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New arcade bar Right Around the Corner, specializing in beer and games, coming to St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg will get its first arcade bar when Right Around the Corner opens this week.

Small-batch home brewers John McMahan, 30, and Tom Rockhill, 32, have renovated the previous TropicCool gelato shop at 2244 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg and plan to open it Thursday as a space where you can drink (that's the "bar" part) and play games (and the "arcade" part).

After saying "If I had a bar I'd do this" enough times, the two friends decided to open their own place. In May, they "just pulled the trigger," Rockhill said, and started crowdsourcing online. Rockhill, who is the president of the St. Pete Brew Club, will be the bar manager.

As of last week, the owners were still working on getting signage and touchup paint, finalizing the beer list (which will include Tampa Bay Is Awesome!, a golden ale from Barley Mow Brewing Company) and installing more seating, but they're hoping to have the doors open for a soft opening on Thursday, followed by a grand opening Friday.

The 1,400-square-foot, split-level interior features a refinished bar, left over from the building's gelato days, and nine rotating taps, and there's an outdoor patio. Beers will be about 50 percent local, McMahan said, with four taps designated for bay area brews.

In addition to the bar and its taps (an old Game Boy tops the tap handle), there will be a fridge that stocks wine and cider, a pinball machine, a 600-game multicade system and a shuffleboard table. If you peer up the steps of the building, you can catch a glimpse of a professional dartboard and a foosball setup. The space will also house a 7-foot pool table and a selection of board games. There are plans to host live music on the patio.

The remaining taps will also feature craft beers, with one tap consistently pouring a 99-cent special draft that patrons can access, or "unlock," by shopping locally (and providing a receipt), driving responsibly (via Uber or Lyft) or checking in or sharing on social media.

The focus, McMahan said, is on being local and unique, which they will try to do in different ways. One of them: They want to make a menu that features a map of the area, with restaurants they recommend people grab food from to eat there or on their way home; and they're creating a periodic table of beer, where all 65 styles will be featured in an art installation on one wall.

"The goal is to reward people for helping us," McMahan said.

Via the crowdsourcing, the goal was to raise $10,000. They had a couple dozen people donate before their deadline of Sept. 12, for a total of about $5,000. For different levels of donation, donors became part of a membership program called the Cornerstone Society that got them perks like 5 percent off brews and merchandise for life, a T-shirt or a pint glass — and all of them get their names up on that periodic table of beer.

Carlynn Crosby can be reached at

New arcade bar Right Around the Corner, specializing in beer and games, coming to St. Petersburg 09/12/16 [Last modified: Monday, September 12, 2016 4:15pm]
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