For what's hip and happening when the sun goes down, pick up the daily Pensacola News-Journal (www.pensacolanewsjournal.com), especially its Friday entertainment section. Another good source for nightly events is the Pensacola Downtown Crowd (www.downtownpensacola.com), a free publication available at the visitor center.
The Performing Arts
Pensacola has a sophisticated array of entertainment choices for such a small city. Pick up Sneak Preview, a calendar of events at the Pensacola Civic Center and the Saenger Theatre. Both publications are available at the visitor center. Tickets for all major performances can be purchased from Ticketmaster (tel. 800/488-5252 or 850/433-6311; www.ticketmaster.com).
The highlight venue here is the Saenger Theatre, 118 S. Palafox St., near Romana Street (tel. 850/444-7686; www.pensacolasaenger.com), a restored masterpiece of Spanish baroque architecture. Presentations feature the local opera company and symphony orchestra, Broadway musicals, and touring performers. The 10,000-seat Pensacola Civic Center, 201 E. Gregory St., at Alcaniz Street (tel. 850/432-0800; www.pensacolaciviccenter.com), hosts a variety of concerts, exhibitions, sports events, and conventions.
The Club & Bar Scene
Pensacola's downtown nighttime entertainment center is Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St., at Jefferson Street (tel. 850/434-6211; www.rosies.com), in the Seville Historic District. This restored antique-brick complex with New Orleans-style wrought-iron balconies is a collection of pubs and restaurants whose names capture the ambience: Rosie O'Grady's Goodtime Emporium, Palace Cafe, Lili Marlene's Aviator's Pub, Apple Annie's Courtyard, End o' the Alley Bar, Phineas Phogg's Balloon Works (a dance hall, not a balloon shop), and Fast Eddie's Billiard Parlor (which has electronic games too). The pubs serve up libations, food, and live entertainment from Dixieland jazz to country and western. Get a calendar at the information booth next to Rosie O'Grady's. Seville Quarter is open daily from 11am to 2am.
Every night is party time at McGuire's Irish Pub, the city's popular Irish pub, brewery, and eatery. Irish bands appear nightly during summer, and on Saturday and Sunday the rest of the year.
Beach nightlife centers on Quietwater Boardwalk, Via de Luna at Fort Pickens Road (no phone), a complex on Santa Rosa Sound. With the lively beach-and-reggae bar at Flounder's Chowder & Ale House just a few steps away, it's easy to barhop until you find a band to your liking. Across Via de Luna, at Casino Beach, is The Dock (tel. 850/934-3314), which has live bands nightly in summer, and on weekends off season. Finally, Sidelines Sports Bar & Restaurant (tel. 850/934-3660; www.sidelinessportsbarandrestaurant.com) has a great game lineup.
The Last Great Road House -- Sitting on the Florida-Alabama state line on Perdido Key, about 15 miles west of downtown Pensacola, the Flora-Bama Lounge, 17401 Perdido Key Dr. (tel. 850/492-0611; www.florabama.com), is almost a shrine to country music. Billing itself as the "Last Great American Road House," this Gulf-side pub is famous for its Saturday and Sunday jam sessions from noon to way past midnight. Flora-Bama is the prime sponsor and a key venue for the Frank Brown International Songwriters' Festival, the first week of November. But the wackiest shindig here has to be the Interstate Mullet Toss and Beach Party (the last weekend in Apr), which defies more in-depth description. The raw oyster bar is popular all the time. Granted, the joint can get a bit rough, but you won't soon forget the great Gulf views while sipping a cold one at the Deck Bar. The Flora-Bama is open daily from 11am to 2:30am.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.