For all the years we have lived in Florida we never really knew much about Eau Gallie. We were aware that it was a town someplace but never knew exactly where it was. We recently found out when we went to Melbourne and attended their First Friday celebration.

Eau Gallie in fact is not a town – but the arts district of Melbourne. Centered around Highland Avenue and Eau Gallie Boulevard, it is a compendium of art galleries, bars, restaurants and interesting little shops.

It also is the home of the Foosaner Art Museum of the Florida Institute of Technology. The exhibition that was on display when we visited was “Derek Gores: Local Edition” – a mid-career retrospective of work by Melbourne resident, Derek Gores.

Enjoying our First Evening

We started our evening with dinner at the Cottage Inn, a traditional Irish pub which is owned and operated by the Hogan Family from Co. Mayo, Ireland. They boasted “real Irish food, beer and wine.” It might be argued that they forgot “great music” in the mix.

The night we were there the place was packed, with folks trying to find a spot inside, or outside. They have decks in the back and the front. We were fortunate enough to grab a table on the front deck in time to hear the musical stylings of Dave Burch. He sang and played Irish ballads on his acoustic guitar.

We got a great seat at The Cottage in Eau Gallie

The food was tremendous, and I must say there was lots of it. I had the Guinness Beef Stew. It’s a hearty mix of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout braised beef with vegetables and herbs, while my wife had the “soup of the day”- a wonderful Tomato Basil. We each got slices of the heavy Irish brown bread as well.

Not knowing what we were in for, my wife also ordered their “Irish Nachos” which were french fries smothered in Irish beer cheese, bacon and chives, with sour cream for dipping. We ended up taking those home.

Strolling About Eau Gallie

The walk around the neighborhood showed the success of the First Friday event. There was good traffic at many of the galleries. We toured Art Expressions, Shambala and The Art & Antique Studio among others. Other restaurants and pubs along Highland Avenue also were doing a brisk business with few open tables at Chef Mario’s Cafe.

Shambala had a lot of traffic

There also wer some wonderful street musicians as. We stood by as a young cellist entertained with Christmas carols, Just up the street another troubadour was singing classics from The Moody Blues.

A Party on the Square

a The centerpiece of the evening was Eau Gallie Square, where they held the annual lighting of the Chistmas tree. Santa Claus held court for young and old alike while Groove Connection played from the main stage

One of the coolest features was the way they used projection lights to illuminate the trees – but what did you expect from the creative minds at the Eau Gallie Art District (EGAD).

GtooveAffiliation was rocking it

There were vendors at the park, making it a totally encapsulated experience – so once you were there you did not have to leave.
However, we did leave and walk the streets, taking in music at some of the local bars – including a very loud rock band and a drum circle that was locked in on a rhythm.

Dessert in Eau Gallie Means Joan’s

One of our best decisions was to stop by Joan’s Perfect Pies. We had read an article that said it was one of the top locations for pies in the Sunshine State. Boy were they ever right!  They hand make all of their fillings and dough and crust is an all butter crust; brown and flakey.

Our choice was not easy. Joan offered lots of choices. There were traditional flavors such apple, cherry, key lime and pumpkin pies. We also saw less traditional creations such as almond joy pie, hula pie, derby pie and four berry pie.

Joan and her crew worked hard to make LOTS of perfect pies

We highly recommend the four berry and sitting under one of her canopy-covered tables. Personally, I am glad we don’t live any closer to this place – it is simply irresistible!

Eau Gallie is a Lot of Fun

We found Melbourne to be a very interesting place. They have a funky and interesting little downtown area. But there’s also West Melbourne, East Melbourne. You can add Melbourne beach in the mix as well as Indian Shores Beach and Satellite Beach.

To be honest, it encompasses a good chunk of the Space Coast in general . We’ll be blogging about that later. But of the First Friday events that are scattered around the Sunshine State, the EGAD First Fridays are some of the most fun and culturally interesting.