Have you ever wanted to experience what an authentic British or Irish pub is like without leaving the country? What about going to a pub “where everybody knows your name” the ol’ fashioned American way? There are five distinctive pubs here in Tampa Bay that has a bit of Britain, Ireland, and Boston to it.
Two are Tampa Bay institutions since the 1960s, while another has the whole family involved. Another one features a pub owner and his nephew whose father and uncle was a famous British and Hollywood character actor. One serves up authentic British fare such as Scotch Egg, British Pastry, and Steak and Mushroom Pie. All five fit the bill as pubs with great beer and wine and liquor, along with outstanding food and a very casual atmosphere.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Tampa
No, it’s not the classic 1970s album by Joe Crocker. It’s a quote from Rudyard Kipling. Pub owner Wilton Morley and his nephew Hugo Morley, a godson of Noel Coward, is in charge of Tampa’s first and foremost authentic English pub since 1991. Modeled after the 1960s Swinging London Mod period, Mad Dogs and Englishmen capture that era’s optimism and gaiety. It’s a place to have fun and good cheer. There’s even a poster featuring “8 Days A Week” with an album photo of The Beatles.
Be sure to try the pub favorites of British delights that include of course, Fish n Chips, Shepherd’s Pie, and Bangers & Mash. There’s even a wide-ranging mix of beers and wines to choose from. Incidentally, Wilton Morley is the son of the character actor Robert Morley who’s best known for his role as King Louis XVI in “Marie Antoinette.”
Address: 4115 South MacDill Avenue Tampa FL 33611
Phone: (813) 832-3037 Email: [email protected]
Hours: Brunch on Sunday 10 a.m. till 1 p.m., Lunch: Monday – Saturday 11 a.m. till 3 p.m., Dinner: 8 Days A Week – 5 p.m. till 10 p.m., Friday – Saturday 5 p.m. till 11 p.m.
Crowley’s Downtown – St. Petersburg
The Crowley family all welcome you to their downtown pub filled with reasonably priced, delicious meals along with beer and wine. Dennis, Alice and their sons Denyse, Nicholes, Mathew, and daughters Michelle, and little Alice work in various parts of the pub.
For starters you can try Crowley’s Downtown true Irish cuisine of pub fries and gravy, Deegan’s or Irish deviled eggs, pots & dogs, and Irish banger’s. Their entrees feature corned beef and cabbage, Crowley’s Pie or Shepherd’s Pie, and Guinness Beer battered fish & chips. Check out their weekly events of Trivia Tuesday, Daniel O’Ryan on Wednesdays, and Bawdy Boys every Thursday. Slainte
Address: 269 Central Avenue St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 821-1111
Hours: Sunday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., Thursday – Friday 11 a.m. – 3 a.m., Saturday 8 a.m. – 3 a.m.
O’Keefe’s – Clearwater
It’s one of the oldest pub establishments in Tampa Bay. O’Keefe’s has been around since 1961. Bill O’Keefe was the original owner until his death in 1969. His son Frank, an early member of the Southern rock band — Outlaws, frequented the pub with his band mates. Joe Smith then took over. He eventually sold O’Keefe’s to the DuQuesnay family in 1980 who’ve owned it ever since. In 1971 the pub was hit by a truck demolishing everything inside, except a pole that still has a reminder of the accident.
O’Keefe’s boast one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day private party celebrations in the country that keeps growing bigger and bigger every year. The Irish Puffs appetizer is a must and an award winner to boot. Then you have the O’Keefe’s classic dishes including Mulligan’s Stew, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Fish & Chips, and Shepherd’s Pie. Enjoy karaoke every Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Address: 1219 S. Fort Harrison Avenue Clearwater, FL 33756
Phone: (727) 442-9034
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. till 2 a.m.
Horse & Jockey British Pub – South Pasadena
A mainstay in South Pasadena amongst British visitors and Brit expats is this authentic pub serving real food from Great Britain. Some say their fish and chips are the best they’ve ever tasted in the U.S. If you love beer there are 16 beers on tap with many fresh choices at the Horse & Jockey British Pub. On Sundays you can order a traditional British dinner with a choice of roast pork, roast beef, or lamb with mashed potatoes, three vegetables, gravy and salad.
For lunch try the Ploughman’s with its traditional sharp cheddar cheese, pickles, crispy bread, and salad. Another highlight of their menu is the savory pies consisting of cottage, steak, kidney, or fish. Be sure to try the Scotch eggs, steak and mushroom pie, and English pastry too. You’ll feel right at home with its lavish British decor complete with a phone booth.
Address: 1155 Pasadena Avenue S. South Pasadena, FL 33707
Phone: (727) 345-4995
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. till 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. till 11 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. till 11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. till 10 p.m.
Tapper Pub – Tampa
It might not be straight out of the TV show “Cheers” from the 1980s, or a real pub in Boston, but it comes mighty close to anything Tampa has to offer with regards to a neighborhood bar. Opened in 1967 Tapper Pub is a bona fide Tampa institution. It claims to have the distinction of acquiring the first liquor license in Hillsborough County in a shopping center. Good food and good cheer are what this place is all about. Draft beers range at $1.50 and cocktails at $3, plus their excellent sandwiches are always made fresh. Cigarette and cigar smoking is allowed. It’s situated in the Britton Plaza shopping center two doors down to Publix. Primarily catering to the far end of South Tampa’s working class district, the crowd is a mix of regulars, curious shoppers, and ardent pub-goers.
Address: 3832 S. Dale Mabry (Britton Plaza next to Publix), Tampa, FL 33611
Phone: (813) 839-7845
Hours: Monday – Sunday 11 a.m. till 3 a.m.