Browse the Straw Market. Enjoy a libation in the bar overlooking the sandy beach. Dance to live music. A Caribbean vacation? No. Welcome to the new restaurant and bar, Beach Bums, in downtown Eustis.
Business partners and co-owners of Sand Bar in Tavares, Roger Kooser and Travis Senning, are the masterminds behind the Beach Bums concept.
"We used to come here when it was Turkleton's Tavern. We'd play pool and air hockey and talk about what we would do with this space if we owned it. We never thought the opportunity would happen, and when it did, we went for it, said Kooser. "We wanted to create a place that was reminiscent of 1960s/70s beach experience. Think Beach Boys, boardwalks, beach parties."
The Beach Bums Bar, located at 12 Bay Street, is housed in what was originally an orange packing facility, then an auto repair shop, Turkleton's Tavern, and most recently, Rhythms. The 100 year-old cavernous building has old brick interior walls and a wood ceiling which add a sense of warmth to the space.
A few flat screen TVs are strategically placed throughout the bar, ready to broadcast the latest sporting event. Tables and conversational areas, with comfy sofas, give the bar a cozy feeling. Loading bays open directly onto the beach, giving customers front row seats to watch the action and listen to the live entertainment.
The owners named the beach "Kokomo," inspired by the Beach Boys song of the same name. The large rectangular courtyard has palm trees, and soon, sand will be added along with a fire pit and beach furniture. A few old boats are scattered around for additional seating and dining, and a performance stage will showcase live music on weekends.
Co-owner Senning, who is the executive chef commented, "We are offering some menu items featuring foods that were popular in the '60s and '70s, like fondue served in a variety of ways, and we will toast s'mores out by the fire pit."
"Besides the fondue menu, we will offer a bar menu, and Rocco and Rita Gaglioti, the former owners of Casa Mia in Tavares, are opening Rocco's Italian Deli in the Beach Bums complex," Kooser added. "Rounding out the concept, there is the Sloop John B Cigar Lounge--another nod to a Beach Boys songs--and a Straw Market with stalls like you see when you get off the cruise ship in the Bahamas. Eventually, a package liquor store will be added," continued Kooser.
Beach Bums is scheduled to officially open on Saturday, February 13. In keeping with the beach party theme, Kooser and Senning have scheduled a Beach Boys tribute band to kick off the inaugural event. The following Saturday, February 20, the Mount Dora Boomerz will hold their reunion concert and fundraiser to benefit K9S FOR WARRIORS.
Senning summed up the Beach Bums experience, "We have created a space that will make people feel like they have gone on vacation while they are still close to home."
By Jane Trimble, senior writer
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Hours: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m. to midnight.
Fri. & Sat.,11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Dining: Every day 11 a.m. to 11p.m.
www.BeachBums Eustis.com, will be up soon.