Ferg’s Live is closing in Tampa to make way for Water Street development

The bar and live music venue in a prime location across the street from Amalie Arena was always meant to be temporary, its owner said.
Published March 8
Updated March 8

Fans of Ferg’s Live will have one last chance to pre and post-game party at the large outdoor hangout partially constructed from shipping containers near Amalie Arena.

The sports bar and music venue at 490 Water Street has been a staple for hockey fans and concertgoers. It will close permanently after Saturday night, when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Detroit Redwings across the street.

Owner Jay Mize said Ferg’s Live was always meant to be temporary, since property owner Strategic Property Partners had plans to develop the lot as part of its Water Street Tampa development. He said Ferg’s Live had been on a month-to-month lease since March 2018.

Mize would have loved to keep the bar running through the NHL playoffs, he said, but noted that Strategic Property Partners had been “more than gracious” in extending the lease for as long as their demolition and permitting schedule allowed.

“I thank the entire Tampa Bay community, our staff, the Lightning and SPP,” he said. “We knew we were on borrowed time. ... It was only four years, but we packed a bunch of memories in over that four years.”

Mize, who also owns the Irish 31 restaurants in Tampa and Wesley Chapel, said the Ferg’s Live staff would have the option of working at one of those locations.

On Friday, a sign was up on the building advertising an “everything goes” auction on March 13 via Bay Area Auction Services that will include stage audio and video equipment, furnishings, decorations and containers.

Ferg’s Live first announced the closing on its Facebook page with a post that said, “... you haven’t seen the last of us... we shall raise a glass together again soon.” Mize said he’s actively working to open another bar and restaurant somewhere in downtown Tampa, but is not sure yet what the concept will be, or if it would use the Ferg’s brand.

Mize, a former University of South Florida football player, opened Ferg’s Live with partner and then Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson in 2015. The Ferg’s name was used via a licensing agreement with Mark Ferguson, founder of the original Ferg’s Sports Bar near St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field.

Contact Christopher Spata at cspata@tampabay.com or follow @SpataTimes on Twitter.

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