Historic gas station becomes new place to hang out

Exxon Ad with famous slogan "Happy Motoring" 
Photo credit: Flickr


A historic locally owned south-side business is holding a grand opening today,  and it is giving the greater FAMU área a new spot for some cool vibrations.

Happy Motoring began generating plenty of buzz before today’s official opening.

The bar is a shared center point that will offer beer, mixed drinks and coffee, and will serve as a host for nearby food trucks. Together, the advancement organization Foremost, the accommodation organization for the Table, and Tallahassee Tea Company, will serve up treats during the most common hour of the day.

“We’ve been looking for a new fun and relaxed chill spot where everyone is having a good time," said FAMU graduate Johnny Etienne.

The lot at the corner of FAMU Way and South Adams Street, which is no larger than half an acre, was vacant for at least a decade. The redevelopment is a business partnership between For The Table Hospitality, the Tallahassee Tea Company and Foremost, a community development company specializing in digital and physical products.

Owners of the new bar said they want to give the people of Tallahassee a more welcoming environment.

“We’re just trying to make it as fun and relaxed as possible because we want everyone to feel like they can come and have a good time," said Amanda Morrison, a managing partner of For the Table's Social Catering.

Happy Motoring sits on the corner of South Adams Street and FAMU Way, a block west of South Monroe Street, in an area some are calling “SOMO" – short for South Monroe. Both city and county officials have been working to revitalize that general area and have laid the groundwork with various public projects.

Happy Motoring is inspired by Miami’s Wynwood district, which began as a food truck hub and grew into a subculture for artists looking for a good-vibes only hang out.

Its name comes from the original sign that sits on the refurbished entrance. During the mid 20th century, the property was managed by Esso, an oil company that later merged to form Exxon with the tagline "Happy Motoring.”

The name is a sign of paying homage to what was there before.

Special events also are in the works, including Tallahassee's first coffee festival on April. 8. Regular business hours will be Thursday 4 to 10 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday noon to midnight.