Jessie’s Lounge Could Redefine Polk Music Scene

Jessie Skubna, left, and Robbie Loftus, co-owners of Jessie's Lounge, are hoping to gain approval to develop a lot next to their business for a live-music venue. (Paul Crate/ The Ledger)

Jessie Skubna, left, and Robbie Loftus, co-owners of Jessie’s Lounge, are hoping to gain approval to develop a lot next to their business for a live-music venue. (Paul Crate/ The Ledger)

WINTER HAVEN | It’s enough to make Polk music-lovers salivate.

You can almost see it now. A breezy autumn night, the kind that defines Florida in late October.

Craft beer is flowing from taps inside the lounge, bass strings buzz and hum, and some 500 boys and girls trade dance moves and giggles in the grass.

The vignette might seem more California than Winter Haven, but the recent proposal of a large outdoor concert venue could redefine the Polk County live music scene.

THE PROPOSAL

It’s still months away from becoming a reality but the process has begun. Jessie Skubna, owner of Jessie’s Lounge at 118 Third St. SW, requested approval from the city to expand the 3,900-square-foot bar to include outdoor seating in the back of the building and to include a stage for live music on the vacant lot next to the bar to the south.

Skubna and her longtime boyfriend and co-owner, Robbie Loftus, said the proposed outside venue would be able to hold up to 500 people. The fire department does not set occupancy maximums on outside venues.

Skubna and Loftus do not own the vacant lot, and would lease the property for now.

The expanded patio in the back of the bar would hold 40 seats.

The city responded March 26 with a document that was to go before the Planning Commission for approval April 1. The document said that city staff is in favor of allowing the expansion but only if the bar and its owners follow certain conditions.

The rest of this article can be found here as it appeared on page A1 of The Ledger.

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