Three Orlando Nightspots: Creative Joy & Self-Destruction

A Look Into Patrick Barnes’ “Three Orlando Nightspots”

By Patrick Jude

I’ve never actually spoken with photographer Patrick Scott Barnes, but damn if I haven’t seen him; something that only serves to prove the anonymity that comes with being the man behind a camera. I feel that I know him a bit more after reading through his new book though. Barnes has been one of the most active photographers in Central Florida’s nightlife for over a decade – downtown, I-Drive, he’s done it all. Barnes, a multi-talented individual, is also a seasoned poet and with the successful release of his new book Three Orlando Nightspots Barnes has seamlessly merged his two favorite mediums.

For those who don’t know, most of the buildings on the corner of Washington and Orange are connected. The Beacham connects to The Social, which in turn connects with 64 North, The Patio and the rooftop Club Aero. Barnes spent a timeless period as the primary photographer for the latter three. Subsequently, his new poetry and pictures book is made up of three sections reflecting the names of these clubs.

Nightlife can be a bit of double-edged sword, which is ostensibly noted with the double entendre title of Barnes’ first poem, “Double Whammy”. The deeply personal opening poem details the passing of Barnes’ mother, as well as real world problems ranging from car troubles to evictions. Profoundly, the poem ends with “might as well enjoy my camera… and the booze”, mirroring two major humanistic reactions to strife – creative joy and self-destruction.

The book also delivers insight into the new, perhaps less fulfilling, consciousness that comes with performing a craft professionally – demographics, naysayers, health problems from too much “networking”. Three Orlando Nightspots is packed with sociological questions, with many of Barnes personal experiences, a la Hunter Thompson, driving the questions. Why do we drink so much? Why do men and women become so devoid of morality when they hit the downtown streets?

The book has been labeled misogynistic by some, and it has it’s parts, but one can’t deny the fact that Barnes puts the blame upon himself as well – specifically with a story that denotes his morning after shame when he realizes he’s old enough to be the father of the young lady in his bed. Few would speak, let alone publish, their guilt on the pathway of growth, so let’s not vilify him too much.

Three Orlando Nightspots is available for purchase on Amazon, and can be ordered through Barnes and Noble. Patrick Scott Barnes often has copies on him as well, so keep an eye out for him when you’re passing around town. I’m sure you’ll see him.


Born and raised in Orlando, and Socialist to the core, Patrick Jude graduated from The University Of Central Florida in 2015. He currently holds a B.A. in English Literature, as well as an A.A. in Jazz Performance from Valencia College. Jude is heavily tattooed, abstains from alcohol and is an avid Packers fan

Currently Reading – Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini