Fort Lauderdale Township sports bar is closing abruptly, paving the way for a Tin Roof live music barbecue this fall – Sun Sentinel
Township Fort Lauderdale – the half-German, half-pub neighborhood pub where tribes of sports fans have come for camaraderie, craft beer and Super Bowl parties – abruptly closed on May 12 after four years in the center -city.
Tim Petrillo, co-founder of The Restaurant People (S3, YOLO, Java & Jam), wasted little time or fanfare in closing Township’s doors: He shut down the bar and deleted Township’s website and social accounts a few hours after selling the lease to Tin Roof, a Nashville-based barbecue and live music chain slated to reopen in that space later this fall.
“We made money with it. It was a good deal for us,” Petrillo told the South Florida Sun Sentinel Friday morning, though he declined to disclose the purchase price. “We are not sad to have closed this store. They offered us a good number, and it was good for both parties.
The sports pub at 219 S. Andrews Ave. in the historic McCrory Building has taken an enviable place downtown: adjacent to the Fort Lauderdale Wharf, Las Olas Boulevard and a host of new residential towers. When it debuted in 2018, Township’s menu relied on German-style bratwursts and pretzels, but also served burgers and fish sandwiches that evoked the comfort food fare of Petrillo’s bygone restaurant, Tarpon Bend.
The bar also served as a college football center, especially for Florida State Seminole sidekicks, Petrillo says. But as college crowds left downtown and young professionals headed for nearby high-rises, the neighborhood’s character gentrified and foot traffic dried up, says Petrillo.
“It’s hard to run a college business in a more upscale downtown area,” says Petrillo, who has owned the building with real estate investor Steven Halmos since 1998. “It’s great to be a sports bar, but it’s also a curse It’s very busy for football and basketball, but during baseball season, low season, there wasn’t as much intensity to go.
Over the next few months, the 6,800 square foot space will be outfitted with a high-end music stage, says Bob Franklin, partner and CEO of Tin Roof. The walls will be redecorated with multicolored reclaimed wood and aluminum siding. The new Tin Roof Fort Lauderdale will employ 50 to 70 full-time staff, including a stable of sound engineers to wire up the music stage for nighttime gigs. This will be Florida’s third Tin Roof bar after opening in Orlando in 2015 and on Delray Beach’s bustling Atlantic Avenue in 2019.
“We have a great location and excellent visibility,” Franklin says of the venue, which seats 220 people inside and on its terrace overlooking Andrews Avenue. “I think Fort Lauderdale has grown a bit, and now there are high-end stores and professionals looking for cool entertainment experiences when they go out. It ticked all of our boxes.
The addition of Tin Roof Fort Lauderdale is a boon to local and national rock and country bands already playing at the venue’s other metro locations in Detroit, New Orleans, San Diego, Baltimore and Memphis, Franklin said.
“We give them one more place to plug into as they browse our Tin Roof network across the country,” he says. “There is always a demand for emerging artists, and that keeps us going.”
Tin Roof’s Nashville-inspired menu will be “nearly identical” to Tin Roof Delray Beach’s, Franklin says. Dishes include hot Nashville chicken, fried pickles, BBQ pulled pork quesadillas, burgers, mac and cheese, and an a la carte taco suite. Their bar offers craft cocktails, draft beers, wines and Red Bull infused drinks.
Tin Roof Fort Lauderdale, at 219 S. Andrews Ave., is set to debut later this fall. Go to TinRoofBars.com.