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Carlie's Lounge closes; other Pinellas bars keeping dirt rock alive



This might not be breaking news to the working-class barflies of mid-Pinellas County (and we know there are a lot of you out there). But Carlie's Lounge, a classic rock bar on 49th Street, has closed.

Carlie's wasn't for everyone -- tbt* reviewer Leigh Armstrong once called it one of Tampa Bay's scariest bars, before admitting it was a pretty good place to "wear your torn-up Skynard shirt and listen to some high-quality dirt rock." (That's Off the Wall performing at Carlie's above; Nation and Rebel Pride were also regulars.)

So with Carlie's gone, where are all these dirt-rock bands playing now?

First, let's define "dirt rock." Urban Dictionary's definition seems a little harsh, but it's in the general vicinity. It's basically working-class rock 'n' roll, with maybe a little Southern flavor thrown in. Think denim, bandanas, leather and beer. Think Eddie Money. Think Gregg Allman. Think Joe Walsh.

One spot is Grass Flats, a biker bar and restaurant at 12924 49th St. N in Clearwater. This week, Grass Flats is hosting Rebel Pride on Wednesday, the GoDaddies on Friday and Gunn Hill Road on Saturday. On Sunday, Grass Flats is hosting a bigger, more country-leaning concert with Adrian-Ray, Thomas Wynn and the Beleivers and James Taylor Curtis. That show is 4 to 10 p.m.; cover is $4.

In Largo, there's Eddie's Pizzeria and Sports Bar (1250 Seminole Blvd.), which has hosted Memphis Train Union, Uncle John's Band and Sobriety X. Their calendar is pretty stocked for the forseeable future.

In Clearwater, there's always Two Buks, which this weekend features the Kenny McGee Band, Basic Rock Outfit and Stormbringer.

Another newish venue in North Pinellas is the Living Room in Dunedin. It's not quite as dirt-rockin' -- the vibe is more singer-songwritery -- but Basic Rock Outfit is playing there on Thursday. (Laura Reiley says the food's good, too.)

And don't forget Cuso's Cantina in Indian Rocks Beach. Greg Billings Band are regulars there, and AC/DC's Brian Johnson -- a bona fide dirt rocker if ever there was one -- has been known to stop by.

What are we missing? With Big Shots closing in August, and now Carlie's, too, where else can Pinellas dirt rockers turn for a good time?

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:14pm]


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