The story behind the famous Surf City Trailer Bar that’s not actually a trailer

It looks like a trailer, but it’s actually not, according to Surf City Trailer Bar’s general manager Andy Redmond.

It looks like a trailer, but it’s actually not, according to Surf City Trailer Bar’s general manager Andy Redmond.

“Actually it’s not a trailer to be honest with you,” Redmond said. “It’s a stick-built but it was built on the same specs of maybe a 14 x 60 mobile home.”

The famous Trailer Bar has been many things over the years.

Redmond says the building was originally used for a putt putt course. The course was out in front of the “trailer”, that is until it was washed away in Hurricane Fran. Luckily, the trailer stayed put.

After that, it was turned into a bar called “Cocomo’s.” And later, it was turned into a bar called “Castaways.”

The Trailer Bar and Castaways are actually the same thing. Redmond said when they opened Castaways everyone would just refer to the place as “The Trailer Bar.”

“We thought, ‘Well, let’s go with it,’” Redmond said. “So the rest is kind of history.”

It’s one of those bars that’s random, yet somehow it all makes sense.

Decorative toilet right outside the Trailer Bar.
Decorative toilet right outside the Trailer Bar.

For example, there’s a toilet on the deck right outside of the bar. Redmond says it’s used as an ashtray in the summer and a planter for different flowers throughout the rest of the year. When we were there shooting this story, it was decked out for the Fourth of July with American flags and red, white, and blue flowers.

As soon as you walk into the bar, one of the first things you’ll probably notice is the ceiling. Every ceiling tile has a different design representing everything from businesses, to organizations, to colleges, and everything in between.

Redmond says they use the ceiling tile designs to give back to the community.

“We pay an artist to do whatever print the customer wants and then after all the money is paid for the artist and the tile work, then the leftover money goes into different charities,” Redmond said.

Trailer Bar ceiling
Trailer Bar ceiling

The Trailer Bar also has live entertainment on the trailer’s front porch Monday through Friday during the summer.

“We’re very proud of our lineup,” Redmond says. “And we’ve also had some pretty big names here for a little place like this.”

Like every small-town bar, Redmond says they have their regulars. But some of the best stories he enjoys hearing are ones of Trailer Bar fans in different states or countries.

“What I think is the most fun is to hear people, when they travel, running into people even in other countries wearing a Trailer Bar shirt,” Redmond said.

But even for a small bar, it has a big character. Redmond says his favorite part is watching people relax and enjoy themselves in the trailer that’s not actually a trailer.


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