The Bodisattva Social Club
When it comes to Downtown Orlando, The Bodhisattva Social Club was one of the last of its kind, a bar catering to the bohemian crowd.
I think it opened in 1999 or the year 2000. At first, two people owned it. Then, the late Tom Butler became the primary owner.
The bar contained two floors. The following photos are of the first floor.
Bodhisattva labeled itself a nudist Buddhist biker bar. In the following pic, you can see Tom’s bike in the corner.
He put this sign on top of it.
Then, there was one of the best jukebox collections in Central Florida, containing everything from hip-hop, rock to jazz.
The following photos happened upstairs on the second floor.
Jeff Nolan. Sometimes he worked the upstairs bar.
Yet, most people know him as a guitar god.
Jeff worked with Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilot’s lead singer) on Weiland’s 1998 solo album named 12 Bar Blues. Recently, Jeff hosted a Hard Rock Cafe memorabilia tour.
This is him with the lovely and talented Jen Paxton.
DiViNCi. Beats-maker for hip-hop group Solillaquists of Sound.
Him and lead rapper, Swamburger. This was years before they were signed to ANTI-/Epitaph records.
John David Baldridge. Many Central Florida musicians and singers covered his music.
That’s me in the Ice Cube shirt. I forgot who the other guy was. On my far right behind me is Tom Ward and Jim O’Rourke, two local musicians.
Tom Butler never allowed folks to take his picture. Yet, local artist Dan Erminger managed to get one.
Bodhisattva closed in 2004. A short time later, Tom Butler died.
Like I mentioned earlier, Bodisattva was one of the last of its kind in Downtown Orlando. Nowadays, the bohemian crowd hangs out in the Virginia Drive and Mills Avenue area. Some go to the Milk District. All areas located near Downtown Orlando’s edge. Yet, not exactly located in Downtown Orlando.
Still, Bodhisattva and Tom Butler will always be missed by many people.