OLDSMAR — The Oldsmar Tap House, a pioneer on the Tampa Bay craft beer scene, has been sold to an upstart, the House of Brews.
Last Friday was last call for the Tap House, said owner Tony Falso, who said he plans to focus his energy on Eve's Family Restaurant in Oldsmar, a 150-seat breakfast-and-lunch spot his family has owned for years.
The Tap House, located at 300 State St. E, had little competition when it opened more than three years ago, Falso said, but since then craft beer bars have spread throughout the bay area, including the House of Brews.
"People like to drink locally,'' Falso said. With so many other options suddenly available, Falso said his business dropped more than 40 percent, despite getting top marks by Ratebeer.com as one of the best craft beer bars in the country.
It didn't help, he said, that his bar was "stuck back there in that ghost town they call a downtown.''
The new owners plan to add liquor and dramatically expand what had been a limited food menu. Falso thinks those two changes will draw more people from the neighborhood.
This will be the second House of Brews location. The first is at 17683 N Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz. That location has a full bar along with specialty beers on tap, specialty drinks and pub food.
The Tap House's closing was big, Falso said, with a street party at the end of a 5K race it sponsored that drew 2,000 runners. "We went out in grand style,'' he said.