CL's 30th Anniversary: 30 years, 30 milestones — 1999-2008

The Bolts take the Stanley Cup, [email protected] opens, Cigar City Brewing is founded and more.

For CL's 30th anniversary, instead of taking a look at our own history, we decided to highlight some of the major positive changes that have happened in Tampa Bay over the last three decades. Here are some of the pivotal events of our second 10 years.


Daddy Kool opens in St. Pete

Emanuel “Manny Kool” Matalon shows up a lot in the pages of CL, and for good reason. Under his management, the second location of Daddy Kool has flourished into an essential destination for record collectors, concert fans and local music lovers (the first DK, a Bradenton store, was opened in '85 by No Clubs! principal Tony Rifugiato). The flagship store at 666 Central Ave. has endured rising rents and a changing 600 Block over the last few years — with one relocation from one side of the street to the other — and we hope it sticks around for at least another two decades. —Ray Roa


First Wildsplash goes off in Clearwater

Two years after its first Last Damn Show (an arena show with up-and-coming national acts), WLLD-FM brought the party to the shoreline with Wildsplash, an annual tradition bringing more big, buzzy hip-hop, pop and R&B names (Ja Rule, Ziggy Marley, 112 and Tampa’s own girl-group gone big PYT were on that first bill) to Clearwater for a Spring Break party that’s become a must-attend for Bay area fans of the genres. —RR


click to enlarge Bob Devin Jones. - Heidi Kupiela
Heidi Kupiela
Bob Devin Jones.

The [email protected] opens in St. Pete

When the unassuming venue at 620 1st Ave. S. opened its doors, no one was really quite sure what it was gonna be. Over the years it’s evolved into a multidisciplinary performance space, art gallery, market, celebration central and a bevy of other things. In all honesty, we should probably stop calling it The [email protected] and start calling it The Room of Requirement, because the powerhouse behind it — Bob Devin Jones — will say yes to whatever you need. —Cathy Salustri

click to enlarge CL's 30th Anniversary: 30 years, 30 milestones — 1999-2008
Nicole Abbett

Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup

Yeah, yeah, we know — the Bucs won the Super Bowl the year before. But what the hell happened to 'em after that? Beating the Calgary Flames and claiming the Cup made the Bolts Tampa’s Sports Team, and that love affair has continued as the Lightning, though they’ve had good seasons and less-than-good seasons, have remained consistently competitive in their field. It used to be weird seeing the occasional man, woman or child walking downtown wearing a bulky-ass hockey jersey, and not just because it used to be weird seeing anyone walking in downtown Tampa at all; these days, the fans have been out in force for years, and it’s because the Lightning justify their love. Some other professional sports teams manage an occasional spark, but the Bolts keep the fire burning every season. They’re hungry, they’re committed to the community, and they’ve done more than any organization in the last three decades to make Tampa a bona fide sports town. —Scott Harrell


The Black Keys play Skipper’s Smokehouse

In a Best of the Bay blurb back then, CL described some of the local infighting between promoters vying to book a then-rising Black Keys for a 2005 Tampa show. It ended up happening at the Skipperdome, and while noise restrictions kept the volume turned down (editor’s note: I remember this show still being loud as shit for a Skipper’s gig. —Scott), fans got to witness one of modern rock’s best live shows before it evolved into the arena-filling spectacle and production juggernaut that it is today. Skipper’s is one of the best blues clubs in the area, but let’s not forget the role it plays in breaking some of the biggest names in rock, too. —RR

New Memorial Causeway bridge opens in Clearwater

click to enlarge CL's 30th Anniversary: 30 years, 30 milestones — 1999-2008
Walter via Wikimedia Commons/CC

Hey, wasn’t that old drawbridge fun, the way it would go up and all my beach-dwelling classmates had a totally valid excuse for being late to class in high school? And also, wasn’t it awesome how, for a good part of the year, traffic would back up from the roundabout to the old Maas Brothers? No? Well, then, wasn’t it awesome when they built a fixed-span bridge that made it a little easier to get to Clearwater Beach? It was indeed. Seasonal traffic up that way is still the cause of plenty of consteration among locals, but we’re more likely to make the trip, and visitors from away are spared the kind of frustration that might mar an otherwise flawless trip to our shores. —CS


Da Cypher is founded

Tampa’s longest-running hip-hop open mic was founded by one of the region’s most talented emcees (Aych, who gained national notoriety after an appearance on BET’s 106 & Park), and it continues to be an incubator for local rap talent brave enough to take the stage and put their rhymes and delivery out there for all (including industry tastemakers) to see and pass judgement on. If you’re ever going to break out of the area, then you’re going to take the mic at Da Cypher to get there. —RR


Cigar City Brewing is founded in Tampa

There was local beer before there was Jai Alai, but there’s also no denying it was Joey Redner’s brewery that really poured Tampa Bay into the larger national craft conversation. It wasn’t until 2009 that Redner and brewmaster Wayne Wambles put up the first Cigar City beer (it was reportedly a Maduro Brown), but that only exemplifies Redner’s vision, ambition and dedication. Since then, CCB has grown exponentially, helping brand the entire region as a now-hip craft beer destination and shaping both its character at home and its perception among folks who don’t actually live here. It’s been said more than once that we can’t sustain our beer growth indefinitely, but Cigar City has already made its mark as the most familiar and influential brand in the area. What’s more, many of the newer local brewers turning out next-generation flavors these days learned their trade and honed their skills with Redner, Wambles and CCB, to boot. —SH


click to enlarge Kevin Beckner. - Heidi Kupiela
Heidi Kupiela
Kevin Beckner.

Kevin Beckner becomes the first openly gay Hillsborough County Commissioner

When former cop and financial planner Kevin Beckner ran for the Hillsborough County Commission, it had only been three years since Ronda Storms successfully banned the county from supporting or recognizing gay pride events in the area, and the idea of an out member of the LGBT community running for local office was still an edgy one. Add to that the fact that it was Beckner’s first race of any kind, and he was looking at some long odds. The more open-minded voters prevailed, however, and Beckner spent the next eight years not just spearheading equality initiatives  — and helping pave the way for the return of Tampa Pride — but also making Hillsborough County a better place to live for all. —SH

freeFall Theatre opens

In 2007, there was theater in Pinellas, but it was stuck in a rut. freeFall changed the game when it came to town, with funding to bring in talent and the dramatic balls to take some chances. Eric Davis, Jim Soresnson and a small cast of others made theater great again, and other local companies have had to up their game as a result. What’s more, as west St. Pete has begun to come into its own (abeit not as quickly as some other areas), freeFall finds itself one of the centerpieces of the latest ‘Burg neighborhood on the cusp of hipness. —CS