Drink beer for breakfast and help the ballet

So he grabbed his mom, his lady and some bagels, and the Beer Breakfast was born. But things have changed since the first event: Repka works hard making custom t-shirts that he sells to benefit a local charity, there are raffles, and 10 percent of the cash bar sales will also be donated. This is the third year the breakfast will be held at Mandarin Hide.

"It's gotten bigger every year," Repka said. "Last year we had upwards of 300 people."

In the past, proceeds from the breakfast benefited Suncoast Hospice and the Children's Dream Fund. This year, proceeds benefit the Florida West Ballet (FWB), a local non-profit organization that teaches ballet to young boys and girls. FWB offers scholarships to any students who cannot afford classes. Classes are often held in the ballroom near the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club building.

The parents of the students who attend FWB have a feast planned for Saturday that includes egg biscuits, banana bread, apple bread, bagels, deviled eggs, cupcakes, muffins, breakfast casserole, quiche, and cinnamon rolls.

The Mandarin Hide mixologists will also whip up a couple of specials including a pancake shot (which Repka said "tastes just like pancakes!") and egg floater shots.

"Once people get past the initial shock of drinking beer that early in the morning, they're sold," Repka said. "They see it's just good people getting together for a good cause."

There is no cover charge. Custom t-hirts are $20. Saturday, March 23, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Mandarin Hide, 231 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-231-4007.

What kind of an event combines drinking before noon and benefits a local ballet organization? James Repka's beer breakfast on Saturday, March 23, at 9 a.m. at the Mandarin Hide ... that's what.

Repka, a commercial mortgage broker by day, was walking through downtown St. Petersburg one Saturday morning in 2002 when the idea struck him.

"It was 8:05 a.m. and I saw a bunch of guys drinking beer together at Mastry's," Repka said. "I thought, well I want to drink beer at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning too."

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