Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nightmare on Church Street

Back in the day when Church Street was the hub of Orlando's nightlife, there actually was an attraction called Terror on Church Street and it was located in the Church Street Exchange Building.  For now we've changed the title slightly to reference to the difficulties the area is having despite proximity to the nearby Amway Center.
Heat.....closed.  Replacement Urban Flats is there but hasn't even put up a mounted sign.
Baby Grands.....closed.
Bliss Ultra Lounge.....closed.
Cheyenne Saloon.....closed.
Church Street Station building, except for Hamburger Mary's.....closed.  The few bright spots, upscale Loft 55 has opened above Urban Flats while Harry Buffalo has replaced Mojo's in the old home of Rosie O'Grady'sClub 23, Rok Room, Ceviche, Touch and Chillers/Lattitudes are still there along with Dragon RoomThere is a new Five Guys. But there remain way too many empty storefronts!  Anyone want to open a club?  Rent ought to be cheap given the vacancy rate on Church Street!


Brian said...

Terror on Church Street was on the corner of Orange AV and Church ST. before it closed.

Brian said...

right next to the train tracks there was phineas phogg's.

FN said...

Kinda makes me wonder how much competition Church Street is getting from City Walk which, whenever I go, is pretty busy. Wouldn't it be great if Disney was competing for a share of those entertainment dollars with clubs of their own? I guess they just don't want to be in that market at this time...

I have imagined Mannequins re-opening with a Star Wars overlay. Storm troopers instead of mannequins, rotating dance floor, good dance music, etc. Since they own the Lucas brands now, it wouldn't take a whole lot of cash to head in that direction since the building and the interior is still in tact. "The Landspeeder Lounge," and that sort of thing... Heh!

Anonymous said...

OH that sounds NOT good! FN!! Really I mean REALLY!

FN said...

Anonymous said...
OH that sounds NOT good! FN!! Really I mean REALLY!

I know... You're right, and I agree... But it's Disney, so it's within the realm of possibility, they will be (and are) under pressure from shareholders to utilize their investment in both the Lucas and Marvel properties. So my thinking was that with Star Wars they can tap into a huge and well-established fan base. And whether we like it or not, Mannequins is a venue which provides designers with the ability to quickly and fairly easily apply overlays as movies and themes come and go. I would not be surprised to see Pleasure Island become a sort of [i]pop-culture chameleon[/i] which allows Disney to turn things on and around quickly with changes in popular interests related to their own properties.

Just some "blue sky" thinking from me...

KingBob said...

I think a Star Wars theme at a night club like Mannequins would be an INCREDIBLE idea FN! It would draw HUGE crowds. Disney Imagineers could go so over the top with this type of theme.

FN said...

KingBob - we know that Disney would pull off a Star Wars theme VERY well, but also know the music would have to be there to attract and retain the crowds too. So I'm optimistic. I expect great things in the future of that Mannequins space. It represents a beautiful "potential" for any of a number of themes. Would love to see that revolving dance floor retained too. We're very lucky that the building houses major feeds for utilities -- that seems to help "anchor" and preserve that space.

Dj Smooth said...

I'm glad Mako's closed. That place was so cheesy, it was embarrassing.

Bliss was having issues with the landlord so they get a pass.

As for the rest, guess they didn't really know how to run a bar/club in this city.

It's everything from location, marketing, liquor costs to the Djs and all points in between.

KingBob said...

Smooth, I did not care for Mako's either and won't miss it. I really do miss Bliss though. It was always a fun time there, great music by Mickey Bono and plenty of nice scenery!

Most of the downtown venues seem to be operated by just a handful of owners. Doesn't lend itself to price competition nor to the use of much imagination in theming.

Dj Smooth said...

Running a club is NOT easy. First problem is getting your hands on a quota liquor license. The number of licenses for Orange Co are limited based on the population so you'd literally have to buy one from an existing license holder. It will usually run you six figures just to be able to sell liquor in your club.

Running a proper liquor/beer inventory takes skill and experience. You have to set your pars correctly, deal with the vendors, etc. All of your permits, etc. Lots of fun.

Hiring competent bartenders and wait staff.

Then there's the matter of hiring an actual professional Dj that's been around for more than a few years and might even have a pair of 1200s in storage because he actually knows how to use them. Sorry to hate on the little kids coming out of high school but a Dj they are not. It takes YEARS of experience before you can properly run a club.

The marketing and promotion, etc.

It's not easy. An owner that has a clue has to spend a great deal of time engaged to make a club work.

I've worked for all types of owners/managers in my 20+ years of professional work and I've met many that work clueless.

KingBob said...

Appreciate the insight. I recall liquor theft is always an issue too. And competent management does not come cheap either.

One nice feature of a 3rd party operator opening something on Pleasure Island is that they're allowed to sell liquor under Disney's master liquor license there. This is per a special statute passed by the Florida Legislature long ago. When it was passed, it was so narrowly written that only two places in Florida qualified under the law: Downtown Disney and Marineland!

Dj Smooth said...

Serious bar managers will use a pouring system to keep the inventory accurate.

Like I said, all comes down to who's running the business.

KingBob said...

Senso is the only club in town where I've run into the use of a "regulator". It's designed to pour exactly one shot. The bartenderess pouring that night pushed the button twice for my drink. Have to assume management allowed that. Any place that pours a stingy drink won't see repeat business from me....or many others either.

Dj Smooth said...

Sorry but I applaud them for using that. It's a business. They count on that profit margin from the liquor. Profit margins on beer are nothing compared to the liquor. Without serious controls on that liquor, you open yourself up to problems.

You should be able to use your sales as a secondary check for your inventory levels. They should be doing inventory at least once a week and on and on.

Gotta run a tight ship. :)