Monday, September 9, 2013

Hogan's Beach Shop in Clearwater, FL and Hogan's Beach Bar in Tampa, FL

If you've been paying attention to this 'ol blog, you might have picked up on the fact that, besides being a Dukes fancatic, I am a Hulkamaniac.  Been one for years.  I bleed red and yellow, Brother!  One a recent trip to the Tampa Bay area, I had to make a pilgrimage to the centers of all things Hulkster: Hogan's Beach and Hogan's Beach Shop.

Just to bring you up to speed, here are my 2012 and 2006 multi-award winning Halloween costumes.  Oh yeah, I'm a Hulkamaniac.

I had an idea of where Hogan's Beach Shop was located on Clearwater Beach, so I just started walking north.  Clearwater is a very beautiful beach, and it sure was crowded on Labor Day, but once I got in front of the resorts with their private beaches, I could really appreciate the place.

As soon as I got off the beach, I noticed the above sign--- almost like a mirage in the desert.

Ok, our pal Ben (Ben Jones, Cooter on the Dukes of Hazzard and former U.S. Congressman, for you new readers) didn't open a beach restaurant while we weren't looking.  Cooter's in Clearwater is apparently a pretty popular place and has been there since 1993.  That is considered the "dark ages" of the Dukes, so I doubt the name had anything to do with Hazzard and probably more to do with the turtle, but you never know.  I do love the "Steelers Country" sign.  And now back to Hulk Hogan...

Hogan's Beach Shop is on Mandalay Avenue, one street off the beach.

In between a fitness studio and a pizza place, sits one awesome destination.

As soon as you walk in, a Hulkamaniac feels right at home.  Red and yellow, and a little black and white, are everywhere.  It is a special place.

Just look at those belts.  There are ring worn items and autographed pieces.  Along with the memorabilia for sale, there are a lot of pieces on display.  It is very similar to Cooter's Place, the Dukes of Hazzard museum.  Which of course, I love.

T-shirts, tank tops, mugs, shot glasses, sunglasses, beach bags, and hats are the standard items for sale.  But you can even buy Wrestlemania XIX commemorative folding chairs and autographed Hulkmaina weight lifting belts.

Ah the Thunder Mixer.  If only it were the grill.  It is a cool piece that every Hulkamaniac should own.  I already have one.

Above the shelves and racks are great pictures portraying aspects of Hogan's career.  The standard red and yellow Hulk shirt is perfect, but having the option to buy so many different Hogan shirts with different designs and colors is great.  I bought three.

There are just so many different things to look at.

This is a vintage item and I'm surprised it's on the bottom shelf for sale.  But you never know what you'll find. This may have been in Hulk's basement.

This statue they have outside reminds me of the General Lee outside of Cooter's Place.  It draws people in, but probably takes a little abuse.  They have to wheel it in each night.

Hogan's Beach Shop is an awesome place.  I have to get back there soon.  Lali was working when I was there, and she was great to talk to.  She was very knowledgeable and seemed to enjoy talking Hogan.    She said that Hulk comes in occasionally but unfortunately he wasn't there while I was.  They are celebrating their one year anniversary in October.  The Hulkster himself will be at the party.  Wish I could make it.

Hey look, Google made one of those cool panorama shots of the shop out of my pictures.  Looks pretty good.

I also made my way to Hogan's Beach in Tampa.  It is quite a different kind of place.

I actually went there first and didn't exactly know what to expect.  Walking in was pretty exciting.  Hulk mementos everywhere and that statue.

As soon as a I walked in, I ran into the Mouth of the South, Jimmy Hart!  It was unbelievable to meet a wrestling legend.  He was a very nice guy and was very much involved in what was going on at the establishment.

Outside has a great beach bar vibe.  The volleyball courts take up most of the area.  Did I mention I love playing beach volleyball?  There are several bars and even a shark you ride like a mechanical bull.  It's called the Sharkster.  There are also a big stage and a DJ booth.  Everything you need for a great beach party.

I got to play a little volleyball.  That was my main goal for the trip.  Just to play volleyball.  The fact that I got to play at Hogan's was so much more than I expected.  Playing in the Florida heat sure was different than my normal Fourth of July game in Ocean City, MD.

It got to be pretty crowded, and everyone seemed to be having a great time.

After my volleyball game, I rented a jet ski.  That was lot of fun too.

Every bar should have the Winged Eagle Championship hanging in it.  At least every bar I want to go to.

Speaking of championships, there were great displays at Hogan's Beach.  My favorite is the above mentioned Winged Eagle, but I also really like the WWE Undisputed Title (third from the top in the second picture).  Hogan beat Triple H for it in 2002 during his comeback.  I really liked that belt but they didn't use it enough and replaced it with that stupid spinning trinket belt that they used for way too long.  But I'll step off my wrestling soap box now.

A toy guy like me can really appreciate this display.  There are just so many cool pieces to look at.

I was really surprised by how big Hulkster's boots are.

I loved the red and yellow, but man I ate the nWo black and white up when I was in high school.  Hulk reinvented himself as Hollywood and I loved every minute of it.

This is a really cool poster.  Wrestlemania III was the greatest match of all time.

My pal Mark really liked the Rocky III portion.

I wonder how many of these statues Hulk owns.

Hogan's Beach is located at 770 Courthey Capmbell Causeway in Tampa, Florida.  It has a great atmosphere.  The food is really good and there are a lot of things to do.  Any beach lover would have fun there, but if you consider yourself a Hulkamaniac, you have to visit it, it's required Brother!  It's a shame I didn't get to meet the man himself, but this won't be my last trip to either Hogan's Beach or Hogan's Beach Shop.  I know I will meet him someday.  Whatcha Gonna Do Hulk Hogan...When the DukesCollector Runs Wild On You??!!?!?!

Looks like Boss Hogg has found Hogan's Beach.

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