Council’s Burgers Beer & Billiards – Bradenton, Florida

The Bradenton Recreation Center (536 12th St W) goes way back to 1926. Council Smith purchased the then pool hall and watering hole where he worked in 1936.

In 1954, Council would move the business to its current spot, right across from the old courthouse. His son Lawton would eventually take the reins of the shop after his father passed away in 1977. Lawton made their burgers legendary.

He was also the person who added the Council name to the landmark establishment. Lawton then retired and sold the business in 2016.

It was reopened by a pair of new owners in February 2017 who renamed it Council’s Burgers Beer & Billiards. Unfortunately, it’s back on the market again.

UPDATE: Council’s has been closed since March 2020 and was sold once again in May 2020.

With its future again in doubt, I would not skip out on hitting up Council’s for a burger and a brew. So I finally decided to take my advice.

There was also a chili dog on the menu that I couldn’t turn down. I sat at the counter across from the old stove and spoke to Aaron (cook, bartender, historian).

He told me three of the four burners aren’t working. The oven is defunct too. The grill and the broiler drawer for toasting the bread are fine.

Old School Grills Rule

The fresh beef patties find their way to the grill. The old well-seasoned stove does all the work from there.

The hot dogs also manage to get a nice char on the outside. Unfortunately, I didn’t add any mustard to my chili dog, but it was tasty nonetheless.

I told Aaron no go on the lettuce and tomato. The burger assembly was different cause the mayo and onions went on the bottom bun while the mustard & the cheese were under the crown, aka top bun.

I enjoyed my conversation with Aaron about the ghosts at Council’s while I was downing their masterpiece double cheeseburger with an ice-cold beer in a frosty mug.

Yes, Council’s is haunted. If you want to hear the stories, you’re going to have to visit them and ask for yourself.

Coucil’s Decor

Some Bradenton history
Love the sign
Council's Pool Hall
Is Council’s Haunted?
Council's Antique Stove
Love this stove

Council’s Food

Bud Light in a frosty mug
Council's Chili Dog
Chili Dog
Council's Double Cheeseburger
Council’s Double Cheeseburger
Bye Bye Burger

2 thoughts on “Council’s Burgers Beer & Billiards – Bradenton, Florida”

  1. Thank you for the memories! I worked at a large bank just steps away from Council’s during the late 1960’s. I hope someone might help me remember the friendly card he put on each table. It invited customers to share their table and make a new friend. I still recall the sentiment and now that I live in a small North Carolina community with a very similar diner, I often think of Council’s and his offer to invite someone to join me. If anyone remembers the words on that card, please let me know – I’d like to share it with the owners of Wynn’s Diner in Leicester.


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