Beer Goggles' Closing Leaves Void in Music Scene
The popular central Pinellas punk bar has unexpectedly closed its doors.
Mary Kougl had worked at Beer Goggles, the Ulmerton Road watering hole populated by alternative bands and their counterculture-loving fans, since it opened in February.
She had graduated from bartender to manager to partial owner in the past nine months, and she and her boyfriend, Dave Simko, worked hard to bring popular music acts to the club, helping turn the place from a smoky daytime dive bar into a nighttime music hot spot.
So when Kougl got a call Nov. 1 from co-owner Nick Hall stating the bar was closing, effective immediately, she was shocked, stunned and sad.
"Nick texted me on Nov. 1 and said to call him. When I called, he said, 'Come pick up your stuff, we're closing, we're done'," Kougl said in a phone interview.
"It was really heartwrenching," she said. "I'm thoroughly distraught about the whole situatiuon."
Kougl said Hall told her the bar was closing for financial reasons.
On the night she heard the news, Kougl held a fundraiser to help pay rent and expenses. It raised $3,200, including $1,000 donated by a soldier stationed in Iraq, but Hall and fellow co-owner George Boyer did not accept the contribution.
Now she and the patrons of the bar are left to contemplate how and where they are going to enjoy the burgeoning punk scene in Pinellas.
"Without a major financial investor, there's nowhere to go from here," Kougl said. "It's really sad because people in this whole part of the county liked having a place the counterculture could call home.
"People are actually mourning the loss of this bar."