Burt Reynolds was a man of many talents, but his greatest was definitely acting. He became an iconic actor in the 1970s and went on to have a career in Hollywood that spanned decades. A not-so-great talent of his was being the owner of a nightclub – but it did have a fun feature that only he would think to add.
Burt Reynolds was the 1970s
When you think of the 1970s, you might think of hippies, Woodstock and good ol’ Burt Reynolds. After over a decade of television roles, the actor finally caught his big break in the 1972 film Deliverance, in which he played Lewis Medlock. It wasn’t long before he was cast in even more classic films, including The Longest Yard (1974), Gator (1976), and Smokey and The Bandit (1977).
Smokey and The Bandit proved to be one of Reynolds’ most iconic roles ever, and the film became the second biggest of 1977, second only to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
Sporting his world-famous mustache, Reynolds solidified himself as a household name. He was reaping serious rewards for his popularity and, to celebrate, he decided to venture into the world of nightclubs.
In May 1977, Burt Reynolds opened Burt’s Place, a restaurant/nightclub located in the Omni International Hotel in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia pic.twitter.com/1zQACEtYmV
— RetroNewsNow (@RetroNewsNow) May 23, 2021
Burt Reynolds opened the nightclub Burt’s Place in Atlanta, Georgia at the Omni International Hotel. It made sense that he opted to open it there, as that was his “good luck state,” as described by stuntman Hal Needham, with whom he often worked. The Longest Yard, Smokey and The Bandit, and Gator were all filmed in Georgia; Reynolds felt right at home there, and believed it to be the perfect spot for his nightclub.
At Burt’s Place, you could grab dinner, a cocktail and boogie the night away. A key feature was the stained glass floor, which had a portrait of Reynolds’ face on it! Confusingly, his head was surrounded by the words, “Burt’s Joint,” which isn’t the same name as the bar, but we digress…
Even Reynolds loved to frequent the nightclub. He’d often stop in unannounced and perform various songs and dances alongside fellow actor, Dom DeLuise.
One in a chain of failed investments
Unfortunately, the flashing lights and groovy tunes of the nightclub did not last, and Burt’s Place was closed after just one year of operation. But that doesn’t mean Burt Reynolds had given up on it. Instead, he took the name with him and called the bar at his estate in Tequesta, Florida “Burt’s Place,” and even had a neon sign made to make it official.
The failed nightclub was only one in a series of failed investments made by Reynolds. He also made a bad investment in a regional restaurant chain called Po’ Folks, took a stake in the Tampa Bay Bandits football team during the short-lived US Football League and opened the Reynolds Dinner Theatre in Jupiter, Florida, which also didn’t last.