Funky Blues Shack forced to close doors

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie |
The original Funky Blues Shack, located at the corner of Beach Drive and U.S. Highway 98, is being forced to shut down by the property owner after 20 years in business. ANNIE BLANKS/THE LOG

The original Graffiti and Funky Blues Shack restaurant in Destin has played its last song.

The restaurant, located at the corner of Beach Drive and U.S. Highway 98, closed its doors for good Nov. 5 after being in business since 1995.

“The building was sold,” said owner Nate Sangsland. “From what I’ve been told, it’s going to be demolished and replaced with an AutoZone.” 

Sangsland, who bought the restaurant after the original owner, Chuck Stiles, sold it in 2014, said sales had not been as high as they were in the past, “but they were good.”

“We had the intention to push through the winter and keep the place open,” he said. “However, with the building…the property owner wanted us to move out. He wanted the place vacant.”

The building’s owner, Michael Keeney of New Orleans, declined to comment for this story.

The restaurant, with its original artwork, dueling piano bar and live music atmosphere, has been a local favorite for years. A second Graffiti and Funky Blues Shack owned by Stiles is still set to open at the old Chili’s location in Destin this February after closing down its Baytowne location.

Sangsland said he and his partners in the restaurant were “heartbroken” that they had to close the original down.

“We all really fell in love with the fabric of Graffiti and the Funky Blues Shack,” he said. “Being here daily, operating it, and performing, you get very attached."

He added that he and his partners hope to open up a similar concept elsewhere in Destin sometime in the future, perhaps near the Destin harbor.

“This has always been a local’s place, but you can kind of tell that people are moving more towards the harbor,” he said.

Stiles, the original owner of the first location and current owner of the second location, said he was sad to see the initial restaurant go, but was optimistic that the owners would find a way to keep it alive elsewhere.

“I’m definitely sad,” he said. “It was my first spot, and the way I look at it is, it’s not going, it’s just moving to a better location.”