It may sound cliché, but walking into the Salty Duck in Downtown Fort Walton Beach is like walking into an old-school watering hole where everyone knows your name. The staff and patrons are like your extended family — everyone is talking to one another and there’s plenty of laughter and old fashioned fun.
With 40 taps on the wall, and roughly 27 that change on a weekly basis, including a rotating nitro tap, there’s no doubt that you’ll find a reason to keep coming back. If draft beer is not your thing, the Salty Duck carries a selection of cans and bottled beers, as well as wine, champagne, and sake.
“We try to have something for everyone’s palate,” says Salty Duck’s Evie Powell, a second level Cicerone. “That’s what I love about it. We like to order everything from wheat’s and Belgian styles to IPAs, whether West Coast and Chinook or the more buttery hops.”
A lot of what’s on tap at The Salty Duck is based on what customers are drinking, as well as the season. Powell, and owner Danny Dyer, will tell you that they carry a lot of IPAs because they have a “hop heavy clientele,” but Dyer says they have also seen an increase in the amount of sour beers they are selling.
Much like you'd expect, lighter and more refreshing beers are popular during the hot Florida summer, while pumpkin beers, brown ales and Oktoberfest styles dominate the fall. As the temperatures cool down during the holiday season, stouts and porters tend to be the beers of choice.
A look down the tap wall reveals a nod to local and regional breweries. You’ll see handles from Idyll Hounds Brewing Company, Destin Brewery, Gulf Coast Brewery, 3rd Planet Brewing, Nivol Brewing Company, as well Covington Brewhouse, Good People Brewing Company, Red Hare Brewing, and Oyster City.
And what goes better with a cold beer than a few bar games? Challenge your skills with everything from giant Jenga and Connect Four to cornhole, darts, shuffleboard, Golden Tee golf and a 1908s-style arcade game full of classic nostalgia. And don’t forget the beer pong tables.
If sports are more your style, The Salty Duck has seven TVs dotted throughout the bar, so you can watch your favorite team on game day or catch the latest UFC fight. Powell, who is a huge hockey fan, says they’ll also offer up the NHL Center Ice package this season.
Happy Hour at Salty Duck runs from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Saturday, where you’ll get $1 off beers and wine and 50 cents off bottles. Wednesday night is Ladies Night at Salty Duck starting at 6 p.m. Specials include $1 off beers and half-price wine.
As the “original American craft beer bar” in Fort Walton Beach, The Salty Duck prides itself on bringing a wide variety of unique styles and flavors to the local area. So how do they fit into the craft beer scene locally?
“I don’t really feel like it’s a competition here (with other local bars),” Powell says. “I think we all work together and try and support craft beer in general. There’s a different feel at each bar, so it’s just getting more people to drink craft beer and growing our local beer scene.”
To learn more about The Salty Duck, or to check out their current tap list, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. The Salty Duck is located at 209 Ferry Road Southeast in Fort Walton Beach.