New bar donates profits to 7th Special Forces, Niemann-Pick Foundation (VIDEO)

split oaks saloon manager dawson snyder

Split Oaks Saloon manager Cristina Dawson, left, and barmaid Kelly Snyder stand behind the establishment's bar.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 06:04 PM.

CRESTVIEW — A new saloon on U.S. Highway 90 allows patrons to support 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) families and help Niemann–Pick disease patients while they wet their whistles.

The Split Oak Saloon — whose grand opening is Saturday at noon — had its soft opening Thursday evening, but for some patrons, it wasn't soon enough.

"We've had soldiers stopping by for weeks asking when we're opening," manager Cristina Dawson said.

WATCH Splits Oaks Saloon's soft opening Thursday>>

The saloon is a partnership between Bill Berkey, a 7th Special Forces soldier who will retire from the Army in May, and Okaloosa County native Ian Christiansen.

The bar, licensed as a charity, is expected to donate at least 20 percent of its daily till to the local SFA7 chapter of the Special Forces Association, which supports soldiers' families.

"We'll be doing a lot of benefits for them," Dawson said.

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