After more than 20 years on Fourth St., Ringside Cafe will relocate to Club Detroit at 16 Second St. N., in downtown St. Petersburg. The news comes after Ringside's landlord informed owner Greg Pugh that the property was going to be sold, along with several others on the 2700 block — to be replaced, rumor has it, by Trader Joe's.
Pugh says the move was facilitated by a conversation between Jannus Live owner Jeff Knight and Mayor Bill Foster (who Pugh says frequents Ringside for lunch).
"Jeff Knight approached me and offered Club Detroit as a space," Pugh told CL Thursday. "It's the perfect answer for us. It's an incredible space for live music and will take Ringside to a whole other level."
Before serving as Vintage Ultra Lounge (which closed earlier this year), Club Detroit was known for hosting such acts as Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rancid and more. The sound system at Club Detroit was recently revamped with over $70,000 of equipment. The move, says Pugh, means Ringside is leaving one historic venue for another.
"We're coming full circle," Pugh said. "We love live music and it's close to our hearts. We've supported it for years and believe in that. We're bringing that to the block."
Ringside's menu is coming along, too, but it will be prepared at Knight's recently acquired Calypso Rum Bar & Island Grille (formerly the Garden) and nearby restaurant The Kitchen.
"It'll be our menu and our products out," Pugh says.
A closing party is planned for the last weekend in November at Ringside's current location.
"This isn't about me," Pugh says. "Ringside works because of itself. Because of the employees and the people that come in and the musicians. I'm not part of the equation, it doesn't work without the other ingredients."
Ringside Cafe will reopen inside Club Detroit on Wednesday, December 4, with music from the Black Honkeys.
"I am proud of what we do," Pugh said. "We've had a lot of the same employees for 15-26 years. One door closes and another opens really is the best description of this situation."