The Bay Updates: New Bar and More Music

August 20, 2020 by Abby Eller

The Bay embodies life on the water in SoWal! 

Chef Jim Shirley's award-winning, yet casual waterfront restaurant and bar sits on a white sand beach on the Choctawhatchee Bay at the foot of the 331 bridge.  Here he invites the young and young at heart to eat, drink and dance, ensuring no one leaves without having a good time. 

Normally you can roll up to The Bay via car, bike, boat, or sea plane and grab a table or at least a cocktail to sip on while you wait on the shoreline for your party to take a seat. However, due to Covid19 precautionary measures, patrons are required to make reservations now for table service. Reservations can be made online for dining on the patio & outdoor tables by visiting Reservations open up the week in advance (every Saturday for the upcoming week.) The system does update if there are any cancellations, they ask guests to check the website. Pick up orders can be placed online too.

Being on a wait is nothing new for this well-liked establishment and the thought of turning away customers just didn’t sit well with the crew. Cue the new bar! Jim and his team recently pulled together to add some extra seating while keeping their promise to his staff and guests to provide a safe dining environment.

 “We constantly hear from our loyal regulars and first time guests alike that they are unable to make a reservation because reservations fill up so fast,” explains Blake Whorton, general manager of The Bay Restaurant. “That being said, we decided to build a satellite bar to offer something for those that were unable to make a reservation in time.”

The new u-shaped bar sits on the lower outside deck, tucked around the corner under the Live Oaks to offer shade and a beautiful view of the Choctawhatchee Bay. Separated into sections with plexiglass, the bar seats up to 14 customers. The bar is first-come-first-serve only and makes for a great area to enjoy The Bay experience, especially on Saturday and Sunday for live music being that it is so close to the stage.

“People come to The Bay for our consistently delicious food and good service,” says Executive Chef Mike Mix. “The view and live music are an added bonus making us a restaurant where families and friends can spend hours at. A combination we are really proud of.”  

Voted ‘Best Place for Live Music’ in the 2020 Perfect in South Walton Awards, music-lovers can now double down at The Bay on weekends. Mark & Krissa of The Pickled Pickers kick off the jams every Saturday from 5-8PM. They keep the energy high with a mix of southern rock, blues, R&B, country, blue grass, and feel good to the soul kinda tunes.

Sundays at The Bay are not to be missed. Enjoy one of South Walton’s best brunches on the water, then stick around for ‘The Sand Ole Opry’ from 4-8PM featuring Mike Whitty and a revolving cast of SoWal’s finest musicians occasionally paired with loyal out of town music-makers. 

Arrive by car, paddleboard or boat to satisfy your cravings, play cornhole, or relax by the fire with a cold beer at The Bay Restaurant at North Beach on the Choctawhatchee Bay. Currently open Monday thru Saturday from 4PM - 9:30PM and Sunday 11AM - 9:30PM. Follow The Bay on Facebook and Instagram for updates on specials and events. See the food + drink menus at Visit Chef Jim Shirley Enterprises to read about his group of South Walton restaurants, awards, cook books and more.


Abby Eller's picture

Abby hails from nearby Niceville and loves the beach as much as anyone that ever lived. Her background in event planning, branding, and marketing allows her to share her love of the beach with the world.

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