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Sing along at Da Beer Shack in Flour Bluff

Da Beer Shack owner Cheri Estes keeps it relaxed and fun at her island paradise karaoke bar. Photo by Nickie Snow Stillman

Da Beer Shack is your quintessential local neighborhood bar spiced with an island flavor. Tucked away just off the highway at 10506 South Padre Island Drive in Flour Bluff, the welcoming atmosphere caters to laid-back locals as well the little-bit-louder-now nightly karaoke crowd.

Owner Cheri Estes took over the bar about two years ago, quickly turning the ambiance to casual, friendly and fun. The tropical decor is a hat tip to her love of Hawaii, where she and husband, Jimmy, vacation.

She brought the island charm to Da Beer Shack when she bought the bar. The walls feature exotic island murals painted by local artist John Olvey, who is noted for his surf and ocean paintings.

Cheri and Jimmy were regular karaoke customers before becoming owners. Estes sang opera professionally for 40 years. She took up karaoke after she retired.

“We had done karaoke at several places around town,” Estes said. “But when we came here, I was impressed with the sound system and the music arrangements used here.”

After a few years as customers, the bar became available, and they decided to go for it.

“I didn’t know anything about running a bar,” Estes laughed.

She has successfully turned her part-time hangout into a full-time career that feels like home.

“We think of ourselves as family,” she told Corpus Christi Business News of her staff. “We may be closer than some families, and most of our customers are family, too.”

Longtime employee Beverly Mitchell agreed.

“When people come here, we treat them like they are coming to our home,” she said.

The former opera singer is also a retired school teacher with three master’s degrees under her belt: one each in special education, music and psychology. Mastering the bar business has been a whole new education, she said, from getting a liquor license to developing a bar menu and learning to meet a long list of required business regulations.

“I have learned a lot,” Estes said, “and every day I learn something new. But Beverly and Susan [Hadley, staff member] have helped me learn a lot about the customers in our area and the business. For the most part, we are a democracy. We all give our opinions to help make good decisions.”

When Estes took over Da Beer Shack, she acquired a liquor license to offer a full-service bar. She and her staff worked to develop a bar menu that would appeal to locals.

“We want our drinks to taste good but also be affordable,” Estes stressed. “We want people to be able spend the evening enjoying themselves and not have to spend a week’s salary on two drinks!”

Daily specials show up regularly on Da Beer Shack’s Facebook page for patrons who follow social media.

Da Beer Shack has a patio area in the back, a pool table, darts and all the traditional trappings that make for a fun bar atmosphere.

“We keep it relaxed and easy,” Estes said, ”but so do our customers. We don’t have a bouncer here because we don’t need one. We just attract people who want to have a fun time and relax.”

The cash-only bar is available to host birthday parties and special occasions. Hours are 7 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-2 a.m. Sunday.

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