Everybody knows his name: Brian Longstreth was Grand Central’s go to guy in 2015

By : Jeremy Williams
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Brian Longstreth, 54, has been one of the most visible faces in St. Pete’s LGBT community since moving to the vibrant beach town 32 years ago. He has also been a driving force in LGBT business.

Longstreth started Your Neighborhood Realty in 1999, opened Gay St. Pete House in 2008 and was one of the original organizers of St. Pete Pride.

When Georgie’s Alibi closed in September, Longstreth saw yet again something missing in the LGBT community in St. Pete. It needed that go to, hangout spot where everyone knew your name.

“I had been encouraging another bar and restaurant to move into a space on Central and when they didn’t move forward with it I figured I might as well do it,” Longstreth says. “With Georgie’s closing it just seemed like the time was right.”

Punky’s Bar and Grill was born, or at least is in the process of being birthed. A new restaurant on Central Avenue in St. Pete, Punky’s looks to partly fill that void left by Georgie’s closing. You may even see a few familiar faces there.

“We have the ability to help some people get back to work,” Longstreth says. Several of the management and staff are former Georgie’s employees. For Longstreth, the community is what it has always been about.

“I always try to give back to the community,” he says. “Very early on I realized that the LGBT market was a niche market that people weren’t serving, and I wanted to try and make that a reality for a lot of people.”

Serving the community he intends to do with Punky’s. They are already setting up events with Equality Florida, St. Pete Pride and TIGLFF.

“We’re sponsoring a softball team already. We are supporting local politicians and will continue to work with the Grand Central District and continue the revitalization of Central Ave,” Longstreth says.

When asked if he intends to take any time for himself in 2016.

“I hope once Punky’s gets up and running, I can slow down just a bit and enjoy some time at the bar,” Longstreth says.

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