Piano bar to open as soon as mid-summer on Bradenton's Old Main Street

Piano bar coming soon to Old Main Street

jdeleon@bradenton.comMarch 13, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Old Main Street in downtown Bradenton will soon be home to a new piano bar where customers can listen to live music, have a cocktail and even watch sports.

The Bradenton City Commission approved the special use and liquor license application by Bradenton resident and local musician Matt Coates to put a piano-style lounge at 436 12th St. W.

"I like what's going on in Bradenton," Coates said. "I think it's the right time for something like this."

With a name still in the works, Coates hopes to have the lounge open by mid-summer and hopes to appeal to wide spectrum of the community.

"I don't want people to think it's just going to be a piano and a whole bunch of people around it singing Billy Joel," Coates said.

The non-smoking establishment will seat about 50 people. Hours of operation will be from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week. In addition to live music three to five nights a week, the new downtown spot will also feature from eight to 10 large-screen televisions and outdoor seating.

With no kitchen planned, Coates says he is working with neighboring establishment B' Towne and will offer a limited menu.

"It is interesting from what you usually see on Old Main Street," Director of Planning and Community Development Tim Polk said. "It will be more entertainment and probably more geared to older patrons."

The new piano bar will replace the vacancy left when Fisherman Joe's closed in 2011. The former landmark was a family friendly pub and grill that after nearly 20 years of serving Bradenton residents was forced out amidst con


Some local business owners, however, are excited they're getting a new neighbor.

"Of course we were all sad to see Fisherman Joe's go, but I'm always happy to see a new establishment open," said Lou Thomey, co-owner of McCabes Pub. "There is plenty of business for everybody."

Thomey likes the diversity it will bring.

"None of the establishments on Main Street are cookie cutters and we all have something different to offer," Thomey said. "A piano bar sounds like a great addition."

City officials also like what the new lounge promises to offer.

"A little bit of diversity as far as what we want to see on Main Street," Polk said.

Coates, 57 and an Ohio native, relocated to Bradenton three years ago with his wife of 36 years. The two frequented the area over the last decade to visit family and friends and fell in love with the area.

While Coates will be the managing partner, Gary Walczak is also a partner in this venture.

Both businessmen have been bar owners in Ohio. Coates brings with him about 25 years of experience.

A regular performer at Pier 22 and Tara Country Club, Coates plans to have mostly local talent featured.

"There is so much good talent down here I want to showcase," Coates said.

Coates also hopes to keep his lounge affordable for residents.

"We have to keep our alcohol prices in line with downtown," he said.

With approval from the council to operate, Coates is moving forward with the purchasing of his liquor license and construction of the interior.

Jessica DeLeon, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. Follow her at @JDeLeon1012

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