The Corner Club, Old Seminole Heights’ long standing institution and so-called dive bar is for sale.
The “For Sale” sale was noticed last week and soon pictures were floating around Facebook accompanied with comments by users in disbelief, making assumptions and asking prices. Soon, longtime bartender Patty Denmark posted a picture of the sign herself along with the caption, “It is for real.”
Originally a grocery store, the building was built in 1945. Current owner Fred Jett, 76, bought the property in 1972, when it was part tavern, part store.
Mainly a working class bar through the years (with Friday happy hours especially popular with TECO employees from down the street), The Corner Club evolved into a melting pot of sorts. Denmark and Jett confirmed the reasoning behind the sale when CL popped in to visit before opening for a typical day of business.
“We’re tired,” Denmark said, “We want to go fishing.”
Denmark has worked at the bar for 20 years and rarely forgets a name. Between the familial feel Denmark gives, the Best of the Bay-winning karaoke nights and the occasional rock show, usually somehow involving Jeff Brawer and Shawn Watkins, it has become a mainstay in the ever evolving bar scene of the Heights. The Bryan Cranston movie “The Infiltrator” also filmed scenes there, even having bartender Bruce Reiss play, well, a bartender.
The property is going for $565,000 and comes fully-stocked with equipment like beer coolers and such, on over half an acre lot (23,000 square-feet). Though set in a more residential part of Seminole Heights, at 1502 E. Sligh Ave., the lot is zoned for nightclub use and one of the few places left in Tampa Bay smokers can light up indoors – plus there’s the beer and wine license.
“It’s going to take some kind of transfer documents,” leasing agent John Harris told CL, “but it won’t be a big deal.”
While Seminole Heights has blossomed and become a beacon for new restaurants and bars, the Corner Club has stayed the same, despite rising property values.
“Real estate in Seminole Heights is slowed a little, but it is definitely still hot,” Keller Williams agent Thomas Murphy told CL.
“Whoever gets it is going to make some changes,” Harris added, while hoping that the buyer takes advantage of the other part of the package, the Corner Club name.
So far, there has already been a lot interest, but Jett really wants the name and the spirit to live on.
“That’s what we’d love,” he said.
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