SULLIGENT, Ala. (WCBI) – A longtime Lamar County, Alabama restaurant is celebrating 60 years of business. Along Highway 17 through the small town of Sulligent, the Polar Bar has been treating customers since 1953. It all started when three men bought a soft serve ice cream machine and put it to good use.
“We just had four items when we opened up. A nickel cone of cream, a dime cone, a 15 cent milkshake and a 25 cent milkshake, and that’s all we had. But it went over mighty good,” said original owner Frank Buckley.
The Polar Bar is now the oldest restaurant in Lamar County, and uniquely named.
“I said, well it’s something cold and something there that we want them to remember, so we finally came up with polar as the cold part. Then I’d heard a fellow mispronounce a bear one time and he called it a bar. So I thought of that and I said let’s call it a polar bar,” Buckley said.
Friends young and old come to the Polar Bar for good food and fellowship, making 60 years of memories.
“So many people have shared their stories about how they met their spouses here, how they worked here when they were teenagers and in their college years,” said current owner Pam Bolin.
“I met my wife Glenda at the Polar Bar in Vernon years ago. They had two locations, here and also in Vernon. I met Glenda 46 years ago and we’ve been married for 45 years, so good things happen at the Polar Bar,” said longtime customer Billy Ray Adams.
Through changing owners and expansions the ice cream remains famous, but customers also have another favorite.
“The chicken is good, it’s crispy fried,” said 11-year-old Autumn Buckley.
“I have a glaze to my chicken recipe that people have been after for more than 10 years and I get tickled. Everyone says ‘you need to let me know how to make that.’ But if I let you know how to make it, why are you gonna come see me?” Bolin said.
Many call the Polar Bar a historic landmark, or a must-stop while traveling through. It’s friendly atmosphere and old time charm make it one of a kind.
“I’m proud to see it hold on this long and still known as the Polar Bar. A good place to get cooled off with an ice cream cone or a malt of milk,” said Frank Buckley.
The Polar Bar is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. You can find it at 54057 Highway 17 South in Sulligent, Alabama.