The question posed in the title, of course, depends on your definition of Broad Street staple Blind Tiger. Were you here in 2005 when you had to bribe the bouncer to get into last call with all your friends? Or did you join the scene closer to 2010 when the crowds shifted to Upper King and you could saunter into Blind Tiger with wedding crowds and an occasional familiar face. Perhaps you didn't notice either way and just wanted a shot of GrandMa in the South of Broad neighborhood.
New proprietor Mike Shuler shares everyone's concerns over the heralded bar. "It was an institution," he explains. He partied at Blind Tiger in the past and wants to maintain the fun, but he's also progressed a few years and has a vision for the space that involves a more mature atmosphere.
"I grew up with the Blind Tiger, and this was a different town — it wasn't a city — it was a town," says Shuler, "and with all these places opening, Tiger may have been left on the wayside, and it's time for it to be reincarnated." Shuler is no stranger to Upper King however; he owns college bar Midtown and dance club Trio, but sees the new Blind Tiger as a place for those looking for a respite from push of crowds near the newer establishments. "It's still going to be the old Blind Tiger," he promises, "we're not changing that."
With Shuler and his team, the space will be restored, the bar will have a larger booze selection, and the kitchen will have an expanded menu (including bringing back a killer burger). "Nobody wants the Tiger to change," he says, "we just want to put something into there that the neighborhood deserves."
Construction crews are currently at work bringing the original flooring back to life and overhauling the kitchen. Look for the updated Blind Tiger to open "sooner rather than later."