Local product Doug “Dougie Fresh” Hensel always knew there were nightlife possibilities in downtown St. Petersburg. Growing up on the “other side of the bridge,” Hensel, like so many other Pinellas County residents, would make the tiresome trek to Ybor City in the 1990s to experience the dynamic sights and sounds of club music. He got his start spinning records at WILD 98.7 FM and worked the turntables at the Pleasuredome club in Ybor before eventually starting his own production company in St. Petersburg. In the mid-aughts, Hensel used his networking ability to influence local bigwigs to invest in turning the Central Avenue block area into a nightlife haven, using the First Friday event as a starting block. Whereas just a few age-old relics like Mastry’s and The Oyster Bar used to rule the roost, there’s now a plethora of choices for party-goers. One of those places is Suite Six Bar & Lounge, a New York-style shotgun type bar co-owned by Hensel. He has had several special events at Suite Six, including fashion show benefits. In addition, Hensel recently opened up for Calvin Harris at a Tampa Bay Rays concert night, and performs on Friday and Saturday nights for all Rays home games. —Chris Girandola
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