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Rowdies Den opens this week at former Midtown Sundries bar

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Tampa Bay Rowdies fans will have a new watering hole to celebrate both pre- and post-game. The Rowdies Den will host its Grand Opening this Saturday.

The trademark neon green lines the building that once was Midtown Sundries. Rowdies owner and St. Pete entrepreneur Bill Edwards bought the shuttered sports bar and announced in February he’d be turning it into a soccer paradise.

His original goal was to open by the Rowdies home opener on April 11. He blew that plan out of the water and has been enjoying a soft opening this week.

The Grand Opening corresponds to the Rowdies’ first game this season. Edwards will host a watch party at the Den as they take on the San Antonio Scorpions.

The more than 4,000-square-foot bar will boast 30 televisions playing soccer matches from all over the world. They’ll also have TVs tuned to other sports, like American football, as well.

The bar is a win-win for Edwards and his soccer franchise. Not only will the bar serve as an additional revenue stream, it will also go a long way in boosting Rowdies recognition.

According to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, the Rowdies fan group, Ralph’s Mob, has already pledged to use the Rowdies Den as their home base. Fans had previously gathered at MacDinton’s on First Avenue North. The new location is much closer to Al Lang Stadium, where the Rowdies play.

Edwards also purchased the four levels of parking in MacNulty Parking Garage above the bar. Edwards said he plans to dedicate the 500 spaces for Rowdies fans during games.

Those spaces will still be available to the public when the Rowdies aren’t playing.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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