Township Fort Lauderdale — half German beer hall, half neighborhood pub where tribes of sports fans came to for camaraderie, craft beer and Super Bowl parties — abruptly closed on May 12 after four years in the downtown area.
Tim Petrillo, co-founder of The Restaurant People (S3, YOLO, Java and Jam), wasted little time or fanfare closing the doors of the township: Tin Roof, a Nashville-based, barbecue-and-live-music chain, After which the venue is expected to reopen.
“We made money on it. It was a big deal for us,” Petrillo told the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Friday morning, although he declined to disclose the purchase price. “We are not sorry that we did this. Store closed. They offered us good numbers and it was good for both sides.
219 S. within the Historic McCrory Building. The Sports Pub at Andrews Avenue took on a charming perch downtown: The Wharf next to Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard and a spate of new residential towers. When it debuted in 2018, the township’s menu leaned on German-style bratwurst and pretzels, but also served burgers and fish sandwiches, which served as comfort fare at Tarpon Bend, Petrillo’s previous eatery.
The bar also served as a college-football hub, particularly for Florida State Seminole acolytes, Petrillo says. But as the college crowds left the city and young professionals flocked to the upscale neighborhoods nearby, the neighborhood’s character gentrified and foot traffic dried up, Petrillo explains.
“It’s harder to run a college-town business in a more upscale downtown,” 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 really busy for football and basketball, but during baseball season, in the low season, there wasn’t that much intensity to go on.”
Bob Franklin, partner and CEO of Tin Roof, says that in the next few months, the 6,800-square-foot space will be equipped with a high-end music stage. The walls will be repainted with multicolored, reclaimed wood and aluminum siding. The new Tin Roof Fort Lauderdale will employ 50-70 full-time employees, including a stable of sound engineers wiring the music stage for nightly musical acts. It will be Florida’s third tin roof bar after opening in Orlando in 2015 and on Delray Beach’s buzzy Atlantic Avenue in 2019.
“We’ve got a great location and great visibility,” Franklin says of the venue, which seats 220 people inside and its Andrews Avenue-facing courtyard. “I think Fort Lauderdale has grown a little bit, and now there are upscale shops and professionals out there looking for a good entertainment experience when they go out. It ticked all our boxes.”
The addition of Tin Roof Fort Lauderdale is a boon to local and national rock and country acts that already play the venue’s other metropolitan venues in Detroit, New Orleans, San Diego, Baltimore and Memphis, Franklin says.
“We are giving them another place to plug in as they travel across our tin roof network across the country,” he says. “There’s 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 Nashville hot chicken, fried pickles, barbecue pulled pork quesadillas, burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, and a suite of a la carte tacos. Their bar serves craft cocktails, draft beer, wine, and Red Bull-infused drinks.
The Tin Roof Fort Lauderdale at 219 S. Andrews Ave. is expected to debut later this fall. go for tinroofbars.com,