St. Pete’s New and Improved Cider Press Vegan Gastropub & Patio Bar to Open This Spring | Openings & Closings | Tampa
Patrons of the recently closed Cider Press Cafe will have to spend the first few months of the new year patiently awaiting the launch of the all-new Cider Press Vegan Gastropub and Patio Bar, which is set to open in St. Pete’s historic Kenwood in just some months.
Co-owner Johan Everstijn told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that his construction team just broke ground on the new location this week and is building an entire kitchen from scratch. The space at 3118 3rd Ave. N was home to popular gay club Georgie’s Alibi until it closed in 2015.
Although Everstijn and fellow co-owner Roland Strobel were evicted from their old 600 block location after the landlord failed to honor their lease, the duo are taking the opportunity to reinvent Cider Press into something completely different.
“We want to take this time to transform into something more like a late-night hangout,” Everstijn told CL.
With licenses, permits and construction underway, Everstijn says he’s currently in the kitchen working on the upcoming gastropub’s hearty English menu. While popular dishes from the old location, like shrimp po’boys and burgers, will still be offered in the new Kenwood space, the new location’s menu will be new and unexpected.
“The dishes I’m most excited about are the ones I haven’t made yet,” Everstijn laughs. “I want to focus on some entrees where vegetables are the star, but the menu itself will be full of fun, fun dishes.”
He even consulted friends who live in England to really get to grips with that friendly neighborhood pub atmosphere.
You can expect vegan versions of English dishes like Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Coronation Chicken Salad, Fish and Chips and Chicken Fried Steak on the menu. Cider Press started as an all-raw vegan restaurant in 2016, so its hearty new menu marks significant culinary growth.
While there are no scheduled hours for the new location yet, the focus will be on late-night dining, live entertainment, and a full-service bar stocked with wine, beer and specialty cocktails – brand new territory for Cider Press.
David Fischer, the man behind popular bars St. Pete Cocktail and The Saint, will be responsible for the interior design of the new vegan gastropub.
“Imagine what every vegan restaurant in St. Petersburg looks like…. the new Cider Press will be the opposite of that,” says Everstijn.
Renderings show the 2,275-square-foot restaurant will also feature a small stage inside, which will host a range of entertainment, from karaoke to live music to drag shows. Unfortunately, no live shows will take place on the approximately 400 square foot outdoor patio, due to St. Petersburg’s residential noise ordinance.
Although the interior of Cider Press is Fischer and features “sexy and dim” lighting, many aspects of the gastropub will honor the legacy left by Georgie’s Alibi when it closed in 2015. The gay club was known for their large garage door and their outdoor seating, aspects that will be on full display when the new Cider Press debuts.
According to Everstijn, Georgie’s Alibi was also known for its rotating drink specials like its Tuesday night Long Island iced teas. Cider Press will eventually implement programs that honor the legacy of the now-closed gay club, mimicking some of the popular specialties they previously offered.
There is no doubt that Cider Press Cafe was a mainstay on the 600 block of Central Avenue and one of many local businesses that were evicted due to rapidly rising rent prices.
When asked what he thought Block 600 would look like in a few years, Everstijn replied, “every other door will be a pizzeria, and eventually it might just be empty storefronts. The only people who can pay rent are chains or disguised chains.
Notably, the restaurant that will open at the former Central Avenue location of Cider Press is a Sicilian-style Italian restaurant.
While there is no scheduled opening date in place, the new Cider Press Vegan Gastropub and Patio Bar will debut in the spring of 2022, likely ahead of the St. Pete’s Pride Parade in June.
Keep up to date with the latest menu updates and previews by visiting @ciderpresscafestpete on Facebook and following @cider_press_gastropub on Instagram.