When Grog House Bar & Grill officially closed its doors in May, students wondered if this was the beginning of the end for Midtown. They didn’t yet know something new was coming.
Cole Prutz, a 19-year-old UF biomedical engineering sophomore, heard about the Midtown bars that have been replaced by student housing.
“It’s sad to see it go and be at the crossroads of a lot of businesses in Midtown changing ownership, but it’s also a view into the future of Gainesville,” he said. “Life must go on and things change.”
Felicia Suarez-Rogers, a 35-year-old manager at The Social at Midtown, saw students posting on social media about Grog’s closing after 30 years and realized how much they care about keeping local spots alive. With this opportunity, she decided to open a pub in the space.
In its place, Liberty Street Pub will be opening Aug. 11 at 1718 W University Ave.
The pub is named after University Avenue’s original name, Liberty Street. Suarez-Rogers wants the bar to feel like a piece of history, she said.
The original wood bar tops and paneling will be kept as-is, but some necessary renovations have been made. The holes in the walls have been filled, and the bathrooms have been redone.
Despite renovations, it still keeps the spirit and traditions of the bar that came before it. Some cherished traditions will be carried over, including ladies’ night on Wednesday and beat the clock on Fridays and the bar will keep its 18 and over age requirement.
Liberty Street Pub will have something for everyone, Suarez said. From comedy nights to karaoke to drag shows, every night will draw in a different crowd. It was important to her to make sure that the space is LGBTQ-inclusive, she said, and fits the interests of every crowd who enters.
The pub will also have a food menu. Each item will be a different type of grilled cheese inspired by classic bar snacks.
“The idea is to sort of be the everything, in between, catch-all Midtown misfits bar,” she said.
Landon Courtemanche, the 28-year-old future general manager for the establishment, wants to elevate Liberty Pub while still remaining cost-efficient and true to its roots, he said. One addition to the menu will be alcoholic milkshakes.
“I don’t want to make it so overly complicated that it feels like people who would naturally have gone to Grog… feel excluded,” he said. “But I do want to bring a little more fun to it.”
Another added focus of Liberty Street Pub is theme nights. On Wednesdays, GNV Entertainment will be bringing in multiple DJs and themes will be announced through social media, owner Alexander Quintero, 28, said.
Liberty Street Pub will have events every night for every occasion. Starting next month, anybody over the age of 18 is invited to try a grilled cheese and a shake or stay until 2 a.m. by the DJ booth.
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