Some may think “nightlife” and “Fairhope” do not belong in the same sentence. It’s a common myth that the sidewalks in this small town roll up at 5 p.m.
This could have been true in the past, but over the last two years downtown Fairhope has become an evening hot spot. To prove it, I picked a Saturday night, rounded up my girlfriends, and set out to debunk the rumor that there’s nothing to do after sunset.
If you’re in the mood for a predinner drink, stop by Red or White, left, for a wine tasting. Every Saturday from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., the shop offers samplings from various locations. Red or White’s mix of bistro tables and overstuffed sofas creates a carefree, living room feel.
On the weekends, the kitchen serves up appetizers, including bruschetta and meat and cheese boards – perfect
accompaniments to an early-evening glass of wine. If you’re looking for something more filling, try one of the handmade pizzas.
The shop serves wine by the glass. They’ll pour any bottle purchased from their store for a $5 corkage fee.
Red or White
10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. T – Sa.
323 De La Mare Ave., Suite A.
We are in the mood for excellent sushi — the kind only Master Joe’s can offer. This gold mine, above, opened on the Eastern Shore in March 2009, and has catered to a packed house virtually every night since.
Once we arrive, the primo drinks flow, and the service is right on point. Master Joe’s atmosphere is contemporary and fun – perfect for a weekend night out. I personally recommend the Lost in Translation roll – spicy tuna, avocado, asparagus and cucumber topped with crawfish and cream cheese. The food is spot-on, as always, and we even get a visit from Master Joe himself.
11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. M – Th, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. F – Sa.
21 N. Section St.
Time for a Jig
We arrive at McSharry’s around 10 p.m. At first impression, you may think this bar is your typical Irish pub, but don’t let the name and shamrocks fool you. McSharry’s has become Fairhope’s hottest dance club. That’s right – later in the evening, McSharry’s morphs into a refined, smoke-free dance club. With a DJ spinning the latest Top 40 hits until 2 a.m., you’ll find the area’s hip crowd here on Friday and Saturday nights. On any given weekend, you’ll notice one or two bachelorette parties here as well.
If you’re more into relaxing over a pint, you can do that on the bar’s huge outdoor patio. McSharry’s has a two-sided bar that serves both the inside and outside, so you’re set either way. And, if you’re in need of some late-night victuals, McSharry’s offers great bar food. (For more on McSharry’s, see “Beer Hopping, ”.)
McSharry’s Irish Pub
3 p.m. – Midnight Su – W, 3 p.m. – 2 a.m. Th – Sa.
101 N. Bancroft St.
The After Party
After requesting dozens of songs and burning off hundreds of calories dancing at McSharry’s, we stroll over to My Place Downtown around 1 a.m. By the end of the night, the downtown Fairhope crowd seems to migrate here. Touting the slogan “My place is better than your place, ” this area favorite, above, is known for its relaxed and fun atmosphere, drink specials and live music.
We hang around for a while, and when the clock strikes 2 a.m. we finally make our way home. (For more on My Place, see “Beer Hopping, ”.)
My Place Downtown
4 p.m. – 2 a.m. M – Sa.
68 N. Bancroft St.
Other Area Favorites:
Fairhope’s nightlife has plenty more to offer than I can to fit into one Saturday night. Here are more hot spots to try:
4 p.m. – 2 a.m. T – F, 1 p.m. – 2 a.m. Sa.
10 1/2 Section St.
The second-story vantage of The Attic offers a unique perspective on downtown. Nosh on delicious tapas and sip a signature martini from the comfort of the outdoor patio.
5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. T – Th, 5:30 p.m. – 11 p.m. F – Sa.
61 Section St.
In December 2010, Chef Ryan Glass relocated Camellia Café to a newly renovated space in downtown Fairhope. The New York-style atmosphere is clean and sleek, and the regional cuisine is just as good as ever. I recommend sampling their incredible wine selection.
11 a.m. – 9 p.m. T – Th, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. F – Sa.
319 Fairhope Ave.
In a laid-back setting, Dragonfly Foodbar offers unique culinary creations. If you’re looking for a diverse and creative menu served with delicious drinks, try this place. (See this month’s Tastings.)
11 a.m. – 12 a.m. M – W, 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. Th – Sa.
311 Fairhope Ave.
The Pub is a Fairhope staple. With its super-casual ambience and great live bands, it’s a shoo-in for a good time.