What started as an empty tank of gas after Hurricane Michael, a stranded driver from Orlando, and a Chattahoochee helper, has since blossomed into the newest business in downtown Chattahoochee.
In 2018, the day after Hurricane Michael struck in October of that year, Brittany Moffatt was driving from Orlando to Pensacola.
“I didn’t even really know there had been a hurricane going on, to be honest with you,” said Moffatt, who lived in Orlando at the time.
After the hurricane, gas was depleted in the area and as Moffatt drove through Gadsden County on Interstate 10, her tank dove quickly into the ‘empty’ zone.
In search of gas for her vehicle, Moffatt exited the interstate at Chattahoochee, took a right turn on Flat Creek Road, and began driving in search of a gas station.
Interestingly, Moffatt turned towards Chattahoochee – but had she turned left, instead of right, she would have arrived at a gas station directly off the interstate exit.
Instead, fate pulled her towards Chattahoochee…and towards a quickly emptying gas tank.
Eventually, Moffatt ran out of gas and a local man helped give her a ride to the nearest gas station (in Tallahassee, Moffatt adds), but before she left, Chattahoochee’s small town feeling, connected community, and the affordability of property in a small, rural community, had won her over.
“I ran out of gas here three years ago, and I just stuck around,” said Moffatt. “I ended up buying a house here – and then a couple other houses – and then I really had to stick around.”
Moffatt now owns several properties in the Chattahoochee area, which she leases out to tenants – but her dream was not to be a landlord.
“I’ve always wanted my own bar,” said Moffatt, who has a background in bartending and bar service that encompasses 10 years of experience.
Moffatt was even briefly partnered in the ownership of a Kissimmee, Florida bar – but that was short lived, she said, and she wanted something of her own.
So when a city employee told her that Chattahoochee’s downtown strip would soon be experiencing an opening, as the local pawn shop owner wanted to retire, Moffatt jumped at the opportunity.
“He put us in contact,” said Moffatt, of the city employee who was so instrumental in her finding the old pawn shop.
After being introduced to the pawn shop owner, Moffatt said everything fell into place: she bought out the building, allowing her to invest on her dreams of bar ownership, and the previous owner got his chance to retire.
“When I found this place, it just kind of happened,” Moffatt added.
The renovations at her bar have rendered it almost unrecognizable as the former pawn shop location in Chattahoochee.
On Wednesday, November 24 – the day before Thanksgiving – Moffatt celebrated the grand opening of her bar at an event attended by members of the community, City of Chattahoochee staff, Mayor Ann Richardson, City Manager Robert Presnell, and Pam Medley with Chattahoochee Main Street.
Moffatt’s bar – Bleachers Pub and Grub – cut the ribbon, opened its doors, served up ice-cold beers, and sliced cake in celebration of its grand opening.
Bleachers, Moffatt says, is named in honor of her roots in bartending – the name is taken from the first bar Moffatt ever worked at in Indiana.
“It was very hard coming up with the name. My kids and their dad kinda jokingly recommended it; Bleachers was ‘our bar’ when we were younger, so we decided to go with it,” she says.
The original Bleachers has since closed – but Moffatt is keeping the name alive in Chattahoochee.
When people come into Bleachers, Moffatt says they can expect excellent customer service that comes from years of experience in the trade, as well as good food, entertainment, and a laid back atmosphere that is family-friendly.
While the bar and grill has been open for only a short while, Moffatt is already planning her next stage in expansion.
A stage has been constructed inside Bleachers, and Moffatt says she plans on hosting karaoke nights, comedy shows, live music, and open mic nights; after that, she’d like to expand the bar and grill, opening up a second space for pool tables and a game room.
Eventually, she will also offer a breakfast menu for the morning crowd of patrons.
Currently, Bleachers is open seven days a week, ready to serve up burgers, chicken on a stick, jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, fried pickles, cold drinks, and more.
Bleachers is open from 11 a.m. to midnight each night, and is currently accepting applications for staff.
Ashley Hunter – firstname.lastname@example.org