Matt Brooks knows a thing or two about good beer.
After graduating from Bloomingdale High School in 1994, he worked in various bars during his collegiate career that started at USF, took him to Mars Hill College in North Carolina — where he studied the saxophone — and ended at Florida State.
He took that bartending knowledge and bottled it and the result is the Talking Pint bar that opened March 22 at 13428 Boyette Road in Riverview. Brooks said he wanted to create a Bohemian atmosphere centered around American craft beers on tap.
Expect to find Miller Lite, Yuengling and Crispin Cider occupying three of the taps on a regular basis. The rest get swapped in and out, one keg at a time.
"It's themed like a coffee house you might have gone to in college," Brooks said. "There is so much great beer going on in America, it has more character."
Check facebook.com/the talkingpint for an up to date list of craft beers on tap. Currently you can find names like Terrapin Hopsecutioner, Capital Hop Cream Ale and Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz among others.
The Talking Pint, open 2 p.m. to midnight all week, also offers food "on the healthy side," said Brooks. Items such as hummus, flatbreads and vegan options for as low as $4 for appetizers up to $10 for a grilled chicken salad dot a colorful menu. You also can get a cappuccino to chase your Goose Island Summertime Kolsch draft.
Located in a residential area, the Talking Pint offers a neighborhood bar feel where the one television is customer controlled. Sometimes that means nearly missing the NCAA Tournament Final game because the entire place is engrossed in a 5-hour Pawn Stars marathon.
If you pull up a stool and order a Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Sweet Potato Stout, don't be afraid to challenge somebody to classic board games like Battleship or Connect Four.
You will fit right in.
"We have a good group of regulars," Brooks said.
FishHawk Tavern finding its way
Sharon King and her husband Chris know what it takes to own and operate a bar. For the past 6 ½ years, the Brandon residents have been the proprietors of Lenny's bar in Seffner.
Live music, pool tables, a smoke-friendly atmosphere and patrons ready to imbibe at 10 a.m. on Saturdays are staples of the establishment that has been in the strip mall off Martin Luther King for more than 30 years.
So when they opened the Fishhawk Tavern in March right in the heart of Fishhawk Ranch at the Park Square Town Center, they had the blueprint for success — or so they thought. While the Fishhawk Tavern has pool tables and hosts live bands as well, things are a little different for the Kings.
"This is totally different," Sharon said. "This is more families with kids."
Sharon, who is used to cracking open cold Budweisers at Lennys, said the Fishhawk crowd prefers different drinks from the full-liquor tavern, including shots and India Pale Ales.
The Kings took over what used to be the Upstairs Bar, kept the popular pool tables and resurfaced the deck. They are open 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. daily and have live music on Fridays, a DJ on Saturdays and karaoke on Wednesdays. A new team trivia night takes place on Tuesdays and a dart machine is in the plans.
"We dressed it up a bit," said Chris, who likes the idea that many of his patrons can safely walk home. "This is a little bit higher end."
Even though the Kings have done a lot, including hosting a successful grand opening in April, everybody in the neighborhood still doesn't know their name.
"A lot of people still don't know we're open," Sharon said.
In January, we told you that one of the nation's largest off-price retailers was coming to Riverview. Marshalls officially opened on May 9. If you know of something that should be in Everybody's Business, email Eric Vician at [email protected]