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Friday, March 03, 2021

And speaking of Ybor City, I recently got word that one of its long-time institutions, The Masquerade, has abruptly gone out of business.

Perhaps fittingly, a crappy-looking MySpace page replaces it. As for the actual physical location, I’m sure something will spring up from the ashes.

Since I hadn’t stepped into the place in ages, I can’t say I’m extremely broken up about the fade-out. Despite a fairly diverse booking schedule, Masquerade tended not to get packed unless death metal acts played — and that’s not even remotely the type of scene I go for. And, being far more of a concert venue than an actual bar, it really wasn’t what I liked about going to Ybor.

My nostalgic ties to the place reside in the distant past — some 16 years ago, in my freshman year in college. I recollected the brief experience once on this blog; by way of a eulogy, I’ll repost the pertinent part here:

I’m old enough to remember when The Masquerade was the only thing that existed, club-wise, in Ybor. Back in 1990, some friends at school dragged me out there for a rare off-campus clubbing opp. I was new to the area, and the drive seemed horrendously long from south St. Pete; for a long while after, I was convinced we had driven most of the way to Orlando…

Not much more to relate about that long-ago night. I remember a bunch of us — maybe 7 or 8 people — piled into what had to be one of the last working 1960s-era VW Bugs in existence, and drove the twenty-odd miles up I-275/I-4. I believe I drove part of the way, either going there or coming back; don’t remember precisely why. I remember there were lots of red velvet couches all over the place, which must have long since disappeared by the time the Ybor revival had really kicked off. I remember there was nothing around the club back then but blocks full of boarded-up storefronts and warehouses — again, this was just before the district was revived, and it was a vaguely scary place to be. And today, I don’t remember who it was I went there with; I think most of them left after my freshman year (I can barely visualize the face of the girl who owned the Bug; her name’s long since faded from my brain cells).

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/03/2021 08:40:38 PM
Category: Florida Livin', College Years | Permalink |

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  1. actually the old red velvet couches from the Ritz were still in the masquerade

    Comment by Anonymous — 03/04/2021 @ 01:02:19 AM

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