a few weeks away from opening, the management is accepting reservations from April 1st.

Almost all of the “Floribbean” style dishes on the menu are made from scratch, Duffany said, including the restaurant’s famous “alligator bites”, mango-glazed scallops, local fish tacos, cakes of island crab, burgers and Joe’s pile of nachos.

He said he hopes the place will not just be an attraction for tourists, but a place of retreat to make even locals feel like they’re on vacation.

Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill on the Pensacola Beach boardwalk is slated to open in February.

Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill on the Pensacola Beach boardwalk is slated to open in February.

“Make you feel like you’re going on vacation to the Caribbean, these tropical-themed drinks, whether they’re ice cold or shaken in a Hurricane glass, things like that.” That’s what we want to do,” Duffany said. “We want to make sure that even the locals, when they live in Pensacola, Tampa, Miami, feel like it’s a little getaway for the day and it makes you feel like you’re in the Caribbean .”

The hangout will also appeal to those looking for a quick drink on the beach, with more than 40 drink options available at the brand’s “World-Famous Barefoot Tiki Bar.” While the restaurant specializes in tropical tiki-style cocktails, such as margaritas and mojitos, the bar will also offer an extensive selection of craft and local beers on tap, according to public relations representative Sarah Thaler.

Even with the abundance of booze, Duffany said the laid-back atmosphere will be family-friendly for people of all ages, especially those with young children.

He said beachside dining allows parents to enjoy a meal at the table while the kids can play on sight in the sand, unlike more traditional restaurants. There will also be a partial fence around the outdoor dining area.

“If you go to one of our Whiskey Joe’s, you see what’s going on. That’s the whole vibe,” Duffany said. “Young working parents who are stressed out with their kids can come in and almost feel like it’s a little vacation day, a little bit of the Caribbean in their life. Walk away from this stress.

Duffany said he plans to use the outdoor space as a year-round gathering point, even in the colder months, with the help of a few later installations.

Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill on the Pensacola Beach boardwalk is slated to open in February.

Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill on the Pensacola Beach boardwalk is slated to open in February.

“Even in the colder months our restaurant is so cool. The trick is at the tiki bar, we will try to keep it open all year round,” he said. “Starting next winter …we will have heaters in all the tiki bars on the ground floor and then the drop down isinglass We don’t need the isinglass to begin with because we will already be at the point where it will start to heat up, we will get it eventually.

Duffany said he plans to make the bar’s weekday happy hour competitive for the region, both in variety and price.

The restaurant is currently recruiting for several positions, including hosts, servers, bartenders, cooks, dishwashers, maintenance, and a certified sanitization coordinator.

Duffany said he has received more than 120 applications so far, but will continue to hire until the official opening.

Those wishing 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 location in Pensacola Beach in February