St. Petersburg’s Floridian Social Club music venue and lounge is close to opening

Front of house is hiring, and the operations manager sees a certificate of occupancy on the horizon.

click to enlarge Floridian Social Club in St. Petersburg, Florida on Sept. 10, 2020. - RAY ROA
Ray Roa
Floridian Social Club in St. Petersburg, Florida on Sept. 10, 2020.

The restored State Theatre, now known as the Floridian Social Club, is hiring and inching closer to the venue’s opening date. Reps from the venue told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that an opening date has not been set, but they are looking for a number of staff both for back and front of the house

“In order to comply with covid restrictions we will also be employing a larger number of cocktail servers so as not to overcrowd the bar and keep patrons safe and well served,” Beverage Director Niall McCourt said in an email with CL. We are looking for a workforce consisting of approximately 15 bartenders, 8 barbacks and 12-15 cocktail servers.”

McCourt—who worked at St. Petersburg’s Mandarin Hide for seven years before leaving in January to focus on the opening of the 800-capacity venue—said there will be “two full liquor bars inside the theatre offering everything from local beer on tap, packaged beer, wine, fast service liquor drinks and a turn of the century inspired cocktail menu.”

Floridian Social Club says ‘concert schedule takes precedence over everything’ at St. Pete’s renamed State Theatre

Though there are no concerts set for the near future, they are also looking for help on the production and security side of things.

“We do not have anything booked yet....but we will likely debut as a lounge and give our local artists a stage to perform,” Operations Director Brandon Huskins told CL. With all of the uncertainty in the age of Covid, Huskins is hesitant in using an exact opening date but he is “cautiously optimistic.”

 “We have passed some finals, but still a couple hurdles to go,” Huskins said. “There are no anticipated issues at this point. We believe we could have a certificate of occupancy within a couple of weeks.”

To apply for a position, visit See a few photos from a Sept. 10 walk through below.

In June 2018, a family trust run by Kevin Chadwick purchased State Theatre for $2.1 million after previous owners shut it down. The sale came less than a year after fire code violations and inspections at State led to a downsized crowd capacity, which the fire marshal eventually set at 600 in February 2018.

Chadwick, is a real estate lifer who by day is the Owner and Operating Principal of Keller Williams franchises in the Tampa Bay area. His 35-year role in the local real estate industry is what led Chadwick—also the 59-year-old Operating Principal of Floridian Social Club—to State.

This spring, fans of the old State Theatre wondered what the concert calendar at Floridian Social Club would look like. In an April phone call with CL, Chadwick cleared up the air surrounding his venue. There are only 200 seats in the 800-cap space, meaning lots of room for general admission standing room at concerts. He also committed to a robust schedule that would have lounge nights but always prioritize concerts.

“Priority events is our concerts. So, if one of our promoters has a band, an event, it could be a Monday night, even a night where we’re closed—any night of the week,” Chadwick said. “Our concert schedule takes precedence over everything... “Live music is the priority of who we are, at the Floridian Social Club.”

Local musicians will naturally be part of that conversation—and part of those weeknights and even weekends when there isn’t a national on the stage. The venue has already thrown its hat into the Bay area scene by hosting live streams from homegrown talents who’ve lost gigs due to the coronavirus.

During a Sept. 10 walkthrough with CL, Chadwick showed off the many upgrades and improvements to the venue. Including new flooring which replicates the original tiling found beneath the surface during renovations, bathrooms that look straight out of "The Great Gatsby," and a backstage area featuring two posh green rooms on opposite sides of the stage.

Sitting parlors for 15-20 people are also in the plans. Floridian Social Club even got rid of that weird change in elevation that used to trip people up when moving from the lobby towards the theater. And at the end of the day, Chadwick simply wants the Floridian Social Club to be a room that everyone—from fans, to artists to crew—wants to visit again.

The return of a live music venue to the 600 Block is long overdue. Because of rising rents, Fubar—the block’s last surviving venue—closed at the end of 2018. June 2017 saw the closure of another venue, Local 662, and in February 2019, Daddy Kool Records was forced to move off the block despite its best year ever, revenue wise.

Still, the opening of Floridian Social Club looks promising, and it could be a bright spot in one of the bleakest years of live local music news ever.

UPDATED: 12/9/20 12 p.m. Updated with background and some observations from a Sept. 10 walkthrough of the venue, and to clarify that "CO" meant "certificate of occupancy."

Tampa Bay venues and promoters need you to bug Marco Rubio about saving the live music scene. See a list of Tampa Bay’s “Safe & Sound” live music venues here.

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About The Author

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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