GULFPORT -- The Cabana Beach Restaurant Bar & Grill has opened in a familiar location on Courthouse Road.
The building with expansive patio and swimming pool was previously home to the Cabana Lounge but has new owners with extensive experience in the bar and entertainment business. It is tucked behind businesses on Courthouse, with a gate that opens onto a walkway shaded by Live oaks and palm trees.
Co-owners Jerry Seymour and Glen Bates are creating an entertainment venue with a tropical feel, where they will offer weekend concerts on what Seymour calls "the back 40," two acres or so of land where the Gulf Coast Tennis Club once hosted games and played. They'll feature all kinds of music: Reggae, blues and, of course, rock 'n' roll. "We want to appeal to everybody," Seymour said. "We want to appeal to all genres in the back field."
And they'll have bands out front on a stage that overlooks the pool.
"We're still adding and building," Bates said. "We want this place to be different. When you hear tropical, you think Miami or Florida. We want to bring tropical to South Mississippi."
They plan to add a deck by spring and a canvas canopy over the patio. An outdoor bar will be open in warmer weather, but for now the bar is inside.
Cabana offers happy hours and even a "power hour" from 10 to 11 p.m., seven days a week, when all drinks are $2 each.
Tony Rogers is managing the kitchen, serving up burgers and fries, seafood baskets and quesadillas. Crawfish boils are also in the plans. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. until on Fridays and Saturdays.
Seymour's been around the bar business almost longer than he cares to remember. "I served wine at the Last Supper," he said.
He owns Level in Biloxi's Vieux Marche, a totally different kind of venue, and previously was the proprietor of Neon Jungle, the Barracuda Beach Club and The Locker Room in Biloxi. He's also had bars in Hattiesburg.
Bates has been a disc jockey, and worked in promotions and entertainment.
Bates and Seymour have a long-term lease on the building, with an option to buy. Before they moved in, it sat vacant for about two years.
"We're just excited about the place," Seymour said. "It's kind of unique."