[Spotlights] They Own the Night


Business partners run six downtown bars that cater to various demographics.

 



 

 Dirk Farrow and Doug Taylor don’t run bars for fun, as so many bar owners do. Bars are their business. The onetime Georgia Tech fraternity brothers have built an entertainment empire on downtown’s Church Street, operating five contiguous nightspots that cater to everyone from baby boomers to barely legals.
In September, the Church Street
Entertainment partners opened their sixth venue, a spacious, Mediterranean-style indoor/outdoor restaurant-bar two blocks north of their home base. Ember, which occupies the former Kate O’Brien’s Irish Pub site on Central Boulevard, is Farrow and Taylor’s foray into the business-lunch and after-work professional markets.  It’s also a nod to their maturing years—Farrow, 44, of Windermere, and Taylor, 42, a Dr. Phillips resident, wanted to run a bar that reflected their current tastes and lifestyles.
“The beauty of Ember is 7,600 square feet outdoors,” says Taylor. “It’s a patio bar, but bigger.”
Adds Farrow: “It’s upscale but not pretentious.”
Covering various demographics seems to be the key to their success. In 1992, they opened Chillers, a frozen daiquiri bar, in a cozy space on Church Street. The partners exported the concept to other cities, but eventually sold all but the Orlando location.  
On the same day in 1999, they opened Big Belly Brewery, a chug-a-lug saloon next to Chillers, and Latitudes, an open-air rooftop hangout outlined by tiki torches. Chillers and Big Belly get a twentysomething crowd, while Latitudes draws a 25 to 40 clientele, says Taylor. Two years later, the partners opened Antigua, a dance club drawing 18- to 30-year-olds.  Tucked behind their Church Street-front nightspots is their martini bar, Tryst, which opened last year and attracts a more affluent demographic. The bars employ 180 people among them, says Taylor.
The partners say they expect to open a seventh bar, next to Ember, within nine months. And more concepts will follow, possibly in the suburbs or other cities, says Farrow.

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2017

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2017

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2016 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.

Best Doctors 2016

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Top Doctors 2016

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.

Vacation Planner

Your next getaway is only a click away. Search our database for a great vacation experience.

2016 Premier Veterinarians

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings April 28 to 30

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Weekend Happenings April 21 to 23

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Weekend Happenings April 14 to 16

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Indoor Herbs

How to grow and maintain an indoor herb garden.

Weekend Happenings April 7 to 9

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module