Gay and Lesbian Sports Bar ‘Sidelines’ to Remain on Wilton Drive
Sidelines Sports Bar won’t be moving after all. The owner, Laurie Whittaker, had previously announced that it would be moving from its current location on Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors to a new and larger location, where the former “Jib Room” was once located, on Oakland Park Boulevard. But it was not to be.
Whittaker called off the move when she learned that her new prospective location was compromised with structural defects and unauthorized renovations that had not been made to code.
“It would not be fair to our customers to move into a venue that was not up to par,” she stated. After signing the new lease and working with general contractors and architects, Whittaker discovered more than one problem. As a result, she made an executive decision, and announced last week that the popular sports bar would be remain at its present location, but be “renovated and revived.”
“They tried to rent me a parking lot as part of the lease that the property owner did not own. We were faced with delays and setbacks that were costing us money,” Whittaker noted. As a result, the bar, named in a national magazine as one of the best LGBT bars in the country, will remain on Wilton Drive, closing briefly in August for renovations to the both the exterior patio and interior facility.
“We will be reopening before the NCAA and NFL Football season’s kickoff games in late August,” Whittaker said. Known for hosting charitable community events and monthly cook-offs, along with its complimentary popcorn and peanuts, the venue has always been a focal point of the Wilton Manors gay community. An ongoing lawsuit over proprietary concerns has not in any way interfered with the club’s popularity as a hospitality hotspot.
Said Whittaker, “For seven years, Sidelines has made a success of the gay sports bar brand and its loyal patrons include both local and out-of-town customers. They have enjoyed the fun and friendly atmosphere, excellent customer service, attention to cleanliness, and a comfortable ambience. “
Whittaker promises that atmosphere will continue for “years to come in a new and vibrant environment that will be as popular as ever.”