Stardust Lounge | Downtown Orlando Retro Bar

By Mark Baratelli
Staff Page

The last time I was in the bar in the basement at 431 East Central Blvd., it was 1998. I'd just finished performing as an Ensemble Apprentice at a SAK Comedy Lab show. It was probably 10 or 11pm. The ensemble back then were people I looked up to and admired. I was new to improv and was soaking everything they did on stage up. They were big, big people in my eyes. They were brilliant and knew how to hold the audience in the palm of their hands, always knew the right thing to say on stage, the right choice to make. It was second nature to them. So to be asked to go hang out with them after shows was an honor.

Back then, this basement bar was a dive. Not a dump, just an undecorated, unpretentious room for boozing and hanging. Couple pool tables, cheap beer, not much else.

I happened to be in the area a couple days ago so I went inside for a look. Wow! Now called Stardust Lounge, the place is a fantastic throwback retro 1950s club with perfectly period booth seating, glassy starburst ceiling lights and wall sconces, and a fantastic back room with long cushy bench seating, cushioned walls ...and the pool tables! I went when it was empty on a lark and can't wait to check it out with friends when its hopping.