DC’s Sports Bar in Dixieland

2009 Oct 3 #15 - DC's Sports Bar

Last night, customers flocked to the grand opening of a new Dixieland bar — 10 months after it opened its doors. Or 45* years…depending on who you ask.

In January 2009, DC’s Sports Bar opened as a beer and wine only establishment at 1015 S Florida Avenue. Though a bar had been at the location for 45* years, the new owners weren’t automatically given a liquor license. For months they worked with city staff to thread their way through byzantine city codes to procure the liquor license. When they opened the doors last night, there was a full assortment of alcohol behind the bar.

It’s now a cliché to speak of a bar where everyone knows your name, but that has been true for two generations at the Dixieland location. Since 1974, the Dixieland address sported different names and a succession of owners, but was always a dependable neighborhood haven. Operating near a city parking lot, and in easy walking distance to the Dixieland and South Lake Morton neighborhoods, made the address a popular gathering spot for a variety of customers. One former owner remembers being able to tell the time by the crowd at the bar. Afternoons for retirees, blue collar workers after five, singles wandering in after dinner, and the young party crowds filling up the place after 11. Each crowd looking for a comfortable, friendly, and safe bar…and finding it.

DC’s owner Andy Browne renamed the bar after the initials of his two children, and the family connection doesn’t end there. His parents, Joy and Stephen, younger brother Ryan, and his wife Chrissy have helped Andy remodel and run DC’s. Andy Browne will tell you he had the dream of owning a bar from the age of 19 when he started as a Bennigan’s bartender. Owning and operating DC’s doesn’t give him much time for extra-circular activities, “I don’t go out much anymore, ” he smiles, “but I go to a bar every night.”

From the comfortable furnishings to the six large screen televisions, DC’s has that neighborhood bar feel. The customers who filled the place for the grand opening were a cross section of Lakelanders. Politicians rubbing elbows with area business leaders, singles and married couples — each with a little envy in their eyes, the always-carded sitting next to those whose grey beard is card enough. All enjoying joyful conversations; with the occasional political buttonholing. A few minutes at DC’s and it is easy to understand the attraction of the neighborhood bar. These are friends meeting friends — old and new.

DC’s Sports Bar FAQ

• Hours are 4 pm – 2 am Mon – Fri, Noon to 2am Saturday, and Noon – Midnight on Sunday
• Six 42″ TV screens are well placed to allow fans to watch most sporting events.
• The bar doesn’t support a single college or pro team. Browne has the college and pro football packages and can pull in most games for cutomers
• Happy “hour” is 4 -7 daily
• Tuesday is Open Music night. Local musicians have the opportunity to test out their material starting at 8 pm
• Wednesday is Poker Night
• Thursday Karaoke starts at 8 pm
• Friday nights are a hodge-podge as Browne hasn’t developed a theme for the night yet
• Saturday nights feature live music from a variety of acts
• Sunday night Karaoke starts at 7 pm

* Update

Tamara Sakagawa found an article on Zimmerman’s (the bar that occupied the location on and off until 1997) that mentioned the first 1015 S Florida Avenue bar was opened in 1953. That adds another 11 years to the bar history.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tom Hagerty for Lakeland Local

2 thoughts on “DC’s Sports Bar in Dixieland

  1. Chuck,
    Thank you so much for joining us for the DC’s Sports Bar Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. We were thrilled at the overwhelming support from the Lakeland community.
    You article was wonderful and you provided some great history about our Dixieland location. I was excited that Tamara was able to locate the article about the “old” Zimmerman’s. Our dream has been to bring back “Lakeland’s Hometown Bar” once again. We will continue to work hard to make DC’s a place of enjoyment and a source of pride for our entire Lakeland community.
    Our Best,
    Joy Browne (for DC’s Sports Bar)

  2. Chuck,
    Thank you so much for joining us for the DC’s Sports Bar Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. We were thrilled at the overwhelming support from the Lakeland community.
    You article was wonderful and you provided some great history about our Dixieland location. I was excited that Tamara was able to locate the article about the “old” Zimmerman’s. Our dream has been to bring back “Lakeland’s Hometown Bar” once again. We will continue to work hard to make DC’s a place of enjoyment and a source of pride for our entire Lakeland community.
    Our Best,
    Joy Browne (for DC’s Sports Bar)

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