Monday, March 17, 2014

Downtown Update: Church Street Area

It's been awhile since we've given you a downtown Orlando update so that's what we'll do today.  This is the future home of Ferg's Depot, a new restaurant/bar/party complex opening in the former  Church Street Station of the Atlantic Coast Line railroad.  The large facility is directly across the tracks from the new SunRail commuter rail station that opens next month.  Unfortunately the venue's name is not very inspiring but we'll check it out once the place opens.
Then there's the other Church Street Station, the largely idle entertainment complex that was thee place for tourists to party when they visited O-town. The complex made so much money that Disney cloned the multiple club/one price formula with Pleasure Island followed by Universal with CityWalkCheyenne Saloon is pictured here and is available for rentals.  Such was the case a couple weekends ago as the Orlando Weekly newspaper hosted a themed party event open to the public.  Good to see the place in use.  Some of you may remember when Paris Hilton's Club Paris was located aft in this building! A short-lived club called Love followed it.
During CSS's heyday, this spot was home to Phineas Phogg's Balloon Works, a discotech. More recently it was home to Bliss Ultra Lounge and it always had great crowds.  From what I was told, owners thought they could do better elsewhere so they moved.  The spot remains empty.
But the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the tracks.  Located on the 2nd floor of the new 55 West Building, the replacement club for Bliss was called Loft 55 and it never took off.  Not sure who was the one who thought you could stick a dance club on the 2nd floor of anywhere on Church Street and get noticed.  And I experienced a lot of surly service there.  The name changed to Prime Night Club for a brief run but now it's just empty.
Directly below Loft 55, a night club called Heat existed briefly as well.  One of those fancy restaurants that turned into a club later at night, they apparently did neither well enough to stay in business.  Urban Flats operated in the space most recently but anyplace that can't afford a real marquee sign isn't going to be around long, in my opinion, and indeed, that legal notice on the door says as much!  So this space too is now empty!
We previously reported on club Antigua becoming Don Jefe's Tequila Parlour and then the space being split into two venues; the other The Dubliner Irish Social House.  Both are in business so check them out.
Finally, around the corner on Church Street we have the closing of relatively new club The Fifth. The V-Group's new club Vanity has been a big succes but it's been canibalizing patrons from their own clubs Vixen, Vintage and The Fifth. The latter is the first one to be replaced with upcoming renovations turning it into Vyce Lounge.  With their clubs all beginning with the letter 'V', people didn't get The Fifth's use of the Roman numeral 'V'.  Vyce will be much simpler, lol.  But how they're going to differentiate themselves in the market remains to be seen. And that's our downtown update.

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