NewsPinellas County


Historic St. Pete theater reopens under new ownership, new name

Historic theater
Posted at 1:21 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 13:25:12-04

ST. PETE — With concerts continuously being canceled, musicians have had a challenge finding places to play. However, now they have a chance to sing a different tune.

The historic State Theater, dating back to 1924, has just reopened under a new name, The Floridian Social Club.

“This is the last remaining of the old theaters in downtown St. Pete, there were six initially and they’ve all been torn down except for this one,” said owner Kevin Chadwick.

When Chadwick first entertained the idea of restoring the State Theater on Central Avenue he admits he was a little uncertain until he spoke with his mom.

“And she said to me, ‘oh honey that's where your dad and I had our first date,’ and at that point, I didn’t have any choice I had to buy the theater of course,” said Chadwick.

Over the past two and a half years his team has renovated every aspect of the 97-year-old music venue, which had been closed since 2017.

“I wanted to create something that will last the test of time for another 100 years,” said Chadwick.

Chadwick also wanted to retain that nostalgic 1920s feel, and pay homage to all the performers that played the room over the decades.

“We had Jon Bon Jovi, I think Pink has played here, there are so many great acts that started here and moved their way up the ladder,” said Chadwick.

Behind the stage there is even a wall, autographed by many of these artists, including hometown singer Brother Philip Esposito, of The Black Honkeys Band.

“This wall will be in a museum someday,” said Esposito.

The venue reopening is especially heartfelt for Brother Phil, who grew up going to shows there until he ended up performing himself.

“Countless shows, countless smiles, countless good times,” said Esposito.

The Black Honkeys Band even shot their music video, “Icebreaker,” in the theater back in 2014. When they were asked to be the headliner during the grand reopening earlier this month, it was an honor.

What’s most important for Chadwick, is all the new memories and opportunities that will be made for future musicians and fans alike.

“We literally have live music every day of the week, we are only closed on Monday,” said Chadwick. “If you’re a musician out there, and you have a great band and you want to be discovered, call us.”

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