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Rodney Mayo on the Short Life of Dubliner in Fort Lauderdale

Rodney Mayo on the Short Life of Dubliner in Fort Lauderdale
Christina Mendenhall

Most of us did a double take when we read the news that the Dubliner in Fort Lauderdale was shuttering its doors and being sold only a year into its residency in the Himmershee district.

What could have gone wrong? Every time we were there to check out a gig, the place seemed packed, well, somewhat. Coupled with the Vagabond closing down south in Miami, we began to wonder what was going on at the Subculture Group. The Palm Beach County-based conglomerate headed by nightlife impresario Rodney Mayo had its hands in Vagabond and owned the Dubliner. Is this group of restauranteurs and nightclub purveyors facing hard times? Or perhaps they just dumping deadweight.

New Times caught up with the ever-industrious Mr. Mayo for a few minutes to get the scoop. Seems like the Dubliner in Fort Lauderdale didn't attract the right crowd Mayo had envisioned and the Vagabond, well its time had come and gone. Read our interview with Mayo after the jump.

See also: Rodney Mayo Opening Camelot, a Sophisticated Lounge for Downtown West Palm Beach

New Times: Why did you decided to close up shop on the Dubliner in Fort Lauderdale so soon? Everything seemed to be going OK.

Rodney Mayo: Not really, it wasn't really working. We knew [Himmarshee] was a good party street, but didn't know to what extent. We wanted to concentrate on an upscale Irish bar with great food. Seemed everyone just cared about cheap drinks. We would have stuck it out for a bit longer, but we got a good quick offer to buy the business, so we took it to focus on other ventures.

Why do you think the location in Boca Raton thrives and the spot in Fort Lauderdale dwindled?

It's a different audience, totally different street vibe. In Mizner Park, more folks are looking to eat, not just out for a good street party.

How about the Vagabond closing, it had a good run.

Yes, it was a great run. Here we also had a good offer, and I have four other projects in the works so it seemed right. Plus I want to concentrate on opening more Subculture coffee shops. It seemed like the timing was right. I was pretty over the drive to Miami!

Respectable Street it was not, why do you think?

There can only be one Respectable Street!

Is your group just dropping deadweight?

We are narrowing our focus a little.

Did these two sales have anything to do with each other?

It's completely coincidental.

What are the other projects you have in motion?

Camelot is opening in four weeks in West Palm Beach. We have the Shaker and Pie, a new concept in Mizner Park. The new Lost Weekend on the 500 block and the Lounge is coming back also the 500 block. We are also on the lookout for more coffee shop locations.

And finally, how are things going with your label, Decades Records?

We have our first showcase in three weeks at Respecs. Things seem to be going well. Not sure which is a crazier or harder business, publishing a magazine, running a label, restaurant or nightclub? I'll have to get back to you on that one.

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