The Story Continues……
13 years at 1756 Central Avenue in St Petersburg, Florida as part of the Grand Central District. Countless memories. Hideaway Backstage w/ Pilot Moon Films, Hideaway Cafe Mayor’s Lounge with Mayor Rick Kriseman, time in the Recording Studio, Songwriter Showdown, soooo many incredible live shows, “Songwriter Cafe”, Guitar at the Bar, 10 years of stage sponsorship for Localtopia, annual celebration of all things local, Hideaway At Home (our attempt to keep the music coming during a pandemic), and Limited LIVE (the return to the stage after the all clear to get business going, but at a distance). Gentrification had better plans for 1756 central, so after 13 years in this room, Hideaway Cafe closed it’s doors after one final show and anniversary celebration on April 30, 2022.
John Kelly built this. And it was his greatest gift to St Pete. And there’s no doubt in my mind there is a lot more of his Hideaway story left to be written.
Central Avenue had some tumbleweed blowing across the street into a dusty, empty parking lot when the Hideaway Cafe appeared on the scene. Well, there was not a whole lot of scene to speak of on central and 18th at the time – no scooters or bikes flying by…. definitely no pedal pubs, no condos and festivals driving in foot traffic from all directions.
John had been operating Hideaway Recording Studio out of our mother in-law-suite, then the entire downstairs of our house, followed by a year in a small space in a strip mall on central prior to 1756. In 2009, he took a leap. A leap that he could give original music a place to shine. And shine, it has. And shine, it will continue to do. Because the St Pete of today has original musicians taking the stage every night in countless businesses, large and snall, plugging in to share their craft with people who show up with intention just to see and hear what these amazing artists have to share. We are incredibly blessed as a musical city – with a ridiculous amount of talent floating around out there. Soak it up!
So much has changed here in our hometown since 2009. A lot of it thanks to the creative engine that sparks in people like my husband. I am a big dreamer, but my dreams tend to stay in my dreams unless they’re carefully and meticulously plotted and scripted – and some never see the light of day. John Kelly acts on his. And he makes others’ dreams come true in the process and, in some cases, in lieu of. He is a giver. A poet. A liver of life. A feeler. A music maker. A community maker. A believer in original music and the gift it is to truly listen to those who craft it. His biggest gift – giving a stage (or an ear) to someone who might not otherwise seek it.
So 1756 may be in our rearview mirror and fading into the distance, but all of the musicians who breathed life into this stage, all of the kindred spirits who savored every note and every story with us, every occasion wrapped up in this space with the stage at its core, every year that chronicled a memory of our kids’ childhood and what it meant to be growing up in loving and artistic company – they’re forever etched in our hearts and these memories will not fade. The music played on this stage will serve as the soundtrack as we replay these wonderful years back in our minds.
Cheers to the Hideaway Cafe (@1756), cheers to you John Kelly for being a gift to us all….and cheers to the music that is yet to be made and shared.
Our first year in a commercial space on Central Avenue