Satellite Beach sports bar has a pandemic-inspired name


Could a place that opened in 2020 have a better name than Bar & Grill at social distance?

“It will always stay in your head,” said co-owner James Jacobsen. “For St. Patrick’s Day, we made Social McDistance t-shirts.”

Smokers are relegated to the Quarantine Tiki Bar at the back.

The sports bar opened quietly in October. Jacobsen said he didn’t want it to be too crowded during the pandemic. Over the past six months, it has become a local hangout, with people stopping for a burger or to watch the game.

Even on a sunny spring Tuesday, it’s dark and brooding inside, with plenty of TVs tuned to sports and a few patrons sipping beer and eating fries. It’s been less than a year, but it feels like a longtime hangout.

“With each passing month, we just get better and better,” he said.

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Jacobsen, who also owns the neighboring Red Leopard adult entertainment club, said the social distancing came about by accident. The space, formerly occupied by the Sports Page, had been empty for over a year.

James Jacobsen opened the Social Distance Bar & Grill at Satellite Beach in October.

He and his partners cleaned up the place, remodeled the washroom and kitchen, and set up a large stage for music five nights a week.

“We are working hard to be a concert hall,” he said.

He hopes to have a well-known act at least once a month, as well as weekly humorous nights, jam sessions and karaoke.

Social Distance is open every day from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. The kitchen is open all the time, serving dishes such as The Distance ($ 20), a pound of ground beef cooked to order and sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon and tomato; a shrimp platter ($ 14) with half a pound of fried, grilled, charred or Buffalo-style shrimp, served with fries and dip; and fried pork egg rolls ($ 8).

The Social Distance Bar & Grill has live music five nights a week.

Kitchen schedules give Satellite Beach residents a nighttime option other than driving to Cocoa Beach or crossing the Pineda Causeway to Wawa, Jacobsen said.

The past year has not been easy for bars and restaurants, said Jacobsen, who has been in the business for more than 30 years. The Red Leopard was closed for four months in 2020. The hotel workforce has been depleted.

“We’ve been trying to hire cooks for a month,” he said.

But he’s optimistic about the future of a sports bar called Social Distance.

“I think this place will always be fine,” he said.

Social Distance Bar & Grill at Satellite Beach has only been open for a few months, but it has the dark, whimsical vibe of a long-standing hangout.

Bar & Grill at social distance is at 220 State Road A1A, Satellite Beach. Call 321-600-4224 or visit The hours are from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

E-mail [email protected].

Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard

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