Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Move Over Cheers! There’s A Fun Bar In Town With Eclectic Regulars And Homey Ambience

Beginning about eight years ago every Wednesday evening I would meet four friends at the North 2nd Street Crab Trap’s cozy downstairs bar for “Wing Night” beginning about 5 pm and lasting until 7 or later.

Affable Crab Trap owner Richard “Choo Choo” Germano offered some of the biggest, tastiest and most reasonably priced wings on the island at 50 cents each and an unbeatable happy hour beer special. In addition to me, our group included David “Pajamadave” Voorhees, his mom, Carol, Dave’s fiancé, Zan Maddox, and the downtown Hampton Inn’s General Manager Bob Ramshaw.

During our happy hour sessions, we discussed a variety of topics ranging from sports and politics to movies and local events.

We learned a lot about each other while quaffing beer and munching wings. For example, we discovered Dave’s proclivity for wearing pajamas all day, every day, stemmed from his days as a craftsman restoring historic Fernandina Beach homes. He discovered the loose-fitting nightwear to be comfortable and cool while moving around a hot and humid work site. While toiling on a home in the Silk Stocking district across from the St. Michael’s School playground, kids there took to calling him “Pajama Man.” The amicable Dave answered back responding with: “My name is “Dave – Pajamadave!” And the moniker stuck.

He also wore pajamas while captaining Sean McCarthy’s Amelia River Cruises boats and still does. To this day tourists frequently request the boat with “the guy who wears pajamas.”

Zan, who was practicing law at the time, took it a step further and recognized the couple could capitalize on Dave’s quirky habit, and shared their plans for a South 2nd Street “Pajama Life” shop with our happy hour quintet.

We unanimously agreed that was a solid idea that would probably succeed, and it did, opening in at 12 South 2nd Street.  It became a family affair with Dave’s mom, Carol, a calming, no-nonsense and efficient fixture behind the shop’s counter, Zan handling marketing, ordering and overseeing designing of the pajama inventory, and Dave an entertaining 24-7 walking, talking sandwich board ad for the store.

During one of our Wednesday Crab Trap sessions Zan and Dave bounced another idea off us asking what we thought of converting the patio area outside of the shop into a beer and wine garden. They explained that the tiny hair salon at the back of the patio would be gutted to hold beer coolers and the wine inventory. We enthusiastically seconded that concept with gusto and a few more beers. (There should be a beer named “Gusto”). We all offered suggestions, advice, criticism, and drank more beer, while trying desperately to be heard over Bob Ramshaw’s booming “Take These 10 Commandments” voice. Interruptions were frequent, debate heated and insults abundant. The only one of the five that was never rude, interrupted or contradictory was Carol, who was like E.F. Hutton — when she spoke “everybody listened.”

I chimed in that once they opened a pub, apparel would soon become secondary, and eventually end up on a rack in the corner, much like the one holding Crab Trap t-shirts that sits next to that pub’s hostess desk today. Mr. Ramshaw bellowed his concurrence.

“Not so” they protested. (Stay tuned folks).

Following a series of exceptionally clever promotional videos and the online sale of chair plaques with donor’s names on them, designed to raise funds for the city’s extortionist impact fees, PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden opened two years ago to an enthusiastically thirsty crowd of locals.

It is routinely packed to the rafters daily with a mix of regulars and tourists. Those arriving early enough perch on their preferred name-plaque stools, while others remain standing, or wander from table to table chatting with friends or acquaintances. Large-screen TVs in strategic locations silently flicker with baseball, football and an occasional lacrosse game for regular Mark Cochran, the only guy on the planet who watches that sport.

However, the problem with an outdoor pub is inclement weather. That combined with the fact that revenues from beer and wine sales were far surpassing those from pajamas spelled the end for the Pajama Life shop and the birth an indoor bar with an eclectic group of characters that don’t have to be scripted to make the TV Cheers regulars envious.

This week Pajamadave and Zan — who ditched practicing law a few years ago to devote her full attention to the pub and store — unveiled the latest addition to PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden, the new indoor facility that by my estimate seats 20 plus folks comfortably. Expert craftsman Pajamadave did most of the work himself, building an attractive L-shaped copper-top bar complimented with cushioned bar stools designed for comfort and that perfectly match the decor. Three cozy high tops sit in a nook near the front while special lighting and unique colored windows add to the inviting ambience.

Dave added shelves behind the bar to display the more than 140 different beers for sale, and a unique sliding door with built-in shelves showcase the regular’s distinctively designed personal beer mugs. Specially designed German ceramic beer taps with unusual pressure gauges garnish the center of the bar. The shelves Dave added in the rear of the pub contain the drastically reduced inventory of Pajama Life shirts and pants that are still for sale. (I told you so.)

Sadly, the only person of our original Crab Trap happy hour crowd not with us to witness the new pub’s unveiling is Dave’s mom, Carol Voorhees, who passed away unexpectedly two years ago this coming September. Her memory lives on and somewhere she’s smiling down on this happy crowd and beaming with pride over her youngest son’s success.

The Crap Trap’s 50 cent wings are long gone due to the skyrocketing price of flappers, but the “Wing Wednesday” tradition continues at PJD’s as wings are brought in weekly from various island eateries where they are plopped on a communal table in the back of the outdoor bar. They are complimented by a healthy offering of fried chicken livers and chicken gizzards from South 14th Street’s Island BBQ. Don’t sneer until you try one!  The wings come from Publix, the best we can find on the island, until Grill Man Greg fully recuperates and starts cranking them out again at his open patio location between the Florida House and the Green Turtle.


Something President Trump Isn’t Very Good At: Following Robert Mueller’s phony-baloney, two-year $30 million taxpayer-funded witch hunt that cleared President Trump of being a Russian operative, the frustrated, name-calling, irate haters on the left have now decided that he’s a racist, figuring that might get their hit job done. They must be disappointed in that claim too because as a racist President, he’s not very good at it. More minorities are working now than ever before in the history of the US and their salaries are increasing. It’s also been pointed out that deteriorating black neighborhoods in major cities are run by Democrats, and that Baltimore’s black officials can’t account for any of the $16 billion HUD gave to Baltimore. And that city is leading the US in homicides, poverty, etc.


The Florida Train Wreck Party: Last week attentive readers alerted me to the fact that Carla Voisard, the confused News-Leader letter-writer who said she sold her house in Yulee and fled to France following President Trump’s November 2016 victory, is a Florida Democrat Party official.

Ms. Voisard, whose letter indicated she had no idea where she was headed other than out of the country when her plane landed in France, didn’t just abandon the US, she apparently deserted her local party duties too.

The Nassau County Democratic Party web site lists Ms. Voisard as “State Committeewoman” saying: “Carla has worked with the Democratic Party since moving to Nassau County 11 years ago. In that time, she served one term as President of the Amelia Island Democratic Club and has been a member of the Democratic Executive Committee for 10 years. During her time on the DEC, she has served as Chair and is currently the State Committeewoman.”

In her angry, confused and rambling missive to the News-Leader this distraught State Democratic Party Committeewoman indicated she’s now back in Nassau County after three months in France, never explaining why she returned. However, based on recent news reports the state Democrats are in such bad shape and so desperate for assistance maybe they figured even this befuddled gal couldn’t harm them anymore than what’s currently taking place in their chaotic statewide ranks.

For example, news reports earlier this week revealed that former Florida Democratic Party Chairman and current suspended Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox, admitted guilt to three fraud charges in a “pay-to-play” bribery probe.

Maddox, who will be sentenced soon, was nabbed in a multi-year investigation into that city’s government that factored into last year’s gubernatorial race between former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, the eventual winner. Gillum, another Democrat, has not yet been charged with any crimes in the federal probe, but earlier this year agreed to pay $5,000 to settle a state ethics commission investigation.

Psychotic in the causes they embrace and intent on destroying the country’s bastions of culture and Western values, Democrats are the folks your mother warned you about when she said: “Don’t associate with those people.”


Speaking of Nasty People: While families in the communities of Toledo and El Paso were grieving over the slaughter of 30 people by two depraved monsters, the Democrat candidates for president demonstrated just how disgusting and vile they are by capitalizing on the murders to raise money for their campaigns and blame President Trump for the killings. These people are not just shameless, they’re immoral.

Following are some of the most despicable and disgusting examples:

Elizabeth Warren: “We need to call out the president himself for advancing racism and white supremacy.”

Beto O’Rourke: “The president, who helped create the hatred that made Saturday’s tragedy possible, should not come to El Paso. We do not need more division. We need to heal. He has no place here.”

Bernie Sanders: “We must come together as a nation to reject the dangerous and growing culture of bigotry and hatred espoused by Donald Trump and his allies.”

Kamala Harris: “Trump has emboldened white nationalism across our country. He needs to go.”

Pete Buttigieg: “Our president isn’t just failing to confront and disarm these domestic terrorists; he is amplifying their hate.”

Cory Booker: “Trump is giving license to this kind of violence. He is responsible.”

Joe Biden: “The president has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation.”

To compound their callousness the vile comments were followed by ghoulish pleas to contribute to their campaigns.

Oh, and it gets worse, with one of the most disgusting being US Democrat Congressman Joaquin (D-TX) Castro, campaign manager and brother of Democratic Presidential candidate Julian Castro, who posted the names of 43 private San Antonio citizens and their places of employment and businesses in San Antonio revealing their status as Trump donors. This twisted twit listed retirees, homemakers, small-business owners and others that he labeled racists, some who even contributed to his own campaign. When questioned as to why he did this, this contemptible nutjob said he didn’t want folks to retaliate against them but couldn’t supply an answer as to why he listed them on a public forum. And these loons say President Trump fuels hated? Good grief!


Santa Claus For President: I’m wagering that the first candidate who walks on stage at the next Democrat Party debate wearing a Santa Claus outfit and holding the reins of a pony will nail the nomination. Based on the preposterous blather I’ve heard and read the past few days these left-wingers are assuming that registered Democrats will race to the polls in the primaries like eager kids on Christmas morning raring to vote for the one offering the most taxpayer-funded goodies. So far these presidential hopefuls’ bags are stuffed with outrageous, unrealistic and unfulfillable gifts including $2,000 annually for every American over  age 18; “Medicare for All” including illegal aliens; living wage and minimum wage (translation: government control of the economy); climate change, the New Green Deal:  (translation:  elimination of carbon based fuels, higher taxation of fuels and vehicles, carbon footprint taxes, and government control of the economy); forgiveness of college loans; reparations for blacks, Native Americans, and LGBTQ; and free college.

Offering everyone a pony would be the clincher.


Drinking, Dining & Dancing: One of the best happy hours on the island has been unveiled at the new Captain Jack’s Smokehouse every Tuesday from 4-8 pm that offers $1 ribs and $1 Bud Light draught beers, meaning you can eat and drink for just two bucks if you’re not too hungry or too thirsty, and for just five or six bucks if you are. Captain Jack’s happy hour during the rest of the week is from 3-6:30 pm with $2 off cocktails and $2-3 beers. Call ‘em at 904/310-3611. I’ve heard that the area’s only sports bar, the long-shuttered Halftime on South 8th Street, is reopening as “Fulltime” and the new folks want to have it ready in time for football season, which is right around the corner, so they better hurry.


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