In just a few short years the Tampa Bay area has gone from just a couple of beers bars to well over a dozen. Each one is distinctive and has it’s own “vibe” along with its unique cast of characters. Exploring new brew haunts first-hand is part of the fun for aspiring beer geeks, but it is nice to get a feel for these suds-centric cantinas before trekking out. Myself and my merry band of cohorts will selflessly scout out Tampa area beers bars, big and small, over the coming months and promptly report our findings.
Beer Bar: The Pour House (website)
Location: 1208 E. Kennedy Blvd. (actually facing Madison St.), Tampa FL (map)
Atmosphere: Urban and clean with a beautiful granite bar and polished concrete floors.
Beers on Tap: 40
Bottle Selection: A whopping 65, which are available to go as well.
Food: Popcorn is free and available self-serve. They do allow orders from nearby restaurants.
Verdict: A hip, downtown Tampa beer bar boasting a fantastic draft and bottle selection and an impressive wine list. Definitely a welcome escape from touristy Channelside.
Located a few blocks north of Channelside on the east side of downtown Tampa, The Pour House seems isolated. It’s relatively hard to find but upon arrival the inviting patio pulls you in — it looks like an oasis, especially on a hot Florida day.
Inside it’s a dark and cool retreat. The ambiance is industrial, sporting a painted, warehouse-like exposed ceiling, stained concrete floors, and an eye-catching granite bar. Modern art is tastefully hung on the walls and a few flat screen televisions can be spotted. The floor plan is open with leather pub chairs and bar height tables. Lounge-like leather couches with requisite coffee tables are also found throughout. Masculine and trendy, it feels like a giant version of someone’s awesome and expensive man-cave (complete with a pool table and electronic dart boards) — but in a good way.
With 40 beers on tap and many more by the bottle, there’s something for everybody. Local favorites Cigar City Brewing, Dunedin Brewery, and Saint Somewhere Brewing all make an appearance on the draft list. The bartender, Peter, was pleasant and patient as we perused the tap handles, offering samples of beers that we showed interest in. Southern Tier’s Iniquity Imperial Black Ale was a dark, hop-filled masterpiece. Get some if you can.
The friendly co-owner, James, says that for the most part the crowd is local — regular people, relaxed, and mid-30’s on average. Although I’m sure plenty of Bay area beer geeks, young and old, make the pilgrimage in from other areas of the metro, especially on the weekends. He’s excited for the new Stageworks Theatre opening in July which should bring more people in, provide additional exposure for the bar, and further develop the Grand Central area.
The Pour House is dog-friendly and even allows pooches inside (concrete floors). Events are held weekly including movies on Sundays and brewery keep-the-mug nights. They also frequently have fundraising events for worthy causes.
Overall, this cantina is a fantastic addition to the area beer scene, especially in downtown Tampa. A stylish but comfortable place for regular people and beer connoisseurs alike to meet and enjoy some quality craft brew.