Vitals: 1817 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon. (813) 643-0511. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
The spot: The Brandon Ale House is a true family sports bar with a fun atmosphere and great service. The dark wood paneling gives the bar a warm, cozy feeling that makes it all the more comfortable to relax and drink a few beers or cocktails. Dozens of TVs are mounted throughout the bar and dining area, so no matter what sport you want to watch, you'll be accommodated. Off to the side are two pool tables and a few arcade games. This is by no means a quiet joint, so don't expect to have a romantic one-on-one night out; instead go with friends or family and enjoy.
The crowd: I didn't see one person that didn't look like they were enjoying themselves. On any given day you're bound to see kids running back and forth from tables to arcade games asking for more change, a group of guys watching a game with a few pitchers of beer, or couples just hanging out having a good time. In the evening the family crowd seems to disappear and bar is filled with people in their 20s and older.
Juice: There are a lot of liquors and beers to choose from, but the difference lies in the great all-day, every day drink specials — $3.95 shots of Jager, $5 Captain Morgan doubles and $ Fosters pints, just to name a few. In the center of the bar are an array of domestics and imports like Dos Equis, Bass, Amstel, and Foster's. Happy Hour is from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday with $2 wells, $3 calls and house wines, and $4 premiums. The $1 daily drink specials are also available during Happy Hour and vary by day.
Grub: The food here rocks and is served up fresh and hot. An open kitchen behind the bar allows the aromas to fill the bar, almost forcing you to order something. The fried oysters are awesome, and chips and salsa come with refried beans topped with queso. Other items range from Chicken Marsala to burgers and hot wings. Prices are moderate, from $4.95 to $6.95 for lunch and $8.45 to $29.99 for dinner.