The bar opened in 1977 when Bruce Muir, a retired World War II fighter pilot and Lt. Commander, bought the former home of a doctor and modeled the bar after those he experienced in the South Pacific. Simply known as “The Boo” by regulars, it was a popular hang out for Disney cast members and ex-cast members.
The front of the bar was decorated with a World War II era ambulance and spotting tower which were maintained by customer and employee volunteers, and a decrepit spotter plane hidden in the brush. The parking lot was unpaved and flooded every time it rained since it sat six feet below the adjacent road and neighboring shopping center. Regular patrons were the only ones who knew how to drive through “Big Lake Bamboo” without having their cars fall apart.
Initially, the interior was decorated with Bruce’s paraphernalia from his Navy aviator days. Over the course of 20 years, patrons contributed extensively to the decor, hanging up anything from old Disney name tags and business cards to foreign money and aviator helmets. Attaining local popularity, animators and Disney personal frequented the “The Boo”. Many celebrities even visited the lounge including Wesley Snipes, Larry Dierker, Yogi Berra and Ralph Kent. Along with all the memorabilia pinned and nailed to the walls, for years the animators would draw pictures for Bruce to be posted on the wall behind the bar.
Considered one of the best home brewers in Central Florida, they sold their signature drink, The Big Bamboo, which is their own version of a rum punch with some extra kick and served in a 16 oz. mason jar. As for coasters, 3 sheets of toilet paper were used ever since one day, Bruce ran out of actual coasters and decided to use toilet paper ever since.
In 2004, the bar closed down due to hurricane damages. In December 2005, a fire destroyed it, caused by vagrants trying to keep warm according to officials. It was also thought by some to be the same vagrants that lived in the nearby Xanadu home, before it was demolished just a few weeks prior.
In the end, the Big Bamboo Lounge was demolished.
Photo(Nomeus – Flurbex.com): The inside of the bar soon after the fire was put out.
Big thanks to Nomeus of Flurbex.com for providing the photos and drawings included in this post!