The Palace Saloon Snapshots


The Palace Saloon is absolutely unquestionably positively the oldest bar in Florida.

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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About The Palace Saloon

Florida's Oldest Bar • Since 1903

Welcome to The Palace Saloon

Between 1880-1910 Fernandina's docks were among the busiest in the south. Basking in her heyday, she welcomed ships from the far corners of the globe. Of the many saloons that lined the lively streets of the harbour district - and there were over 20 at the time - only one bore the distinction of being the "Shipcaptain's Bar." and that was the Palace.

  Uncle Charlie's

Originally constructed as a haberdashery in 1878, Louis G. Hirth bought the Prescott building in 1903 and replaced shoes with booze and named it the Palace Saloon. Hirth called upon his old friend Adolphus Bush, founder of Anheuser-Busch to assist him with the design of the elegant Bar, and Busch reportedly traveled from St. Louise to oversee the installation of the now famous fixture. The saloon still has the elegant features that made it famous for over a century: inlaid mosaic floors, embossed tin ceilings, hand-carved mahogany caryatids (undraped female fixtures). a 40-foot bar lit with gas lamps, and walls painted with six commissioned murals.


A true "gentleman's establishment," the bar even included complimentary towels hanging from the bar to wipe the foam from patron's mustaches and 14-pound solid brass cuspidors (spittoons) for those who enjoyed a good chew with their drink. To keep tabs on the visitors (including the Rockefellers and Carnegies from Cumberland Island), the first owner, Hirth employed the brass cash register - locals he simply billed monthly.


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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The Palace Saloon

  • Address: 117 Centre Street, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • Phone: (844) 441-2444
  • Email:

Business Hours

  • Everyday - 12 pm to 2 am