It has been two and a half years since beloved concert venue New World Brewery shut down in Ybor City — an eternity for Tampa Bay music lovers.
Finally, the wait is nearly over.
New World Brewery plans to reopen at its new Tampa location near Busch Boulevard next week, manager Dean Rosenberger said Thursday.
The much larger space at 810 E Skagway Ave. will feature an expanded concert venue for concerts and special events, as well as a more ambitious food menu courtesy of chef Michael Ayoub, formerly of the Refinery and Fodder & Shine.
But many of the hallmarks of old New World, from an outdoor concert patio to Simpsons pinball and paraphernalia, will be there waiting for old regulars.
The opening is “certainly way past when we thought it would happen,” Rosenberger said, and there’s still work to be done. An expanded 300-capacity concert room, separate from the bar and restaurant, won’t be ready until later this spring.
“The big reason for the move — aside from having to move and wanting to own the property — was to be able to do ticketed events outside the patio, because we got tired of charging everybody to come in for pizza and beer when there’s a band playing that they don’t necessarily know about,” Rosenberger said. “So now we’ll have a separate venue side where we can continue doing all the music and booking.”
New World Brewery closed in Ybor in 2017 after more than 22 years in business, nudged from its home on E Eighth Ave. by condo and retail development. In the old spot, it hosted concerts by almost every local band of note, as well as performances by then-unknown national acts artists like My Morning Jacket, TV on the Radio, Animal Collective and the Decemberists.
The new location has history, too — before New World, it operated as reggae nightclub Tropix. Long before that, it was a German restaurant and biergarten known as the Matterhorn. Among the artists who’ve performed in the building over the years: Percy Sledge in 1994. Otherwise, it’s far from the beaten path of Ybor.
“It’s a surprisingly quiet street,” Rosenberger said. “We met all the neighbors, and they’re all pretty excited about it.”
Ayoub’s menu will feature a bigger array of salads ($9-$12), pizzas ($11 and up), sandwiches ($11-13), entrees ($16 and up) and more. Rosenberger said they plan to resume their weekend brunches soon.
Behind the bar, New World will have another face familiar to the local food and drink scene will be behind the bar: Charlie Doan, formerly of shuttered Ybor cocktail joint Fuma Bella.
New World is planning a grand opening party at 4 p.m. Wednesday, featuring all-you-can-eat pizza and a couple of drinks for $35 per person. On Feb. 14, New World will stage its annual talent show hosted by Valentine’s Day regulars the Love Doctors.
Based on all the inquiries New World staff has gotten about the reopening over the last couple of years, Rosenberger suspects both events will be packed.
“You try to not go out as much, so you don’t get asked that question too many times,” he said. “That’s another reason why we haven’t announced an opening until now, is we wanted to tone it down a little. The last day we were open (in Ybor City) was just nuts, and I have a feeling it’s going to be like that again.”