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New owners for old bars

Written By Scott Joseph On January 4, 2023

Old Cactus Club ext

Since we talked about Dry January yesterday, today – bar news.

Up in Mills 50 comes word that St. Matthew’s Tavern has been sold to Team Market Group, the prolific bar-isters that also own Mather’s Social Gathering, The Robinson Room, The Wellborn and others. TMG is also known for classy interiors and high quality (its Plantees meatless burger brand just down the block notwithstanding), so it will be interesting to see what it does with St. Matthew’s, which had taken a dive even deeper than your basic dive bar.

Southeast LG 2 24

It will also be interesting to see if the space continues the long tradition as a gay bar. For the record, St. Matthew’s Tavern, which opened in late 2013, does not promote itself as a gay bar, though it has hosted Sunday worship services for St. Dorothy Catholic Community (as in Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz,” as in Judy Garland, as in…never mind). Also, the properties previous owner was listed on the Orange County Property Appraiser’s website as Fuzzybunnyslippers LLC, so there’s that.

Previous occupants have been Paradise, Orlando Nights, Cactus Club and Silver Hammer.

Bull and Bush ext

During all those iterations, since 1987, in fact, Bull & Bush Pub has been operating on East Robinson Street in the Milk District, long before it was known as the Milk District. And for many years it was one of the few if not the only British pub in Central Florida.

Now it has been sold to the owners of the Sportstown, a billiards bar next door. It doesn’t add a lot of square footage to Sportstown – B&B is so small that patrons have to be careful not to walk in front of one of the always-on darts matches. According to Bungalower’s Brendan O’Connor, the new owners will keep the same British vibe.

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