If you want to drink a beer at a classic old Port Aransas bar before it moves to a new location in town, you’d better go soon.
Sticking to plans he announced several months ago, owner Edwin Myers said he expects Nov. 1 to be the last day that Shorty’s Place will do business at its longtime location at 823 Tarpon St.
Its new location will be in what now is a vacant lot at the northeast corner of Alister and Beach streets. Myers said he hasn’t decided exactly what day the move will happen, but he hopes to do it before the end of the year.
Myers already has moved one building to the lot. The structure, which formerly housed The Connoisseur shop, was carried there on a tractor trailer from its original location in the 500 block of North Alister Street in August.
Myers plans also to move a third building to that lot at Alister and Beach streets. That building currently is home of the Board House surf shop. The shop’s owners are planning to move into a space in a new structure that is being built behind the shop’s current location.
Myers has said he plans to continue operating Shorty’s Place as the same rustic watering hole that has won it many devoted customers over the years.
He said he expects to run businesses in the old Connoisseur and Board House buildings, but he hasn’t settled on exactly what kinds of businesses they will be.
Myers has asked the City of Port Aransas to grant him a variance that will allow him to place the Board House building closer to the property line than city codes normally allow. That request was scheduled to before the city’s Board of Adjustments and Appeals on Tuesday, Oct. 25. The board’s decision on the matter couldn’t be determined before deadline for this edition of the South Jetty.
Regardless of how the board rules on the variance request, the lot at Alister and Beach streets will have enough parking spaces to satisfy city requirements, according to Myers.
Mack Daniel and Gladys “Shorty” Fowler opened Shorty’s at its current location in 1946. It was operated by generations of their family until 2012, when Myers purchased the business. Nov. 1 – the last day that Shorty’s will operate at its old location – will be the 10th anniversary of Myers’ ownership.
The business neighborhood surrounding the current location of Shorty’s has undergone extensive redevelopment over the past few years. Up until Myers announced that he’d move the building, rumors ran rampant that Shorty’s might fall victim to the wrecking ball.
While Myers owns the Shorty’s business entity and the building, he doesn’t own the land. He has a three-year lease on the land, and that lease expires in November.
“Basically, at the end of the day, I need to put Shorty’s in a position to where I can control its future,” Myers said at the time he announced plans to move the bar.
Shorty’s has the look of a place that’s been beaten down by time but stubbornly refuses to perish. Despite being housed in a simple, wood-frame building, the bar has survived repeated hurricane strikes over the course of nearly 80 years.
The bar is known for its live music, its defiantly rough-around-the-edges feel and the hundreds of ball caps that, one by one, have been stapled to the ceiling of the establishment over the years.
With its original hardwood floor and absence of a working air conditioning system (the interior is cooled by island breezes passing through open windows), one might feel as if they’ve stepped back into a bygone era when they walk into Shorty’s.
By moving Shorty’s, Myers said, he’s preserving a valuable piece of Port Aransas history while other historic buildings in town have been demolished in favor of new construction over the past several years.
Many people have visited Shorty’s over the past few months especially because they wanted to experience the bar at its grand old waterfront neighborhood location one more time before the move, according to Myers.
Customers have told him that “they’re happy that somebody isn’t tearing something down,” he said. “You know, somebody is saving something, for once. They’re glad it’s not going away.”
Myers said he doesn’t have any special events scheduled as a salute to Shorty’s during its final nights at its longtime location.
But he indicated that he wouldn’t be surprised if the bar is pretty busy on those nights – partly because some popular bands will be playing, and partly because there still are a lot of people left out there who might want to have one last drink at Shorty’s while it’s still at its original spot.
Could be quite a crowd.
“We will gear up for it,” Myers said. “I’ve got staff ready to go. … We’re prepared for whatever’s coming.”