Day Trips: Shorty’s Place, Port Aransas

Historic Port A venue is changing places

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

Shorty's Place in Port Aransas has survived multiple hurricanes and storms since it opened in 1946. Despite the resilience of Port A's "oldest and friendliest" bar, the changes to Old Town around the harbor at the north end of Alister Street are causing it to relocate.

Shorty's will close on Tuesday, Nov. 1*, and reopen early next year. Sometime in late November or early December, the white clapboard building will be moved to the corner of Alister and Beach streets. Current and former patrons plan to follow the iconic bar to its new location in a Port A-style "second line" parade.

Shorty's exudes the exuberance and gloom of a neighborhood dive bar. A collection of gimme caps covers the ceiling like fish scales. Memorabilia cover every surface of the walls. In the back room are two pool tables, and the locals hang out on the porch where live music happens four nights a week. Most important, the beer is ice-cold.

Shorty's was one of the first businesses on the island to open after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Unfortunately, Harvey also brought in its wake rising property values and rents.

The business was opened by Mack Daniel and Gladys "Shorty" Fowler, and operated by their family until 2012. Edwin Meyer now owns the business and the building but leases the land. According to sources, he plans to enlarge the business, give the old building a good cleaning, and air-condition the bathrooms – but leave the bar open to the sea breeze.

"Everybody will be hanging out in the bathrooms," joked Elise, the bartender.

To join the historic parade following Shorty's Place to its new location, follow the bar at

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story stated the venue would close Oct. 29. We have learned the actual last day is Nov. 1, and they'll have live music all weekend and a closing party Nov. 1. Get more details here. We apologize for the error.

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Shorty's Place, Port Aransas, Mack Daniel, Gladys Fowler, Edwin Meyer

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