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Race-themed bar to kick into Gear

By MICHAEL CANNING, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 17, 2002

DUDE! YOUR CHAIR came from a Chevy 350! Some will roll their eyes at yet another theme bar hitting Ybor City. Others will want to pull the Sparcos on tight and gun it til their Flowmasters crack.

7th Gear will be Ybor's first race-themed bar. Scheduled to open June 4, co-owner Richard Cruz hopes it will become a gathering place for gearheads of all stripes. Harley-Davidson, NASCAR, import motorcycle, and an invited car club are among the proposed nightly themes.

The empty lot next door will be used for car and motorcycle shows. Inside, the decor will include a bar back done up like a dashboard, vehicles and parts hanging from the walls and ceiling, and even chairs fashioned from transmission housings. A small menu of munchies will be offered along with a full liquor bar.

Cruz' commute should improve somewhat. He's also the owner of La Cueva nightclub, just across the street.

A FEW BLOCKS WEST: The conspicuous empty space at 1533 E Seventh Ave., where Sweet Charity/Dog Eat Dog clothing store once flew their subculture fashion flag, may finally be filled in.

The lot was gutted by a 1996 fire. Lost was the decade-old business that extended Ybor's edgy, artsy 80s vibe into the bar-boom 90s. Now a banner states that a two story retail/office building will be "available summer 2002." Each floor will have 2,755 square feet, with a balcony and rooftop terrace.

Marchelle LaMaster of Florida Executive Realty says that a couple of tenants are interested but noted that building issues with the Barrio Latino are pending.

FAR EAST WHEELS: Maybe a part of you pines for the empire's glory days in the East Indies. Maybe you just like your locomotion to be a direct result of another human being's physical toil.

Whatever the case, that fetching wicker rickshaw with detachable bonnet that caught your eye on South MacDill is the clever mascot for Rickshaw Garden.

Opening three weeks ago at 2120 S MacDill Ave., the 700 square foot shop sells eclectic garden furnishings, ceramic and terra cotta wares, Indonesian lazy chairs, botanical and other indoor/outdoor accoutrements from exotic locales.

FAR EAST MEALS: Well, sort of. The new Peking, at Manhattan Avenue and El Prado Boulevard, boasts "delicious New York style" Chinese food, plus a relatively late night alternative for Virginia Park.

The fusion with American cuisine on the extensive menu is a little more pronounced than with most Chinese restaurants on our shores. Lots of fried items, like chicken wings, fish, scallops, shrimp, plus barbecue spare ribs can help sooth those who think lo mein is too exotic. Free delivery on orders more than $15.

THE SHOW GOES ON: After several weeks of delays, the movie theaters at Britton Plaza reopened this week as Britton Cinema 8. The Atlanta-based movie chain Entertainment Film Works spent about $400,000 renovating them.

The long-struggling theaters, which date back to 1952, were closed by Regal Cinemas a little over a year ago. Currently showing: Ice Age, Changing Lanes, Scorpion King, Unfaithful, the Rookie, Life or Something Like It.

DRUGS, LAWYERS AND CELL PHONES have further infiltrated South Tampa.

Statscript Pharmacy/Chronimed recently moved into one of three new office suites at Swann Avenue and Henderson Boulevard. A cellular phone company is likely to join them this summer, according to Rich Holder of Commercial Asset Managers, the building's developer.

As for the third suite, "We've had lots of conversations with lots of people," he said.

Among them: retailers, lawyers and title offices.

Lawyers are about to move into 202 S. Rome Ave., at the southeast corner of Rome and Cleveland Street. Half the space will be leased to Allen, Dell, Frank and Trinkle. The firm should move in by the end of August, said Cheryl Conner, leasing agent with Bay Villa Developers.

Conner said another law firm is considering leasing the other half of the building, but nothing's been finalized. For more information, call 247-4949.

- Do you know something that should be Everybody's Business? Call 226-3382, or e-mail

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