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.