Originally written and reported by Alex Tiegen May 13, 2011
Damon Fowler stood on stage on the first floor of 6229 Grand Blvd. on May 6 and played a cover of “Today I Started Loving You Again.”
“Today I started loving you again,” he sang while playing a modified Fender Telecaster guitar. “And I’m right back where I’ve really always been.”
It was the Damon Fowler Group’s first show at the new home of , and Fowler strummed as bass guitar and drums accompanied him.
Stilettos Nightclub walked out of the downtown building earlier this year. The blue glow of an electric "Cocktails" sign outside the building now welcomes you to drink up.
Owner Frank Golino moved Cocktails, which his wife Margie Golino manages, from its previous location at 5354 Grand Blvd for nights like May 6, when live performers and three bars full of alcohol can tempt patrons off the streets and onto the dance floor. There are also wide-screen HD TVs, pool tables, foos ball and arcade games to tempt patrons.
The new location is larger than Cocktails’ previous address, about 2,500 square feet larger, and the rent is comparable to that of his previous establishment. It’s more like a club than his last establishment, which was more like a pub. He can feature live entertainers like Damon Fowler, Sean Chambers and Nation and draw in foot traffic from the festival crowds and crawlers from the street.
Frank signed the lease in early March and opened up shop on March 25, the evening before the Chasco Fiesta street parade.
“We found out at 2:30 the day before the Chasco Parade that we had the OK to open the door,” he said.
They opened at 5 p.m. that night. They served their last drinks at their former location the Monday morning before they opened the new location. They’re now working toward a grand opening. Frank is first trying to move a 52-foot bar of brass, blue glass and installed with blue neon into the new place.
Frank and Margie, who live in Port Richey, have run Cocktails for more than seven years now. They grew up in the same neighborhood in Monroe Township, N.J. Margie’s mom babysat Frank and his brother. Frank’s sister babysat Margie and her sister.
They lived separate lives and were born 3.5 years apart, never really forming a relationship even though they were geographically close as children. In 2000, Frank’s friend died in a car crash. The man happened to be Margie’s cousin, and Margie was at the funeral. In 2002, Frank was working as a loan officer in New Jersey and got a call from a mortgage recruitment company in Florida interested in offering him a job. Later, he got a call from a woman with the company.
“’If you have any questions, feel free to call me,'" he recalls her saying, sitting inside his bar one May afternoon. “And she gave me her name. And it was Margie.'"
Margie, who owned the business, had seen his name in the company files and was having fun with him. She flew up to New Jersey and spent time with him. He eventually moved to Florida. On March 28, 2004, they opened Cocktails at 5354 Grand Blvd.
When they moved downtown, they brought some of their old clientele and their old acts, like Fowler.
“Old place, new place,” Fowler said. “Doesn’t matter. It’s Frank and Margie"
Cocktails is open for business.
Here's how to find out more online:
- Cocktails Website http://www.cocktailsnpr.com/
- Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/venue/cocktailsnpr
- Doors open: Mon-Fri, 3 p.m. Sat-Sun, noon
- Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Two-for-one wells & $10 domestic buckets
- Last Call: 1:30 a.m.
- Doors Close: 2 a.m.
Weekly Goings On
- Monday: Beer Pong. $5 entry
- Wednesday: Sink or Swim Jam Session, 9 p.m.-1 a.m. $10 cover.
- Mon-Thurs: Rotating Button Club specials
- Thursday: Two-for-one wells. Calls and shot specials
- Friday: Live music.
- Sunday during Nascar season: Watch Nascar on TV and enjoy $10 dom buckets, shot specials, $1 sabretts