A well-known symbol of Budweiser, the Clydesdale horses, will grace historic Centre Street in Fernandina Beach on November 16, 2012 for an appearance sponsored by The Palace Saloon. According to the Palace, the Clydesdales will “walk down Centre Street at 3 pm and park in front of the Palace until 5 pm.”
Fernandina’s famous bar, The Palace, is said to be Florida’s oldest continuously-operating drinking establishment. The Saloon’s centerpiece, a 40-foot bar, was reportedly designed with the help of no other than Adolphus Busch himself (co-founder of Anheuser-Busch). “The great American lager,” Budweiser is now brewed by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
A landmark building at the corner of North 2nd Street and historic Centre Street, the Prescott Building (circa 1878) was purchased by Louis G. Hirth in 1903 and the Palace was born. Most visitors know The Palace Saloon as a watering hole to see for its historic significance as well as its Pirate’s Punch rum concoction, a signature drink.
A life-sized pirate statue greets bar patrons at the threshold of the saloon doors. Walk through to see the place visited by ship captains as well as captains of industry (Carnegies and Rockefellers). During the Prohibition years, the Palace operated as an ice cream parlor. It’s also said to be “the first hard liquor bar in Florida to begin serving Coca-Cola, around 1905,” according to the Saloon’s website.
Step up to the impressive bar and sit down at this wonderful relic from the turn of the century. The bar includes “hand carved mahogany caryatids (undraped female fixtures.”) Imagine the others who also were here and peered into the bar’s mirror. Look up at the embossed ceiling, down at mosaic tile floor, and take note of the painted wall murals. The Palace Saloon is a storied place, and featured on museum walking tours as well as ghost tours.
Haunts like the Palace Saloon have spirits to drink and other spirits, too, they say. One of the most notorious is “Uncle Charlie,” the ghost of a bartender who started serving pub patrons in 1906. Uncle Charlie, in life, had a presence at the pub for 54 years. He actually lived in a room at the Palace Saloon and passed away there in his room in 1960. But in after-life, he’s said to make appearances at this historic saloon on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach.
So head to downtown Fernandina for a real treat to see the Clydesdales on Centre Street in this historic city by the harborfront. Enjoy a cold Bud at Florida’s famous Palace Saloon and toast Uncle Charlie.