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Artsy Sports Bar to Open Next to NAPA

Entrenpreneur Paul Medrano hopes to have Red Star Rock Bar open within 60 days.

Sports bar, classic rock, and art.

Do they go together? And in Seminole Heights?

Paul Medrano wants to find out by opening Red Star Rock Bar at 5210 N Florida Ave., tentatively within 60 days.

Red Star will occupy a 1,040 square foot storefront right next to a pending. The for locating in the heart of Seminole Heights' burgeoning restaurant and retail scene. Medrano hopes Red Star's unusual concept will be welcomed more by a neighborhood that has a track record of embracing independently-spirited
restaurants and shops.

“It will have more of a hip lounge feel to it,” Medrano said, “as opposed to a typical sports bar or wing house. We're not looking for the dollar beer crowd. We want what I see as more of a bohemian crowd. A little more intellectual banter.”

Sure, there will be plenty of sports channels on flat screen TVs. But Medrano said the décor will be dominated by the works of local artists, with monthly art shows and wine tastings planned. The ceiling will be painted black, the concrete floor gun metal gray with a giant red star. The pool table with have leopard print felt, and there will be lots of red velvet and red stars all over.

The strains of a Pac Man video game and pinball machine will compete with the din of classic rock.

Out back, the din will be more like Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone. There Medrano is planning a patio deck where he hopes to have food trucks pull up and sell their wares. No kitchen is planned for Red Star.

Medrano said he doesn't want Red Star to start out serving liquor, and is currently in the permitting process to just sell wine and beer. But after six to nine months, he said, “We'll definitely explore getting (a full liquor license). I'd love to serve martinis there.”

Medrano also publishes Boss magazine, which highlights the local art and fashion scenes.


Charlie February 24, 2012 at 09:39 PM
An ardent supporter of the esoteric and the entrepreneurial ... I'm quite intrigued! It may or may not be a place for me, but I welcome a unique new establishment.
Dan G February 25, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I'm truly encouraged to see the renaissance of Seminole Heights start back up after 5 years of stagnation.
Wendy February 27, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Dan- in the past 5 years several businesses have opened up. Ella's, Independent, Refinery, Cappy's, Reservations, A Modern Line, D&D Antiques, Mikey's, Southern Wine and Brewing, Mermaid Tavern and I'm sure there are a few I'm missing. Seminole Height's business community is thriving and has been. The neighborhood has never gone stagnant in either the residential or commercial segment. Our progress might not be as quick as some would hope for and we might have to fight harder today then we did 5 years ago for progress in regards with support from the city but we've been slowing plugging along as I'd expect we'll continue to do.
Shawn Hicks February 27, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Wendy, to add to that, there is even more unmet demand for resident-serving business in Seminole Heights. Just look at the lines at our restaurants and pubs in the area. Ellas always has a line; the Independent is consistently busy; the Mermaid filled right up quickly and has been going strong since they opened. These lines all say the same thing: Seminole Heights has more customer demand than businesses to fulfill that demand. That's a sign that our commercial revitalization efforts are working.
Sharmila Duncan April 24, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Any new updates on the opening of Red Star? I hope soon! Looking forward to the addition in the neighborhood.
Cara Greenblatt Davis June 22, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Any news here? UC posted on this today on Facebook....
Cara Greenblatt Davis July 14, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Still waiting for their liquor license?
joe julius September 05, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Is it just me or do we seem to be attracting too many free standing bars? i thought our goals were more of a soho (s howard ave) with a good mix of retail, coffee houses, and especially restaurants and not more of the 7th ave in ybor city trend. i personally don't want another ybor city party district in my own back yard.... is itjust me or should i sell now and move to south tampa? we should choose wisely on our direction.... napa, family dollar, salemi's and we are different from the other ghettos how? if everyone wants another 7th ave party zone i guess i could find a nice drug dealer, stripper, or hoochie mama to sell my house to that way which ever one buys can walk to work on florida ave.... ?
joe julius September 05, 2012 at 11:25 AM
if too many rules have to be broken, overlooked, or bent in order to open a bar, maybe it's not a good location for a bar the red star rock bar.... no parking (empty lot belongs to state and the state should not show favortism to a single owner esp a business that will encourage drinking and driving which they are so against), i'm sure fire codes and specs are not to code for a bar in that location....
joe julius September 05, 2012 at 11:37 AM
please send me feed back on the above, i would like to know if i stand alone on this before i go to the zoning hearing to oppose the red star and other bar only businesses moving into the area.... reastaurants that serve liquor i'm cool with, bars that only offer drunks until the wee hours of the night i am not. to see what i mean drive down s howard ave on a fri or sat between 10pm and midnight, then drive down 7th ave (if you can) during the same time frame..... i really hate to see beloved seminole heights go the way of 7th ave (ybor city party distrcit)
Brian Bosco September 23, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I am a partner in Domani Bistro, which just recently opened in Seminole Heights, and also a partner in Red star. Please stop in to Domani and experience our atmosphere and vibe. We are striving for that similar feel over at Red Star. It will be an artsy, eclectic, fun neighborhood stop. We are only filing for a beer and wine license, and will be open until 11 on weekdays and 1 am on Friday and Saturday. I would love to meet you and talk before the hearing. Domani has only been open one month and we employ nearly 30 people in our neighborhood. Small mom and pop lounges and restaraunts only helping to grow the neighborhood. Bosco, Domani Bistro-Lounge
Chuck Stephens September 23, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I'm uncomfortable with another bar in the area. I'm also uncomfortable with comments like “It will have more of a hip lounge feel to it,.. We're not looking for the dollar beer crowd. We want what I see as more of a bohemian crowd. A little more intellectual banter.” Is this a business that will serve the whole neighborhood or just the same slim demographic as all the other newer businesses? How can we get concerned about the potential problems that a discount store will bring yet not be concerned about another bar, especially another bar without adequate parking?
Chuck Stephens September 23, 2012 at 01:15 AM
BTW if anyone is concerned about the sane development of our neighborhood check us out at facebook.com/shredseminoleheights Seminole Heights Residents for Equality and Discourse (SHRED) is here to offer a counterpoint to local development issues with a focus on the needs and concerns of the residents of Seminole Heights.
Brian Bosco September 23, 2012 at 02:19 AM
We will be showcasing various local artists, and photographers work while serving craft and micro-brew beers, and a eccentric wine selection. It will be perfect for the bohemian crowd. I agree that discount stores are not the way to go for Seminole Heights, it is discouraging that my neighbors are opposing any small business in our area. It will be a new fun place to have intellectual conversation and relax a few blocks from home. If anyone would like to talk i really would like to explain our business plan in person to assure everyone in the community that it will be a great addition to our growing culinary corridor.
joe julius September 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I have already gone to domani's.... it was okay, but not impressive.... atmosphere was bland, cow au him too salty... but was clean and friendly staff... will I go back.... maybe but if it supports another business that becomes a nussience to the neighborhood.... definitely not!'
joe julius September 23, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Coq au vin.... dam spell correct. look at the parking situation at independent.... if I lived on that street I would be pissed with all those cars parked along the street. I already went through that problem with a previous neighbor and their parties... don't know which was the bigger headache... not being able to park iny own driveway or having to call the police and towing companies to have people remove their vehicles out of my driveway and off of my grass....
Chuck Stephens September 23, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I'm not opposing 'any small business' in our area- I just think we have enough bars. I actually think Family Dollar would serve more of my neighbors needs than the business you are opening. Not everyone want's to have 'intellectual conversation' while they drink beer but everyone I know needs cleaning supplies, health and beauty aids and housewares. I was living in Ybor City when the carpetbaggers swept in and I don't want to see it happen here.
Sierra Henry September 23, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Before anyone invested into red star the back of the building was an over grown eye sore. I helped to clean the area myself and there were tin foil pipes and bottle after bottle of 32 oz beers, it was quite obvious there had been several homeless people living there at one point or another we literally found bags of what I can only assume was human feces it was disgusting! the last thing this neighborhood needs is another vacant building that is not being taken care of! I manage Domani Bistro Lounge and although I do disagree with your views on Red Star that has nothing to do with Domani and we do hope to see back!
Sierra Henry September 24, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Today I spoke a little further with the owner of Red Star and it seems like the renovations he and his partner are planning for the building are going to look amazing inside and out IF the community would allow them to move forward! Every day I read these post online and over hear banter from this community talking about 'we don’t want Starbucks, we don’t want more bars, we don’t want family dollar.' so I guess that leaves me with the question what exactly is this community looking for in all these empty building that are falling apart, and empty lots that are not being tended to???
Shawn Hicks September 24, 2012 at 02:30 PM
After the Bungalow Bistro opened, the neighborhood associations got together and came up with a policy on liquor licenses that seemed to strike a good balance between the various community interests and businesses. As Brian Bosco states above, that agreement is closing at 11pm except on Friday/Saturday nights, plus extended holiday weekends. There are also limits on the hours of outdoor music. The Independent has not created much of a traffic issue until the new Family Dollar went under renovation and the lot was closed. It looks like the two businesses will share parking again. The current parking situation is temporary. This sort of thing is common in urban neighborhoods and it's just one of the things we'll have to compromise on if we want more resident-serving businesses of any sort here. Sierra, there is always a push back against gentrification of any area. The whole "those people" arguments are an unfortunate consequence. The real answer to your question is that Seminole Heights is the largest neighborhood in the city of Tampa and has room for all sorts of businesses that cater to all sorts of people... even "those people"--whoever they are. Provided a business meets city code and is a good neighbor to both the businesses and residents, the majority of Seminole Heights will support them.
Sierra Henry September 24, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Thanks Shawn! I know Red Star plans on being a good neighbor to their neighboring business and residents, and just so there is no confusion on what I was saying and who I was saying it to, I was talking to and asking the community as a whole, I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say 'those people'. I don’t want to lump anyone into 1 category, but I do appreciate your feedback on the issue!
paul medrano September 25, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Parking for the RedStar as in any urban village setting..(that's what the city calls Seminole heights) will be provided by neighboring business for after hours parking ,per a lease so that there is no parking in the streets like south Tampa...the lot next to redstar goes through a process with the state that shows no favoritism..but when you have someone knocking on your door that is who you address.. if you want to watch the Rays game, Gators,FSU,USF or Lighting or Bucs..they will have many TVs for the sports fan. the theme of rock star will be throughout all painted by our local artist...with wine tastings and cigar tasting...catch your local dj plying down tempo, metropolitan sounds on given night and sounds of Sinatra on the patio as you enjoy a glass of wine, a good cigar and hopefully a good martini.Seminole Heights are a group of eclectic business that cater to great group of people that will never mistake Seminole Heights with Ybor or South Tampa ..Seminole Heights stands on its own and RedStar hopes to build on that.-Paul Medrano
Alex Zinner September 27, 2012 at 02:14 PM
The real fact of the matter is that the city of Tampa is not large enough to accommodate parking for its neighborhoods. This is in large part due to the fact that there are so many prospering businesses in the city. The city's manner to which they determine parking limits is archaic and outdated. While I disagree with above comments of Seminole Heights being the biggest neighborhood in Tampa, I do agree it is experiencing a resurgence in both population growth and business growth. What I don't understand is how the area of Seminole Heights is "pushing back against gentrification of the neighborhood." If there is one neighborhood in Tampa that would be open to trying this new way of spreading culture, I thought it would be Seminole Heights. I'm honestly shocked by the backlash the propietors of Redstar have received over this. I would like to think the community of Seminole Heights would be more open minded to having a new business that attracts interesting people willing to wax intellectual. To hear this from community members is discouraging to any person, or persons, trying to open up a new business. If you want your area to prosper, you should be more willing to take a wait-and-see approach. Don't judge a book by its cover. And perhaps consider what kind of good it will bring to the area, and don't jump to conclusions before you have all your facts.-Alex Zinner
Alex Zinner September 27, 2012 at 02:59 PM
You might not stand alone in this, but your comments on the matter is more than discouraging to your fellow neighbors than it is anything else. These rants sound like somebody who is contempt with his neighborhood. If you're trying to be more like SoHo, then try to acclimate to their style of pleasure. Don't hate on the people trying to do your community good.-Alex Zinner
Alex Knez October 03, 2012 at 08:39 AM
Anything would look better then the empty building it is now. I am glad the lot has been cleaned up, and am excited for a new place in my area.
Alex Zinner November 13, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I live in South Tampa, and we have a Napa, a family dollar, and a Salemi's. Do you consider those establishments to make your neighborhood a "ghetto"? I don't. I consider multiple liquor and gun stores as a clear indicator of "ghettos."
Dr. Francine Odio February 15, 2013 at 12:47 AM
It would be great to have a more "family friendly" restaurant. We visit Sabrosos aka "Tasty" & have suggested an outdoor deck in the back with an area where kids can have a play area- like outside of the Columbia downtown behind The forum. We go there often with other families who have kids and eat, have sangria etc. when the kids get restless they can go climb around the playscape & we can still see them. I know a lot of us would welcome that.
Paul Streicher June 06, 2013 at 05:23 AM
I only heard about this bar from a friend who told me about just the other day. He saw the painting on the wall and had to turn around and go back to take a picture of it. He was interested in what it meant. I then took the time to drive over and take a look. My first impression is the establishment is in too narrow of a part of a building to not be over crowded if this takes off. Now then after reading the comments posted by one of the owners I do not understand the 'Rock' draw of the painting and the name if there is not going to be any rock music or live rock music for that fact. Or, will there be? My only hope is that the business will benefit the community with jobs of course and a place to go and relax and actually be able to talk without too much volume from the music drowning out any possible enjoying communication. I for one do not like loud places and will not go to them if I have to shout to communicate with someone. Well, let's hope for the best shall we.

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