Monday, March 12, 2012

Brink It On! Orlando’s Newest Gay Club - The Brink

It’s been almost two weeks since The Brink, Orlando’s newest gay club, opened and we feel Brink is off to a good start. While there have been a few hiccups here and there, things have been running smoothly and I have enjoyed each visit.

I first went to The Brink on the Grand Opening night and enjoyed quite a few beverages and had a great time. I then returned on Sunday night to see how The Brink was settling into the Orlando scene and get an idea of what The Brink is and is not. Here is my assessment.

The Brink is located just north of the downtown Orlando club scene and is basically next to Club Firestone. The Bar is officially on Amelia Street but their large parking lot is accessed from Concord. You can enter via Amelia Street or from the parking area. I love the fact that the location is just off the Amelia Street I-4 exit and that they have onsite parking for around 100 vehicles.

The only downside of the parking lot was that the area closest to the street did not have parking stripes so guests were just randomly parking and a few cars got blocked in.

Venue: The Brink, the old Hoops Bar, has been completely refurbished and has 4 areas.
1. The Lounge Bar – This spacious room has a large main bar, pedestals for male dancers, cozy bench alcoves for small groups, hightop cocktail tables and chairs, a pool table and restrooms. The area is made for many groups and mingling and the area appears busy even with a smaller crowd, as I saw on Sunday.   

2. The Dance Room – This dance room has a great sound system, a bar, a minimalist stage with some seating, photos of men with a&f abs, restrooms and a great vibe.

3. Main Outdoor Lounge Area – This outdoor area is where you enter from the parking lot. This area is laid with pavers and includes cabana style furniture, stylish planters and views of downtown Orlando. It provides ample room to socialize and people watch.

4. Dance Room Outdoor Area – This small outdoor area is basically a dance room escape for smoking, cooling off or avoiding someone. It is simple and the most private area of the club with a few tables and open space.

Overall Notes:
I like the location and the casual vibe to The Brink and when dance floor is busy it is hard not to want to just let go and join in. Service was pretty good and the staff was attentive to customers during the busy opening and the not so busy Sunday night and for me that is a plus.

The male dancers ranged from good to excellent shape and when dancing can be seen from almost anywhere in the room. On Sunday, the less crowded night they were socializing and working the room which was nice. This past weekend male dancers were in both the Lounge Bar and Dance room and I thought that was great as it gave energy to both rooms.

The music in the dance room on Thursday was fun, upbeat and the crowd was into it the mix and on Sunday when I returned it the energy was gone without the crowd. Based on what I saw I could see the dance bar being open on select nights or opening at a later hour like 10:30 or 11 pm, this would most likely ensure a crowd would take over the space and give it immediate positive energy. While I liked the dance room music, the music in the lounge bar was inconsistent in style and energy as I went from enjoying a lively dance re-mix one minute and then I was quickly immersed into a grungy dubstep song for me it reminded me of someone randomly selecting songs from a jukebox rather than a club setting the musical tone. I expect this to be worked out over the next few weeks and more cohesiveness to be brought to the music in the lounge bar.  

Here are some things you won’t see at The Brink, Drag shows or televisions.
At this time there is no show stage, so I don’t expect to see any drag shows or have someone yell “What’s Up Bitches?” and I am fine with that. You also can’t mindlessly watch tv or videos here either as you pass the time you are forced to “believe it or not” socialize, this might change as there are some great walls indoors and out that could support a projection tv or video.  

Currently going from the Lounge to the Dance Bar exposes you to the elements, while this isn’t a big concern now it could prove troublesome during rainy evenings as guests try to dash from one lounge to the other. For me, I don’t like to be rained on while at a bar so this would be a negative for me on rainy nights. We will have to see if a cover is added or if this is a non-issue.

Final Notes: The Brink brings a comfortable Lounge Bar and Dance venue to downtown Orlando at a location that is easy to get to and with a large parking lot. It has clean lines, an attractive bar staff and male dancers, plenty of space, an afternoon happy hour starting at 4 pm, a mix of themed night and a commitment to bring in strong dj’s, The Brink has the potential to become a community and visitor favorite, but only time will tell as other popular gay clubs have come and gone quickly in the past year.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Bars Enter Gay Scene - The Brink Opens Tonight

In 2011, we saw two gay bars open and both closed within a year.

Tonight The Brink opens in downtown Orlando at 47 W. Amelia Street however parking for the Brink is off of Concord Street or on the street.

Good news getting here from Disney or the International Drive area is easy take I-4 and exit on Amelia Avenue, go straight at the light (don't turn on Amelia) take a right at the next street which should be Concord. Cross the railroad tracks and parking should be on your right or on the street.

What are the odds that The Brink will succeeds?
With a promoter who also runs Firestone, they already know how to run a club and this is not a hobby or soneone's dream, I believe that the chance for success is greater than Steele and Mr. Sisters. They already have a good line-up of known dj's, have totally built the The Brink to cater to a gay audience and it is right off I-4 and the parking makes sense unlike Steele which opened just a few blocks away.

Well in a few hours, I will check out Orlando's newest gay club and you should come check it out too, The Brink. I hope to have commentary for you tomorrow.

While I am very excited about The Brink, it is not the only gay bar opening this month, SIN is working to open by the end of March. SIN opens up in the former Mr. Sisters location and we will see whether the lack of parking cripples another great idea.