Hayley Wall moved from Alabama to Fort Walton Beach seven years ago and never looked back.
“I loved the beach,” she said with a laugh when asked why she stayed.
From the age of 16, Wall worked in local restaurants, starting as a hostess, then server, until she turned 21 and got to move into her current position as a bartender at The Shack (formerly The Original Waterfront Crab Shack.)
A personable young face behind the bar, Wall said her favorite aspect of the job is the people.
“People come to the bar to have entertainment and social interaction,” she said. “They don’t really want that at the table, but you have community at the bar.”
With drinks like the Shack Sunrise, a spin on the traditional tequila sunrise, and the Emerald Shore, a coconut rum and melon liqueur concoction, it’s clear The Shack capitalizes on what draws people to the area — the emerald waters.
When it comes to her signature sip, Wall chose another aptly named drink, the Okaloosa Island Tea.
“It has almost all the liquor of a regular Long Island Iced Tea, but it’s sweet; a happy beach drink,” Wall said. “It has vodka, rum, gin, Peach Schnapps, pineapple juice, orange juice and just a splash of grenadine so it looks pink. It’s not bitter, like a Long Island – you can handle this one!”
When it comes to her personal drink of choice, Wall said she’s a simple girl.
“I like Crown Apple,” she said. “I drink Crown Apple with Sprite and grenadine. It sounds really sweet but it really isn’t.”
As for her favorite pastime away from the bar, Wall said you will find her somewhere near the water with a group of friends.
“We like to hang out with our friends because we don’t get a lot of day times off,” she said of herself and her co-workers. “I like the beach or hiking and canoeing at Blackwater. You’ll find me by the water, wherever that is.”
The Shack is at 104 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SW in Fort Walton Beach. The Shack offers 10 percent off to locals every day and 20 percent off to military personnel. For more information, visit http://www.crabshackmarina.com/ or call 850-664-0345.