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SoHo Tavern

Vitals: 2221 W Platt Street, Hyde Park. (813) 253-5900. Monday, 5 p.m. to between 2 and 3 a.m.; Tuesday, closed; Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to between 2 and 3 a.m.

The spot: SoHo Tavern sits on what I call the Corner of Doom. Many a bar and restaurant has come and gone here, some in as little as three months. But I hope SoHo Tavern is here to stay. It has everything other bars in Hyde Park lack — a low-key, tight-knit and friendly crowd. The atmosphere inside the narrow, Irish green laundromat-turned-tavern is fun and comfortable, and the staff is more than accommodating at both bars. That's right — SoHo Tavern has two medium-sized bars at adjacent corners in the room. As the night lingered on, the bar near the quaint outside patio grew louder by the drink. Flat-screen TVs scattered throughout the tavern aired sports, and in the center of the room, a slew of tables surrounded a huge flat-screen mounted on the wall. The green and dark wood paneling make for a cozy atmosphere, unlike some other high-profile bars in Hyde Park.

The crowd: For the most part it's an under-35 crowd, with a few oddballs scattered about — but, hey, these are the people who give a bar a bit of added flair. People dress attractively casual, with flip flops and jeans. It seemed like the crowd was more interested in having a good time than prowling for another on-the-market single. With bartenders in football jerseys, this place is almost a cliché of a spot where you'd expect to see a group of guys watching a game and tossing back a few brews.

Juice: Liquor, bottled beer and shots, oh my. Like most bars, SoHo Tavern offers just about any liquor needed to make a stiff drink. But when it comes to beer, you'll only find bottled brews on the menu, no draft. There's no happy hour either, but they do offer daily specials — $10 domestic buckets, and $5 Jager, grape, cherry, and orange shots. On my visit, I stuck with Captain and Coke concoction and it was quite tasty — not too strong, but strong enough.

Grub: This is where SoHo Tavern really stands apart from its neighboring bars. The food is awesome and the pizzas are to die for, whether you've been drinking or not. I asked the man behind the bar for his favorite pizza, saying that's what I'd order. About 15 minutes later, a Meat Lovers with pepperoni, Italian sausage and meatballs was placed in front of us and devoured in about eight minutes. I am not a fan of meat pizza, but this one changed my mind. The rest of the menu ranges from normal bar grub to chicken Parmesan, fish sandwiches, burgers, wraps and lasagna.

SoHo Tavern 10/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:15pm]
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