Stratford’s, the oldest bar in Hollywood, Florida, will soon be converted into a medical marijuana dispensary, according to media reports. First opened in 1938, Stratford’s Bar moved to its current location east of Interstate 95 on Hollywood Boulevard in 1944. The tavern was purchased by Stadlen Family Holdings for $1.5 million on Jan. 28 and will be closing later this year. After the final last call, a cannabis dispensary will be setting up shop at the site.
The medical marijuana retailer will be a partnership between the Stadlen company and Harvest Health and Recreation Inc. of Arizona. Ben Kimbro, a spokesman for Harvest, said that the property will be restored.
“We’ve got this wonderful iconic building that’s in a gateway entry point to Hollywood,” Kimbro said. “We want to get that property back to its original intended glory.”
Joseph Stadlen of Stadlen Family Holdings said that Stratford’s would remain a Hollywood landmark.
“We are not tearing down the building. We’re restoring it to its iconic heyday,” said Stadlen. “As someone who was born and raised in Hollywood, I recognize the significance that Stratford’s plays in the community, and I’m very respectful of that. We never even thought about tearing it down.”
Robin Roper, the daughter of former Stratford’s owner Guy Roper, Jr., said the bar and restaurant were popular with lots of people in South Florida.
“You had every walk of life, from blue-collar workers to judges to politicians,” said Roper, who still lives in Hollywood. “And everyone got along. It became like an extended family. We’d open the bar on Christmas Day for people who didn’t have anywhere to go.”
Even the Super Bowl-winning 1972 Miami Dolphins frequented Stratford’s.
“The Dolphins were in there all the time,” said Roper. “It was their watering hole, with the cheap drinks. They didn’t get paid then like they do now.”
Retired Hollywood detective Lee Soccol, who is now 70-years-old, said that he is a third-generation Stratford’s regular.
“We’d all meet Fridays after work at Stratford’s,” said Soccol, now 70. “That was the place. Each of us would take turns buying a round. The beer was cheap. They used to have a different dish every day of the week. Guy Roper did all the cooking.”
Soccol noted that he had been going to Stratford’s since he was a child.
“I used to go there as a kid with my father,” he said. “The old man, Roper’s father, would give you a Mounds candy car and a Coke for free.”
Attorney Mark Butler of Hollywood was another frequent patron.
“The people who were there were always very friendly. You’d go in and see people sitting in the same seats they always sat in,” Butler said. “I don’t know who wouldn’t go unless they had their nose up their butt and didn’t want to be seen there. No Boca babies at Stratford’s.”