Pro Shop Pub

(727) 447-4259 | View Website

840 Cleveland St, Clearwater, FL | Directions   33755

27.965929 -82.794500

Open Hours

7pm.-2am

 
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Pro Shop Pub
Pro Shop Pub
Pro Shop Pub
Pro Shop Pub

Reviews for Pro Shop Pub

Doesn't Recommend
1.0
over a year ago

worst gay bar in america – AWFUL DISGUSTING BAR! if your into men who average the age of 70 then this is your place. Racist bitter and evil people hang here! there is only one bartender thats worth a darn , the other three are horrid. Frequent "N" word is being dropped by racist old men! pissed at the world because they are gay! it smells in there and it is very very dirty and nasty. Do not go to this place you will regret it.................oh and cops hang around it to pull guys over and give them dui's

Recommends
4.0
over a year ago

Oldest gay bar in the state of fl. – History of The Pro Shop Pub

April 23, 2011 St. Pete Times



CLEARWATER — One of downtown's oldest businesses is a nondescript gay bar named the Pro Shop Pub.



Drive too fast on Cleveland Street, east of Myrtle Avenue, and you'll miss it — a garnet outpost, brick and glass block, with only "Pro Shop" in neon lights.



That's by design. The pub's obscurity was a defense mechanism. Decades ago, men who went there braved violent, bigoted attacks. The pub served as a sanctuary.



But it was also something else. Birthed in the disco days of 1976, the pub served as a meeting place. It became one of the few places where its patrons could be themselves.



Today, the bar's gay and straight clientele will gather to toast the pub's 35th year. Dancers and DJs and a small sorority of drag queens will lead the festivities. Bar manager Steven Pearson sent out 300 invitations on the labels of eight-track tapes.



Mike Anderson had dreamed of running a country club before deciding the job would impede his game, he told the Clearwater Sun. Instead, he settled for the next best thing: a small parlor and eatery, a kind of golfers' lounge. It had a deli with hamburgers, hoagies and coleslaw, a football room with a 3-by-5-foot color television, and plans for a pool table and a golf-club repair shop. On the bar, to cement the sports theme, he decoupaged cutouts of star quarterbacks.



But the pub was a dud. Few diners ate at the deli. The lounge was barren. It didn't help that the closest golf course, Clearwater Country Club, was a mile away.



A year later, the Andersons hired a woman named xxxxxx to tend bar. Unbeknownst to them,xxxxxx was a lesbian, and she invited her friends in the gay community over for drinks. Word spread. A gay bar was born.



The Andersons were taken aback, Mike chief among them, Patti Anderson Lux said. But after nights of standing-room-only crowds, the family grew more accepting. Though she was Catholic, Gail Anderson became especially "protective of the gay community," Anderson Lux said. "In her opinion, God loved everybody."



Not everyone was so welcoming. Visitors faced "gay-bashing" in the parking lots, she said. Gail's car was keyed. The Andersons kept the bar modest, swapping windows for hazy glass blocks. Advertising was solely through word of mouth.



The pub was endangered early on. One Monday afternoon in 1980, a drunk man named Donald Casey punched a woman who rejected him.XXXX grabbed a pool cue and ordered him to leave, the Times reported.



Casey returned with gasoline, setting wood paneling ablaze. Patrons doused the flames with water-filled beer pitchers. Casey sent apologetic letters to the bar from a mental hospital, asking to be electrocuted or sent to a communist country, according to the Clearwater Sun. He was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.



But the pub's days of controversy were far from over. In 2001, after ordering from Pizza Hut, some patrons saw that the delivery slip showed a code name for the pub: "some xxx." The pizzeria chain apologized and offered free food, Pearson said. The bar has yet to call it in.



Years earlier, a church group waged a letter campaign against the pub after claiming that a rusty pipe bracket on its roof looked phallic and obscene. Pearson said the pub staff had never looked at it that way.



The furor died down. The pipe still stands.



• • •



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