UPDATE:The Wisteria Tavern owner Bryan “Terry” Abbott recently addressed the possible move on its Facebook page:
Dorothy from the wizard of Oz said it best.
“There’s no place like home”
For many years I have considered the Wisteria Tavern home.
It was my island oasis and reembrace of a childhood memory. My memory was that of my grandparents driving me as a child through the “tree tunnel” on 12th Ave. I loved it every time I made the trip.
As fate would have it, I ended up having my first beer at a bar under those same trees on 12th. It was Fall of 1984 when a friend named Rick Thomsen and I skipped school from Wm J. Woodham High and went to the Wisteria. Sorry mom. I was hooked ever since.
Fate directed me again in 2004 when I purchased the Wisteria Tavern as an act to save it from certain destruction. I have spent countless hours making the best of friends and learning the life stories of countless people over the last 14 years. It has been my pleasure doing so.
Unfortunately, the pleasures have been outweighed by the stress of an ever dwindling revenue stream.
As Pensacola grew, so did the competition. The Wisteria has operated under a grandfather clause that allowed it to remain open although located in the middle of a neighborhood. It is that same grandfather clause that has sealed its fate. We cannot compete anymore.
We are NOT currently closed and plan on staying open as long as it is feasible.
The plan is to relocate into a property with favorable zoning that would allow us to make the changes to the bar that would allow us to compete.
Until the time comes for the 12th Ave location to stop being the Wisteria PLEASE COME IN AND HAVE A BEER or glass of wine. Tell us your best Wisteria story and enjoy good company.
We are smoke free so if you haven’t been in a while it’s pretty nice.
Bryan “Terry” Abbott
Proud owner of THE Wisteria Tavern.
Pensacola’s oldest watering hole may soon be removed from its iconic location along the tree-lined corridor of 12th Avenue.
Bryan T. Abbott, owner of the Wisteria Tavern, has filed a variance request with the city of Pensacola to replace the bar with a development of four houses, according to documents obtained Friday.
The Wisteria has been a stalwart of East Hill for more than 80 years, opening as a tavern in 1935 after a brief history as a grocery and supply store, and is widely understood to be Pensacola’s oldest bar.
Since then, it has been grandfathered into the quiet residential neighborhood under a variance that strictly restricted its development. The bar is presently able to serve only beer and cannot expand, remodel or renovate, according to the variance request filed by Abbott.
Abbott’s request included a diagram of four housing units that would sit on the Wisteria’s existing property and would be integrated into the neighborhood’s famous “tree tunnel.”
The request states that the bar would be relocated “to a more suitable zoning district while providing a big improvement to 12th Avenue.”
A new location for the iconic bar was not included in the documents obtained Friday. A call to Abbott for comment was not immediately returned.