New bar incorporates best of old, new traits

The name will remain the same, at least for now, but there are a few changes in store for the Harborside Bar & Grill.

Just four months after it closed, Harborside, formally the Port Orchard Tavern, is in the process of a major renovation under the watchful eye of Scott Hlinka and is slated for an April 17 reopening.

“We saw this place was open, and we used to hang out here, and when we saw it was for sale, we decided it was something we had to have,” Hlinka said. “We just got into it and it just happened.”

Hlinka, who is also the vice president of Port Orchard Wireless, a cellular phone service center, is taking a cue from the former owner of Harborside as well as relying on his past experience in the bar business to give himself the best chance to succeed.

Hlinka purchased the business side of Harborside from Ron Rider on March 1 and has a five-year building lease he hopes to buy from Rider when the time comes.

Rider, who also owns Northwest Tree Service and sits on the Port Orchard City Council, admitted at the store’s closing that part of the problem was a lack of time he could spend overseeing the day-to-day operation.

Hlinka says he will not have that problem.

“That’s where you really start losing it,” Hlinka said. “I think that’s a lot of the reason in the past things haven’t been successful here. It hasn’t been a hands-on type of owner business.

“I’ve seen everything from start to finish, even the dance floor,” Hlinka said. “That’s the way it’s been, and I kind of want to keep it like that — keep it hands on.”

Hlinka and his wife Crystal have been spending plenty of time at the 714 Bay Street location, putting the final touches on what will be a dual-role bar.

The bottom section of the two-story building will be a restaurant/sports bar, catering to families during the day and evenings before switching over to serve a late-night clientele.

The upstairs portion has been sealed off and will contain a dance floor complete with DJ booth and stage for live music.

The restaurant section on the main floor will serve a traditional family-style menu under the guide of chef Derrick Lewis. It will be non-smoking during the day and will be in service until 8:30 p.m. At that time, the kitchen will close, turning the whole floor into a sports bar complete with seven televisions with satellite feeds and a small bar-food type menu.

“We’re really going for just a standard sports bar down here,” Hlinka said. “There’s not a real sports bar in the area.”

The upstairs portion, which Hlinka has dubbed Club Octane, will operate on a four-night schedule with karaoke on Wednesday, a DJ and dancing on Friday and live music performing on Saturdays.

“We’re not really going to bring in a lot of cover bands,” Hlinka said. “We’re more focusing on the local scene, there’s a lot of local musicians out there.”

The establishment is open to everyone until 8:30 p.m., when patrons must be 21 or older.

The outside patio portion is also undergoing a bit of a change. The stage will get a facelift, as will the mural painted on the wall next door. The gas fire pits will remain, as will the outdoor seating.

“There’s a lot of potential for something like this,” Hlinka said. “And with the two levels, we can catering to just about everyone.”

Hlinka, who owed and operated The Rock nightclub near Boise, Idaho, is hoping to carry a full-time staff of 10 to 12 employees including bartenders, waitstaff and security.

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