Thursday, June 21, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Former Venue nightclub reopens as cozy pub

ST. PETERSBURG — The former Venue nightclub on Ulmerton Road is being retooled into two separate spots: one, a cozy pub from the same owners of MacDinton's that is already open for the happy hour crowd, and the second, a nightclub slated to open this weekend.

The Yard of Ale Gastro Pub, 2675 Ulmerton Road, is aimed at workers in the Carillon Office Complex and the surrounding Feather Sound neighborhood. Opening up on weekends only, a nightclub called Vertigo that will share a kitchen with Yard of Ale, but have its own entrance and vibe.

In its heyday after its 2008 opening, the cavernous Venue boasted a sushi bar, tapas room and a dance floor in 28,000 square feet. It closed in 2012.

Barry O'Connor, one of the Yard of Ale owners, said they wanted to get the space down to a more manageable size.

The building is now divided, with the downstairs half turned into a casual pub with dark wood and leather bar stools and an outdoor bar area with 28 taps pouring craft beer and more than 50 brands available by bottle. The menu offers a mix of American fusion.

This is the third Yard of Ale planned for the Tampa Bay area. The first opened on Howard Avenue in South Tampa. Yard of Ale Gastro Pub, now open at 4 p.m. weekdays and at noon on the weekends, will be open for lunch starting in the new year, O'Connor said. A third Yard of Ale is slated to open in downtown St. Petersburg in the former Bishop Tavern space.

Yard of Ale, along with the MacDinton's brand, was founded by the JWC Investment Group, which opened its first location, MacDinton's Irish Pub, in 2002 and will have expanded to seven locations by January.

The nightclub (named Vertigo to take advantage of all the letter V's etched into the place from its Venue days) will be open on the weekends starting this week, but it is not the primary focus, O'Connor said. The investors are still working on the late-night menu and theming, said Diana Homan, director of marketing and special events, but it will be primarily a dance club.

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