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Channelside woos night life; singles seek a match

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By ERNEST HOOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2001


The Friday festivities, were clearly winding down at the Shops at Channelside as midnight approached. A few were trickling into the club at Pop City, but the game room was emptying, and cars were lining up to exit the parking garage.

That may all change next month when Stumps Supper Club opens up across from Pop City. Stumps is promising "Southern cooking, deep-fried dancing . . . and enough tacky decor to fill up 20 double-wide trailers." Cute.

But what intrigues me, other than the corn bread, collards and grits, is the house band. After three months of auditions, Stumps now has a group that will play dance tunes Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. A restaurant with a house band is a first in my Tampa lifetime.

On Thursdays, Stumps will aim for a different crowd by having British Invasion night with a separate house band, the Shaguars, playing all of Austin Powers' favorite songs.

On the other side of the Stumps kitchen will be Howl At The Moon, a dueling piano bar. If it all works, no one will be happier than the Channelside proprietors. The place needs a shot in the arm.

* * *

Lisa Robbins gave her own life a shot in the arm when she moved back to Tampa Bay last year. Instead of waiting for a social circle to find her, the St. Petersburg native made her own by helping young Jews connect.

Last August, Robbins created News For Tampa Bay Jews: a free, monthly e-mail newsletter that publicizes events for Jews in their 20s and 30s. Couples are encouraged to sign on, but the newsletter has become a particular favorite of Jewish singles.

"I think the newsletter has been a tremendous success," Robbins said. "People tell me all the time this has been a wonderful thing for the community. They didn't know how much we needed it."

Interested subscribers or people who want to publicize events should send their names, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers to newsfortbjews@aol.com. More than 200 have signed up, and Jewish mothers everywhere are smiling about that.

* * *

My friends are not smiling about one aspect of the Shops at Channelside. You have to park at the east end of the shops and then walk all the way back west to go around the stores facing the street and reach the courtyard. The walk will undoubtedly seem shorter when the stores begin to fill with merchants.

* * *

An informal survey Friday at Jackson's, the city's best place to kick off the weekend, resulted in some unusual suggestions for singles trying to enhance their chances of meeting that special someone. Beth said she was immediately attracted to any guy with a dog.

Brigitte likes a guy "with energy," while Bobbie thinks turtlenecks are sexy. And in a boost for all of you Poindexters out there, Kristin likes a guy who wears glasses. Carlos chimed in that he likes girls with nice nails. Maybe guys do care about cuticles.

* * *

I don't know about manicures, but my wife said we're going to start saving up money for the baby by cutting out pedicures.

"In another month, I won't be able to see my toes," she reasoned.

* * *

- Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or Hooper@sptimes.com. His column appears on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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