Drinking at Foley’s OWA is like drinking at Disney World. They’re both family-oriented atmospheres, so the booze isn’t necessarily front and center. But it sure is flowing. And, like Orange Beach’s The Wharf, OWA is considered a walkable “entertainment district,” so you can take everything to-go on the property’s 520 acres. Sip on a frozen daiquiri while your kids tackle Rollin’ Thunder, a beer while your pal wakeboards across the 14-acre lake, or a cup of pinot grigio while you take in a magic show at Brandon Styles Theater. If you’re heading to OWA this fall for one of its many themed events, these are the adult-friendly places you’ll want to add to your to-see list.
Spice & Tea Exchange of Foley
Start with a visit to the tea bar at the Spice & Tea Exchange. Here, you can choose between eight exotic varieties — herbal, rooibos, white, matcha, green, oolong, black and Pu-erh — served hot or cold. The herbal and rooibos teas are delicate tasting and caffeine-free; the Pu-erh and black teas have the boldest tastes and biggest caffeine punches. To amp up the flavor, you can stir in some of the shop’s signature sugars or gourmet spices. On the way out, pick up a bag of specialty tea like bourbon-chestnut, a mixture of woody rooibos, buttery caramel and roasted chestnuts, which would be perfect to brew at home and sip in front of a campfire. Maybe even topped off with a little Wild Turkey.
C’est La Vin
Embrace your maturity at C’est La Vin, a relaxed wine bar and shop for vino connoisseurs and wannabe vino connoisseurs. Bottles are elegantly displayed in a glass-walled wine cave, and themed tastings (reservations usually required) take place throughout the year. You can’t go wrong with a charcuterie board and a flight of the house wines — reds and whites on tap. The shop also carries a wide variety of specialty beers from around the world and a board game or two in case you get bored of conversation.
Murder Creek Distillery
Next, pop into Murder Creek Distillery for a moonshine tasting. The Alabama brand distills, mixes, bottles and labels all of its moonshine on site, and you can watch the backstage operation happen through a couple of big windows in the tasting room. At the bar, you can sample all 13 moonshine blends for only $1. Yes, 13 moonshines for $1. The thimble-sized pours aren’t much, but they’re enough for you to figure out which ones are the best (Dixie Dizzy Pickle, in my opinion) and which ones you should pass on next time around (no comment). Murder Creek also offers moonshine-spiked frozen daiquiris, specialty shots and cocktails like The Murdered Arnie (honey moonshine, unsweet tea and lemonade).
Rum Island Daiquiri Bar
The newest addition to Downtown OWA, this walk-up bar keeps the frozen drinks flowing. At Rum Island, a dozen daiquiri machines are always running behind the counter, spinning neon-hued, fruity concoctions reminiscent of New Orleans-style boozy slushies. Flavors are usually a surprise, so do like the pros do and order by color. You can never go wrong with red!
Lucy’s Retired Surfers’ Bar & Restaurant
Even if you don’t make it to the beach this trip, you can still put your toes in the sand at Lucy’s Retired Surfers’ Bar. Belly up the outside bar and kick off your shoes before ordering one of their signature cocktails, which come garnished with silly, Instagram-worthy props. The Flamingo Punch (coconut rum, grenadine, pineapple, orange and cranberry juices) is wrapped in a flamingo-shaped mini inflatable inner tube. The blood-red Shark Attack (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, sour mix) is served with a rubber shark, teeth first, plunked right into the glass.
End your visit where the locals tend to end their nights, at Groovy Goat. When I was the star player of the No. 1-ranked adult kickball team in Foley (OK, maybe that isn’t something to brag about), we’d often wrap up our matches here, over tall, frosty mugs of Michelob Ultra. But Groovy Goat does get popping, and nostalgic specialty shots like the PB&J Shooter (peanut butter whiskey and Razzmatazz) and drinks like the Spiked Dr. Pepper (soda topped with Crown Vanilla and ice cream) are worth the drive, even if you never make it inside OWA’s gates.
Alyson Sheppard is Lagniappe’s resident hangover specialist and a very cool mom. Find her on Twitter: @amshep.
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