Shorty’s Place, one of the oldest businesses in Port Aransas and a beloved symbol of Old Town, is going to move.
Owner Edwin Myers announced on Saturday, April 9, that he intends to move not only the business entity but also the building that has housed Shorty’s since the 1940s.
He said he will move the building from its longtime location at 823 Tarpon St. to a piece of property at the northeast corner of Alister and Beach streets.
The new location will be where Castaways Seafood & Grill once stood, before its building was demolished following Hurricane Harvey’s strike in 2017. Castaway’s now stands at 337 N. Alister St., a short distance from its earlier location.
Myers’ announcement likely comes as a relief to many who love Shorty’s.
The business neighborhood surrounding the old watering hole has undergone extensive redevelopment over the past few years, and rumors have run rampant that Shorty’s might fall victim to the wrecking ball.
“Basically, at the end of the day, I need to put Shorty’s in a position to where I can control its future, and in doing so, we’re going to be moving Shorty’s from Tarpon Street to Beach Street,” Myers told a crowd of patrons gathered on the bar’s deck Saturday.
While Myers owns the Shorty’s business entity and the building, it stands on a lot owned by the Maude Ellis Family Trust, he said. He has a three-year lease on the land, and that lease expires in November.
He said his current landlords have been good to Shorty’s and haven’t told him that the property is about to be redeveloped.
The old Castaways property, Myers said, is owned by A.J. Zimmerhanzel, who lives in the Austin area and has a home also in Port Aransas.
Myers said he has worked out a lease agreement with Zimmerhanzel, who attended Myers’ announcement tonight.
While Myers will be moving from one leasing situation to another, he said he feels that the future of Shorty’s will be more secure when gets into its new spot, he said.
“I don’t want to get into the details of that, but there are instruments that would allow Shorty’s to become whole,” he said. He declined to elaborate much beyond saying that his new lease “will give Shorty’s a considerably longer time.”
The bar, he said, “would be there for the foreseeable future.”
Myers said he is targeting Nov. 1 as Shorty’s final day in business at its current location. He hopes to have it moved by the end of the year and then have the business up and running again at some point in early 2023.
Myers said he considers Shorty’s to be an important part of Port Aransas history, and he feels a strong responsibility to preserve it.
“This is a special place to me and a special place to a lot of people,” he said. “It represents a piece of old Port Aransas.”
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.
Despite being housed in a simple, wood-frame building, the bar survived repeated hurricane strikes over the years.
Shorty’s is known for its live music, its defiantly rough-around-the-edges look and the hundreds of ball caps that, one by one, have been stapled to the ceiling of the establishment over the years.