Orlando barpocalypse strikes, local bars close
If you were planning on going out to celebrate the start of a new semester, you'll have slim pickings.
For those who have been out of town or out of commission this summer, the UCF area and Downtown Orlando have undergone some serious changes when it comes to the nightlife scene.
Bars that have closed:
The Mad Hatter shut its doors at the end of July due to a discrepancy over University Commons' towing policy.
The bar released a statement on its Facebook page that it would be closed until further notice.
"As many of you know, University Commons instituted a towing policy in the fall of 2013, which has had a severely negative effect on you, our customers, and our business," the post states. "Ultimately, this unreasonable and unsafe policy, which was instituted by UC, has forced us into taking legal action and, as a result, the Mad Hatter will be closed until further notice. We appreciate the continued support from our loyal customers. Thank you."
In April, The Station Bar and Grill, which was also located in the plaza, closed its doors after citing a disagreement with its landlord. However, it was never made clear if the dispute was regarding the towing policy.
The University Commons Plaza, where The Mad Hatter and the former Station reside, issued the controversial towing policy back in November 2013.
The plaza had signs posted alerting customers that its parking lot was a tow-away zone prior to the implementation of the policy. The policy change meant any cars left after 8 a.m. would be towed, and it would cost $125 to retrieve each vehicle.
The change occurred after property owners witnessed many people using the lot for overnight parking and game-day parking, particularly during the 2013 UConn football game.
In previous interviews with the Central Florida Future, both The Mad Hatter and The Station expressed disapproval of the new policy.
Michael Rubino, former owner of The Station, said he planned to attempt to overturn the towing policy because he believed it would hurt business and encourage drunk driving.
After The Station announced it would close its doors in April, Rubino told the Future that the bar's closing was due to a disagreement with the landlord that could not be resolved.
Roxy, located at the intersection of Bennett Road and Colonial Drive, is also closed and out of business, according to its website.
Bars that will open under new management:
Bar BQ Bar, Eye Spy and Sky Sixty will experience a change in management, but will remain open as bars, possibly under different names and with small tweaks, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Plans for the bars are in the very early stages, but sources told the Sentinel that Bar BQ Bar may be rebranded as "Old 64" and see an expansion it its beer menu, along with other improvements.
Until the new management — which also oversees The Beacham and The Social, according to the Sentinel — takes over, the bars will celebrate their final days.
"We simply couldn't come to terms with the landlord," Bar BQ Bar's website stated regarding why the bars are closing.