Palace Saloon, Fernandina Beach

3.4
#2 of 10 in Nightlife in Amelia Island
The Palace Saloon was the last American tavern to close during Prohibition, and it survived that dry era as an ice cream parlor. Once a favorite haunt of the Carnegies, the Rockefellers and other socialites, The Palace Saloon is still operating today. In fact, it's one of the frequent stops on the Amelia Island Museum of History’s weekly walking tours of Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach.

Still in the original location, this watering hole's colorful history began in the late 1800s. According to local historians, the owners of the Saloon were selling liquor until the very last minute before Prohibition took effect. People from neighboring states waited in long lines for their share.

The Palace has had to adapt to earn its title of "Florida's oldest" continuously operated drinking establishment. According to local lore, it was the last bar in Florida to close on the eve of Prohibition. A shrewd business man, Hirth stored up for a last hurrah selling till midnight and grossing $60,000 in a single day. Another first for the Palace, it was the first hard liquor bar to begin serving Coca-Cola, around 1905. The Palace survived the Prohibition years by selling Texaco gasoline, ice cream, special wines, 3 percent near-beer, and cigars. And for those strong enough to try it, legend says Hirth made available his signature Cumberland whiskey. A fire in 1999 nearly dealt the saloon a deathblow. However, through inspired and enthusiastic ownership, the saloon was restored and the Palace has regained its nostalgic charm and vitality.

The Palace continues to bring folks together. Old friends still gather here rubbing elbows with passing Shipcaptains and local well-to-do. And once news is swapped and formalities concluded, they get down to the more serious business of dustin' the sea spray off their jackets and enjoying the long-awaited shoreside beer. Go ahead, belly up to the bar, and as the bartender slides a mug of suds to you, the ghosts from ten decades past join in drinking to your health.
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Palace Saloon Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
258 reviews
Google
4.2
TripAdvisor
  • I was skeptical going in here after reading the recent poor reviews. What a great place spending time chatting with welcoming, friendly bartender, Rob. Rob and local historian, Curtis. Both were loade...  more »
  • It was fun! It was a charming place and the drinks were great. What more could I look for? The woodwork on the bar is amazing and the bartenders were friendly enough. Seriously, there isn't much more ...  more »
  • Read the history of the Saloon from the internet otherwise don't bother. Service was not good and the place wasn't even busy. Went up to the bar to order what I wanted and bartender forgot; served oth...  more »
Google
  • If you plan to come to Amelia Island you need to take a moment to step back into time and have a pirate punch at the palace! The only time that I've had a guest say no way was one that was allergic to cigarette smoke. Otherwise I feel it is well ventilated enough for non smokers to tolerate and enjoy the atmosphere. Great bartenders who make you feel welcome to their community and are happy to answer any questions that you may have about the area. Don't forget to snap a selfie of you and the pirate outside !
  • Great bar, seriously I had no idea the history of this amazing place. If your in Amelia, you need to go down Center street and stop in to Look at the memorabilia on display and read about the history. The drinks were delicious and the bar tender was very nice and informative. There is also a pool table in back.
  • Worth stopping in for a drink if you're in the area. Oldest bar in Florida. Friendly service and reasonable prices.
  • This is the oldest bar in Florida! The inside has really cool original woodwork. During the day the drinks are flowing and served by a cool staff. At night the bands play up front they have a DJ in the back at a second bar on weekends. Have a drink and shoot pool. Great place...must see.
  • Fun place and music- rock and roll that touches your soul. Very nice!
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