Closed nightspots in Midtown sparks concern about keeping motorcyclists from fleeing to beachside during Bike Week.
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
While there are numerous watering holes on the beachside, motorcyclists in Daytona Beach for Bike Week could be hard-pressed to find a place to kick back and have an alcoholic beverage at an establishment in Midtown.
Bike Week officially kicks off on Friday and runs through March 18.
Currently, there are no bars along the Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (historically Second Avenue) corridor where most of the activities in the Black community take place.
In the past, thousands of bikers have flocked to the area during Bike Week to relax, listen to music, and patronize food and merchandise vendors. The second weekend is usually the busiest of the two.
Referred to as the world’s largest motorcycle event, hundreds of thousands of bikers descend on the area in March. The economic impact of Bike Week in Volusia County is reportedly about $75 million.
African-Americans have repeatedly stated that they want to see more of that impact felt by Black-owned businesses.
The Biarritz Club on Pearl Street – the site of shootings over the years – shut down a few years ago, and the Safari Lounge on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, closed last year. Both were popular hangout spots for locals and visiting bikers.
The Second Avenue Merchants Association (SAMA), a non-profit organization that organizes activities along is working on the issue.
“We are working on getting a place to get alcohol served. People shouldn’t have to go any other place,” said Barbara Turner-Hymes, events coordinator of SAMA.
SAMA also is looking to bring in more bikers to the Black community.
“We are really trying to push more food and entertainment. We have an array of happenings. We’re still taking vendors. Vendors were actually up last year and the entertainment has been great,” Turner-Hymes said.
‘Doesn’t make sense’
A member of the Sun Chasers Motorcycle Club in Daytona Beach who would only identify himself as “The Wizard,’’ said there have been complaints about the lack of places in the Black community where visitors can enjoy an alcoholic beverage.
“It doesn’t make sense that there isn’t any place along the Avenue that serves drinks. People are finding other parts of town to go to, although most of the Black bikers stay here in the Midtown area,’’ he told the Times.
“Most of us just go to our clubs and have drinks, barbecue, relax, play cards, etc. We will have us some drinks over at our club.’’
Tamika Crumiell, also known as Ms. Remy, said her nightspot, called Club Avenue, will be open. Opened in October, it’s located at 323 Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.
She is the former manager of the Safari Lounge. The new club, which normally doesn’t open until 10 p.m., does provide alcohol, she said.
“We will be open during Bike Week. We also plan to open earlier to provide services to bikers,” she told the Times.
Parking at park
Bikers and locals also have asked if Joe Harris Park, which is being renovated, will be available for bike parking during Bike Week. In the past, it has hosted vendors, primarily those selling food.
The City of Daytona Beach’s Cultural & Leisure Services director says the park will be accessible.
“The park will be open for bike parking only this year. We are still in the process of doing renovations. We know there are kids currently playing in the park while the final renovations are occurring, but that’s OK,” stated Helen Riger.
A grand re-opening service is scheduled at the park on March 31.