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Ferg’s in Tampa sets pre-opening Lightning tailgate parties

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Published:   |   Updated: April 16, 2014 at 04:53 PM

The new Ferg’s restaurant/bar, under renovation next to the Forum, is still under development. But with the Lightning in the playoffs, the owners decided they couldn’t wait.

They’re throwing a huge tailgate party for each Lightning home game, starting with tonight’s 7 p.m. matchup against the Montreal Canadiens.

“We will have a DJ, food, alcohol, the game being shown on a giant projector screen, rendering of what Ferg’s Tampa will look like, corn toss, etc.,” said Jay Mize, owner and partner in the new Ferg’s, which will be modeled in large part on the original Ferg’s across from Tropicana Field in St. Petersrburg.

This new Ferg’s takes over for the Luxury Box, which closed last year, leaving an empty space at 490 Channelside Drive, directly across from the Forum. Mize is the owner of the Irish 31 group of bar/restaurants and is close friends with Mark “Ferg” Ferguson, who owns the original Ferg’s.

For months, they’ve been working on plans for a reincarnation. Early this year, Mize signed a name licensing deal with Ferguson for the new space.

The Lightning host Montreal tonight in Game 1 of the NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinals. The first two games will be in Tampa, followed by two games in Montreal and, as necessary, alternating sites starting with Game 5 back in Tampa.

As with any sports bar, the new Ferg’s has the licensing rights to show Lightning games on even the biggest of big screens, which is something the Lightning organization itself sometimes does for fans, showing the game on giant projector screens in the Forum plaza when games are sold out.

Technically, Irish 31 is catering the party for Ferg’s Tampa because the owners won’t activate Ferg’s liquor license until the site opens. Since the site is already “wet zoned” they can throw a tailgate party and sell alcohol.

If all goes according to plan, workers will formally break ground on the new Ferg’s in May, with a full opening potentially in August.

rmullins@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7919

Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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