By Jennell Retamar
Although it may have taken a couple years to build Masons Live and have it up and running, Barry Carew, the owner and mastermind behind the new hot spot, wanted to make sure Lakeland’s newest music venue took off.
As the city’s only live music and grill, Masons Live has opened its doors to Lakeland’s eclectic crowd, catering to college students as well as the rest of the community.
“We knew that we wanted to do a special live music venue and we wanted to make sure that we brought really amazing acts, bands and DJ’s,” Carew chimes. “The main goal was to build a music venue and incorporate food and a place that was special that they could call their own.”
The overall goal of Masons is to wrap up live music and awesome food in a House of Blues type of package, creating an attractive venue for many.
Mason’s is also decked out with various neon signs, emitting a cheery and upbeat atmosphere. As tribute to the name of the establishment, there are also glowing mason jars that hang from the ceiling.
Although there isn’t a set theme, Masons is a revolving cultural and social hotspot that integrates topical interests of today’s youth, ranging from 80s throwbacks to upbeat and modern aspects to the occasional country theme.
Throughout the week Masons also hosts different nights such as Trivia Night on Tuesday’s and Karaoke Night on Wednesday’s.
“We have a full live stage that students can come and sing with their friends,” Carew said.
The only night where all students can enjoy a night out is on Thursday’s. Students who are 18+ may attend with their college and photo ID’s.
“Thursday’s are more of a dance theme and we try to keep it to just college students because we feel it should just be their night,” Carew explains.
Aside from having an indoor venue, Masons also has an outdoor patio area where corn hole, life-size Jenga and ring on a string can be enjoyed during a dancing break.
As the weather and season begins to change, the patio will be featuring DJ’s, bands and acoustic acts on the weekend. For these events, there will be bar stools, chairs and picnic tables so people can sit outside, enjoy the cool evening weather and soak in some great tunes.
For all the social media lovers out there, Mason’s also boasts a picture-worthy mural outside. It is the hot spot for photos and a classic Americana spin on what Masons is all about – coming together, socializing with each other and having a great time.
“We are so much more than just a venue and a grill. We can host charity events and sit down dinners,” Carew conveys. “Furthermore, our mantra is ‘do it live’. So many artists and musicians nowadays go the easy route, we went the road less traveled to get this place open. We really respect music and musicians in general so we want to continue to create a place where live music can come.”
While Masons is catered to entertaining the Lakeland community, they also have a grill that is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. The most popular appetizers are the truffle tator tots and the chicken and vegetable potstickems’. A popular main item is the “Best Damn Burger Ever”, it’s hand cut, weighed in the kitchen and the meat is always fresh, never frozen.
Masons also caters to vegetarians and vegans. They serve veggie wraps, fried okra and fried pickles. Although they do not serve organic products, most of the dishes Masons serves are very fresh, high-end products. Florida Southern students get a 25% discount on food at all times. Just make sure to bring the FSC ID.
“I want FSC students to know that we are a clean venue, safe and very friendly. On top of this we are trying to bring in entertainment that everyone can enjoy,” Carew said. “We are trying to give them something fun to be social and hang out.”