Last evening, Mr. and I spent a lovely date night at one of our favorite places, Guanabanas in Jupiter. I’ve mentioned Guanabanas before. It’s a little outdoor restaurant/bar along US1, between the road and the Loxahatchee River, all lush tropical plants, sail shades, and tiki huts. It was an absolutely beautiful evening; the sky was a crisp, clear blue, there was a light breeze, and the temperature was in the high seventies.
We had what we decided was the best table in the place, a high-top in the bar area across from the tiny stage and backing up to the waterfall. Settling in after a long work week, we nibbled on their smoked fish dip and shrimp fritters as he sipped his Arnold Palmer and I opted for their Cat 5 hurricane, which, like its namesake, will knock you on your ass.
It was such a pleasant way to end the week, but I couldn’t help but feel worried. Making our way to the place was quite a hassle. There is extensive roadwork being done in the area and we found ourselves dodging orange barrels and road workers as they were ending their day. It seems that someone finally realized there is a shit-load of money to be made by developing the waterfront area there in Jupiter. And to that end, they began making road improvement (read widening) efforts even before their plans to purchase a huge chunk of property and build a massive commercial abomination were ever approved.
The developers don’t seem worried. It’s the old Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. And while the fate of Guanabanas is uncertain at this point, there’s another Jupiter waterfront treasure which seems destined to become what was.
The Square Grouper* is a tiny outdoor tiki bar hidden away down a back street, a stone’s throw from Guanabanas and right on the Jupiter Inlet. It’s a place where locals hang out, maybe because it’s not easy to find. I love this bar. It’s completely outside, right on the water. The floor is sand, palm fronds from a small forest of trees shelter patrons from the sun, and there is a tiki stage that almost always features live music. You can sit listening to music, sipping on something rummy, and watch pelicans and stingsrays and paddleboarders… It’s paradise. For now, anyway.
I’ve seen the proposed plans for the urban monstrosity developers want to build there. It will be all concreted over and there will be shops, restaurants, and high-rise, high-rent condos. If there is something left of Square Grouper, I can guarantee locals won’t darken the door again. We made a point of taking my son there when he was home a few weeks ago, mostly because, as I told him, there’s no guarantee it will still be there next time he’s home.
Which brings me to tonight’s song. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted Five O’Clock Somewhere before; it’s a great song. But if you’ll notice the part where Alan Jackson is at a bar, it’s Square Grouper. The video is old; they’re spruced up the place a bit since then. But having once been a resident of Jupiter Island, Alan Jackson was known to just show up at the place and play a set every once in a while. It’s that kind of place. That’s what we’re losing. Which is sad.
But for now, pour me something tall and strong. It’s five o’clock somewhere. Happy Saturday night!
*Square grouper–a bale of marijuana found floating in the water or washed up on the beach, having been tossed overboard to avoid legal entanglements.