SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Growler Garage mixes arts and crafts; beautifully hand-painted tanks and tunes [guitars] on the walls and craft beers above the bar.
“It [the bar] would be something different for 30A,” said Mitch Omar, who owns Growler Garage along with his wife Denise.
The Omars moved to Santa Rosa Beach from Bartlett, Tennessee near Memphis.
“We were already in love with the area way before we ever bought anything down here,” said Mitch.
They owned a condo above the bar. When the retail space came open in 2014, they knew they had to have it. They opened the bar in March of 2015.
”After thinking about it for about three seconds, my wife said yes, we’re going to take that retail spot. We’ll figure out a business later,” said Mitch.
Mitch credits his son-in-law for planting a seed in his head, one made of barley or hops perhaps.
”He comes to me, he says, ‘Hey, let’s go make a beer run.’ Well, I’m thinking we’re going to the grocery store, or Publix or whatever to get beer. But in each hand, he’s carrying a brown jug. So my first thought was where are we going to go get moonshine or something, you know, what’s up with the brown jugs? ‘Oh no, these are growlers.’”
And thus the genesis of Growler Garage. Eventually, they would serve pints.
”As my wife will tell you, I generally, I only know one speed and it’s 100 miles an hour,” said Mitch. “So I came back to her and I said, ‘Look, I think we can do maybe 40 or 50 taps.’ You know she’s going, ‘Wait a minute. Well, why can’t we just do 10?’ and I’m, ‘No no no, we’re gonna do this let’s just go, you know, full in.’”
And full in they went. Forty craft beers on tap, along with four wines. Oh, and one more.
”The 45th tap is good old root beer,” said Mitch.
While many come for what comes out of these taps, others come to see Growler Garage’s adornments like the many hand-painted guitars and Harley gas tanks on the walls. One guitar is signed by Gregg Allman and another by B.B. King.
”But yet I could still walk into our own bar and know, wow, this is like our showroom in Memphis, but we sell great beer!” said Mitch.
The showroom Mitch is referring to is his custom paint shop back in Tennessee where he mainly custom paints motorcycles. But in addition to the guitars and Harley gas tanks customers see on the walls, he’s also painted the surfboards that hang in the bar as well as a couple of the motorcycles on the floor. One bike he didn’t paint is a vintage World War II Harley with all its original parts.
”It runs like a dream,” said Mitch.
And it’s here at the Growler Garage where his love of Harleys and hops converge.
”Bikes and beer go together! So it was a great marriage of the two,” said Mitch.
A marriage he tapped into hoping his keg of enthusiasm never runs dry.
”This is now our home and this is where we know we’re meant to be.” said Mitch. “It’s been an incredible ride for both of us.”
Copyright 2021 WJHG. All rights reserved.