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Bradley’s on 7th (1510 E. 7th Ave., Tampa), the Ybor City nightlife staple that attracts large crowds every weekend, is getting ready to welcome one of their biggest crowds ever as they prepare for their fourth anniversary party. It will start at 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 7. At that time, there will be a pleasant surprise for everyone who decided to arrive early. We can’t reveal the secret but it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss.

The queens that you know and love from Bradley’s will be performing on the divas stage, and Bradleys_copy1there will be a special guest as well. Two shows will be performed, at 11:30 p.m. and 1:15 a.m., hosted by the First Lady of Ybor City, Joey Brooks. Coming up for the anniversary celebrations is South Florida legend and former Miss Florida F.I. Tiffany Arieagus, who will be performing at both shows. “We only get to see her on special occasions, so we are super excited that [Tiffany] will be here to help us celebrate,” said Bradley’s on 7th owner Bradley Nelson. “The entire show that night will be extra special.”

I talked with Bradley Nelson about Bradley’s celebrating four years in Ybor, and what’s coming next.

Last year you said that Bradley’s exceeded all your dreams with regard to how well business has been. Was this past year even better?

Absolutely! This past year was a unbelievable year. Business keeps growing and growing, and even exceeded my wildest dreams.  And once you have exceeded your wildest dreams….what do you do then? There are so many questions at that point. Do you dream bigger? Make new dreams? I haven’t found that answer yet. The only definitive answer I can give for sure, is that when you exceed all your dreams…be thankful!

What was your favorite moment from this past year?

Bradleys_copy3That’s a tough question. But it was probably when I realized that Bradley’s has now become known all across the U.S.

In the same week, I had friend who lives in Atlanta that works for AT&T Wireless text me and tell me she just had customer come in and needed to sign something. She let him use one of my Bradley’s on 7th pens. She said he stared at the pen and asked where she got it. She said that Bradley was a friend of hers. She said he got all excited and said he loves going to Tampa, just so he can go to Bradley’s because it is so much fun.

Then two days later, a local regular who travels weekly for work told me that whenever he is out of town, he always goes to the local gay bars. When he meets people and they ask where he is from, and he tells them Tampa, he said they all ask if he ever goes to Bradley’s on 7th. They would say they went there and loved it and had the best time, and they all wish they had a place like Bradley’s. I have to admit that I was impressed. Plus, it made me feel good.

Joey Brooks puts on great shows three nights a week. What’s your favorite part of a Joey Brooks drag show?

Don’t laugh, but honestly, it’s the hour before the show in the dressing room with the drag queens! I have become more educated in that dressing room than I was in college. Those queens are funny, crazy, and simply amazing. The amount of time, money and energy the girls use to make themselves look great for the audience is off the charts.

Are there any more new changes on the horizon for Bradley’s?

We need more space! We use all our space to its full potential and additional space is really not Bradleys_copy2available. So we may have to make some additional space by revisiting how our space is currently used.

Now that we have been open for four years, it is time to do some updates. One is getting the outside patio permanently enclosed, instead of having removable chains. Of course being in a historical district, the Latino Barrio has to approve anything done to the outside of the building, which is not such a easy task.

As far as new theme nights, I am sure there are some changes on the horizon, but nothing set in stone yet. I consider Bradley’s on 7th to be the Switzerland of GaYBOR. Meaning I am neutral and friends with all the other bar owners.  I  try my best to respect them, and they treat me the same way.  For example, Tuesday nights are a great night in GaYBOR with lots of people going out. I would love to do something on Tuesday nights.  However, several of the other bars do very well that night, and if I begin something on Tuesday, it would take away from their business and create animosity.

And if you ask, “Aren’t you in this business to make money? Why would you pass on making money at the expense of a competitor?” The answers are absolutely, and I do make money while remaining Switzerland. And, I do it because that way I’ll still be here for my 20th anniversary.

Bradley’s on 7th is open from 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Monday-Saturday, and from 2:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (813) 241-2723 or visit bradleyson7th.com.