Georgie’s Alibi cuts off $3 Long Island iced teas

A late-night brawl brings an end to a Thursday night tradition.

| August 20, 2013
DANGER ZONE: The infamous and oversized Long Island Iced Teas at Georgie’s are no more after a recent bar brawl.
DANGER ZONE: The infamous and oversized Long Island Iced Teas at Georgie’s are no more after a recent bar brawl.
- ShannaGillette.com

Georgie’s Alibi, which is celebrating its 13th year in St. Petersburg, has offered the infamous Thursday Long Island Iced Tea (a massive mason jar of vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec, sweet & sour, Coke and regret — all for $3) to the ’Burg since its inception. It’s a delicious legacy carried over from the Wilton Manors, Florida location opened in 1997 — but one, unfortunately, you’ll now have to drive to Fort Lauderdale to enjoy. (And please, take a cab home if you do.)

Like many a diva before her, the Thursday Long Island has been taken before her time, prompted by a late-night brawl on Thurs., Aug. 1.

“We had a young straight male hitting on a lesbian and she wasn’t responsive to him,” Georgie’s bar manager Dave Baptista told Creative Loafing. “I think it hurt his ego and her friends saw him beef up and get an attitude. His friends knew he was crazy and rushed over to try and stop him but he was already out of control.”

It was late, the call to the police came in at 2:19 a.m. on Fri., Aug. 2, and though the dude who started the fight hadn’t even had a drink, the police report cited intoxication as the main culprit.

“At one point there were over 30 people fighting,” Baptista said. “In my five years here, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever dealt with.”

Even Baptista suffered a punch to the nose. By the time police arrived, the fight had broken up, and the three security guards who tried to remove the straight dude who started it all were nursing minor injuries. No one was arrested or charged according to St. Petersburg Police Department spokesman Mike Pentz. Still, Baptista says that, for Georgie’s Alibi, the fight was the final straw.

“Georgie’s should be a safety zone,” Baptista said. “So the next day, two [off-duty] officers were ordered [to help with security] and the Long Islands were taken away.”

Replacing the $3 jar of danger juice will be a Thursday night $3 wells special because “you can’t get totally trashed off of just one.”

Let me be clear: the Tea was rarely a drink I’d order. It was headache-inducing, far worse than any beer goggle I’d ever worn, and almost always led to a Taco Bell (or Bus) nightcap.

But there’s a particular sense of freedom at the gay bar, one where everyone can feel comfortable, never batting an eye if they hold a member of the same sex’s hand or ask if the Rays scored a touchdown. Do we need a Long Island night to have pride in ourselves or to feel safety? Not at all. In fact, perhaps it was the Long Island night that caused so many patrons to feel unsafe. (Baptista said this wasn’t the first time Georgie’s had considered ending the special.)

Consistency is important — familiarity, key. Tradition builds reputation and offers a grander sense of community. In Alibi’s case, it found its form in a mason jar of booze, but it brought people in — people that may never have ventured into Alibi.

If people are going, the business stays open. If it stays open, it supports our community and the community of our allies, and in turn, we support it. It’s the circle of glittery life.

In writing this article, it was my (very difficult) duty to attend the subsequent $3 well nights — and, well, I could’ve been anywhere. And a lot of people were anywhere — else.

If the riot, as eyewitnesses have anonymously called it, was in fact caused by the Long Island — who’s really to blame?

Is the tradition at fault? The clientele? Or is it the bartenders and management? Ultimately, by forgetting its roots, it’s only the bar that suffers.

It’s my hope that Alibi will again find its footing, but they may need to learn that sometimes, it’s not tradition that management needs to ensure is cut off.

Additional reporting by Arielle Stevenson.

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Comments (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8

Its just liquor, but it makes me a little sad! I moved away from St. Pete and remember all the good times when my friends and I would slip down to have a Thursday night drink and slink off home for work the next day. Its sad that people cant behave, but thats the world we live in

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Posted by Tim in TX on 08/21/2013 at 10:49 PM

The Long Island ice teas aren't the only thing that changed recently. The menu was shortened, they are no longer open for lunch/brunch and the rocking chair/tables are gone - along with many familiar faces. It makes sense that they had to make changes to stay competitive but what we don't understand is the rudeness of the waitstaff. We have been regulars for the past couple of years and this was our neighborhood "pub." We visited 1-2 times a week for drinks or dinner. We were cool about the changes but the waitstaff we encountered were so rude the past two times, we stopped going. If the "new Georgie's" is too good to be decent to its customers, we'll take our money to other establishments.

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Posted by kenwoodresidents on 08/22/2013 at 9:55 AM

The writers apparently aren't so knowledgeable about Alibi's Iced Tea night, or they would know the Iced Tea tradition hasn't been that much of a tradition for a long time. Anyone who has been going in recent times could see most of the crowd hasn't been drinking the Iced Teas. As unique and popular as those once were, $3 well drinks will probably appeal to more people now. And, while Thursdays at Alibi aren't nearly as busy as during the peak of the tradition, Alibi is still the busiest gay venue in Pinellas on Thursdays, updated and looking great, with a great staff. As the saying goes, for everything there is a season. Clubs evolve with the times or they die.

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Posted by Sensible Voice on 08/22/2013 at 12:45 PM

Thanksgiving, a tradition for most families, is still a tradition even if not everyone who's going eats the turkey and dressing grandma's been making for years and years.

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Posted by Another sensible voice on 08/22/2013 at 4:10 PM

Well.Alibi, if you allow your staff to moonlite at other bars and take your clients..it seems lack of knowledge on the mgrs part or maybe the owners..but we went from the start and after all the really crap service and bad food on many visits..the towel here has been thrown in...its a shame but theres so much more than Alibi out there...

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Posted by Alain Grainger on 08/29/2013 at 7:03 PM

We went on a Thursday and it was dead! Not sure what sensible voice is talking about - it's like a ghost town over there. Also what happened to the music? Instead of dj curated music during happy hour, they have something called rockbot where people pick what they want to hear from a very limited list. And you have to buy credits on the thing. And the selection stinks!! What were they thinking?

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Posted by stpetelocal on 09/11/2013 at 11:01 AM

Not busy any more...what a waste of space.....George come back!

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Posted by Alain Grainger on 09/12/2013 at 1:50 PM

Ryan...you might want to get ALL the facts about that night and do your research before writing this article. You failed to mention that two innocent patrons were severely attacked while trying to get in their vehicle, also there are a couple of misstatements, as I have a copy of the police report. Yes, it's true, that due to this fight they no longer are doing the Long Island Ice Tea night, but if you are going to mention any part of the fight and people who were injured, then mention ALL parties, don't leave out facts....that is just poor journalism.

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Posted by CB on 09/13/2013 at 9:20 PM
Showing 1-8 of 8

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