Like all bars, the Elbo Room has been closed for almost six months because of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s 167 days or so without any salaries or tips for the bartenders and staff.
To raise money for them and to help pay the bills that keep coming in despite COVID-19 shutdowns, the 82-year-old bar that became a Spring Break institution with the beach-a-licious 1960 hit movie “Where the Boys Are” is selling commemorate bricks.
“We had closed on St. Patrick’s Day and we’ve been closed ever since,” says Mike Penrod, who, along with his sisters Michele and Tracey, bought the Elbo Room in 1981. “And the bills have been eating us up.”
Connie Francis, the star of “Where the Boys Are” and a Parkland resident, got the first brick in her honor.
“I called her up,” Penrod says. “I wanted to see if she wanted to get involved and she said, ’Of course I do.’ Her brick says, ’Thanks to the Elbo Room 1960, Connie Francis.’”
A sponsored brick can have up to three lines of text and 20 characters per line, including spaces and punctuation. Interested individuals can visit, www.elboroom.com/product/sponsor-a-brick for more information
“So far, people are really liking it,” Penrod adds. “They really love the idea. We just put it on [Thursday] night with a little social media marketing and immediately people started getting bricks. I think we got like 40-something sold ... with just social media.”
Penrod says so far most people seem to pay homage to events such as their first Spring Break, high school reunion or just “...remember an old friend that they used to hang out with in the old days.” A few restaurant/bars have purchased a branded brick to show support.
The Elbo Room has been innovative before.
“We were the first commercial establishment to broadcast live on the internet back in 1996. We put a camera on the beach, the first one in the world. We used that as a marketing thing … and became a household name to a new generation.”
Like that proto-livestream idea, he says that the Elbo Room bricks are “another creative idea to survive. A lot of my friends that own bars, they are just going bankrupt.”
The Elbo Room still has five employees (managers, bookkeeper) working on upkeep and a few upgrades. There’s also insurance, taxes and rent.
“And our rent on that premium corner ain’t cheap,” Penrod says.
View complete article by Rod Stafford, Sun-Sentinel online
Originally printed August 28, 2020