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sidelines“We believe it starts with customer service,” says owner Laurie Whitaker. “We truly seek to make friends with our customers and encourage new friendships between our customers. We create an environment that people are comfortable enough to step out of their shells. Our bartenders know their customers and everyone has their spot at the bar. It’s a very “Cheers”-like atmosphere. In addition, we have stayed true to who we are: a gay sports bar.”   

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Although Sidelines Sports Bar had announced back in August 2012 that it would be moving from its current location on Wilton Drive after six years in business to a new and larger location where the former “Jib Room” was once located, that move will no longer happen. 

After signing the new lease and working with general contractors, architects, and the City of Fort Lauderdale, events that took the vast majority of last year, it was brought to the attention of Laurie Whittaker, Owner of Sidelines Sports Bar, that past renovations done to the then “Jib Room” were done so without permits, and not done up to code standards.  She was told by the City of Fort Lauderdale that the current space would have to be brought back up to code in order to continue with her plans for the future home of Sidelines Sports Bar.  It was also brought to her attention that the parking lot behind the property which was included in her lease was in fact not owned by the current property owner, and could not be used in her future plans.  All of these factors, along with the loss of thousands of dollars due to delays, setbacks, and misrepresentation by the building’s owner have made it clear from a business perspective that Sidelines Sports Bar will remain on Wilton Drive for many years to come.

Upon hearing this news, which I consider to be exciting, I had the opportunity to sit down with owner, Laurie Whitaker , her life partner Jeanette Mojica (Jennifer Morales) and Marketing Consultant Andrew Lord for this Hotspots interview:

What makes Sidelines so successful after all these years?

sidelines3“We believe it starts with customer service,” says owner Laurie Whitaker. “We truly seek to make friends with our customers and encourage new friendships between our customers. We create an environment that people are comfortable enough to step out of their shells. Our bartenders know their customers and everyone has their spot at the bar. It’s a very “Cheers”-like atmosphere. In addition, we have stayed true to who we are: a gay sports bar.”

There have been rumors circulating the last year or so, is there anything you want to say about them?

“First I would like to say that I own the Sidelines Sports Bar 100% and always have,” said Laurie Whitaker. “There is a case still ongoing and the heart of the issues have not even been addressed or adjudicated. I refuse to partake in or participate in the dissemination of lies, half-truths and/or gossip as I feel it’s detrimental to our community. Anyone who knows me knows that they are dealing with someone straightforward, honest and someone who holds herself to high standards of integrity.”

I hear you are going to do some major renovations, what can we expect?

Sidelines will continue to be the fun and friendly bar with the great staff it has always had. Visually the experience will be much different, dramatically different, inside and out. Stay tuned for more details.

When will the renovations be complete?

Sidelines, in keeping with its sports theme, will make sure all the renovations will be complete and that we will reopen before the 2013 NCAA and NFL football season. We are planning on closing for only two weeks and we will give our clientele advance notice as to when we will close.

What’s ahead for Sidelines?sidelines4

Jeanette said, “We have always believed in this community and have supported it and we will continue to do so. The more support we receive from the community, the more support we will be able to give back. In the 7 years we have been open, we have given back over $500,000 and we can’t wait for that number to reach $1,000,000.”

“Stay tuned to new and exciting promotions once we renovate,” said Andrew Lord.

“You won’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate the new Sidelines,” said Laurie Whitaker.

For more information on Sidelines visit their website at: SidelinesSports.com

 

 

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