Pensacola is a really old place. Maybe I’m just a romantic, but it is defined by old homes and buildings that we all like to describe as having “character”. I really enjoy restaurants, shops, businesses, homes, and neighborhoods that exude “character”. You can feel it in your gut when you’re in an area that has a personality that is all its own.
There are many places in Pensacola that provide this feeling. My favorite area is S 12th Avenue. 12th Avenue is the heart of the coveted East Hill neighborhood. Coming from the north and turning onto S 12th Ave you can immediately feel the charm as you drive under the iconic beautiful overhanging canopy trees. As you continue down past the manicured lawns, you approach a building on your left that, at first, you think is a house but is actually the oldest bar in Pensacola, Wisteria Tavern. Wisteria has been serving locals for 80+ years and you can find their awesome story on their website, wisteriatavern.com.
Continuing past Wisteria, you’ll find so many important local businesses and organizations such as Gulf Coast Kid's House East Hill Hardware, Seville Power Equipment, Poppycock’s Furniture, Dee McDavid’s Interiors, East Hill Automotive, and many others. Some of the best sandwiches and BBQ Pensacola has to offer can be found at local favorite City Grocery located on the corner of 12 and Jordan. This is my personal favorite spot for ribs. Portobello Market opened in the same strip in August to add more wonderful lunch variety.
As you approach Cervantes, the homes become older and more distinct. You can see Artist and Craftsmen style cottages that give 12th Ave its distinction. 101 year old Old Sacred Heart Hospital, which has been repurposed from an institute of health to one of enterprise, is a 12th Ave landmark. O’zone’s Pizza, located in what was once the old hospital’s morgue, is another Pensacola staple. You can dine on it's front lawn at The Vinyard. The old hospital also houses other local businesses ranging from professional service firms to a martial arts studios.
East Hill’s 12th Ave is distinct for its aesthetic qualities and as well as for being a hub of local commerce. Whether it’s Pensacola Beach, Downtown, West Pensacola, or just a favorite Park what is a place in Pensacola that you think has character?
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