When you think about traditions in the Tampa Bay area, you probably think Pornaoke at the Pegasus Lounge on Wednesdays. And understandably so. After all, what’s more Tampa than performing karaoke in front of a large projector screen playing hardcore porn? Nothing else immediately comes to mind.
As you may or may not already know, The Pegasus Lounge recently moved from its old location in Poinsettia Plaza, right next to Busch Gardens, to its new location in Action Plaza — don’t worry, it's still a bar in a strip mall and still very close to the University of South Florida.
“Primarily I moved so I could grow,” says Julie Bible, owner of Pegasus, as we talk in her office in the back of the club. “We were successful over there as a dive bar trying to do the same kind of music, but now we’re going for more of a night club feel. And I think people are going, ‘Wow, that's a step up.’”
Bible ran the Pegasus Lounge in its old location for 16-and-a-half years, opening the bar in 2001 in the old location near Busch Gardens and USF. The old location was grimy yet classic, with wood on the walls and lots of weird paintings hanging up. It looked like a dive bar.
The ceilings alone at the new location is, at the very least, are three times taller than the ceilings at the old venue. Also the paintings aren’t up like they were at the old place (I’ll admit I did miss the classic one of the mutant PBR with fangs). The aesthetics of the new place are sleeker and have a more open of a concept, almost a feng shui kind of thing. The floors are tiled, the walls are empty, and there are lights everywhere. Definitely more of a nightclub feel than Pegasus had before.
The actual bar itself is U-shaped, and the production value has stepped up, too. The new Pegasus has a wide array of lights on light boards, a large screen for fractal animations/logos of performers, and a second-story lighting booth that overlooks the stage and dancing area. As far as elbow room goes, this new venue is very spacious compared to the old one, and you can actually see the performer on the 3-foot raised stage from anywhere on the ground in the venue.
“I’m expecting us to gain a lot more respect from some of the bigger artists and bands,” says Bible. “It’s a much bigger parking lot, so my goal is that we continue to grow in the same genres of music we did before, hopefully with much bigger shows.”
With a brand new sound system, lighting systems, and raised VIP areas, that shouldn’t be too tall of a task.
“Did you go in the bathrooms?,” Julie asks as her face lights up. “People walk in and are shocked. Did you read some of the old reviews about the old bathrooms?”
Before writing this article, I had not, but one of the more surprisingly exciting aspects of the the new location is definitely the lavatories.
“People used to write that they had to sterilize themselves after they went to bathrooms at the old place, now they walk in and people go in and go ‘Wow, I’m at the Taj Mahal.’” While clearly not the ivory-white marble mausoleum in India, the bathrooms were actually incredibly clean and had incredibly high ceilings, always a classy touch to any bathroom. I made a special trip just to see for myself.
Bigger names have been coming through recently. DJ Icey played recently to a completely packed house. We went on Cinco de Mayo to listen to what everyone was listening to this Cinco de Mayo, bass music. The night was headlined by the underground bass producer from Nashville, Ives. While not too crowded on that night specifically, the atmosphere still led to it being a fantastic night with great vibes and great music. This show was brought to us and promoted by the Headbang Society, still one of my local favorite promoters.