Pasco bar taps into longing for late-night hangout

A bartender works during a busy Friday night at the Brass Tap, a new bar at the Shops of Wiregrass. The Brass Tap stays open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

MIKE CAMUNAS | Times

A bartender works during a busy Friday night at the Brass Tap, a new bar at the Shops of Wiregrass. The Brass Tap stays open until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

WESLEY CHAPEL — Tony Rosas is all tapped out.

However, that hasn't hindered his business venture. Instead, it has pretty much assured he's on the fast track to success.

Rosas, 28, is the owner and operator of the Brass Tap, a new bar at the Shops at Wiregrass mall at State Road 56 and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. It's one of those trendy new bars, the kind that shies away from mainstream beers, instead putting microbrews and rare beers on tap.

When the place opened Oct. 30, Rosas said he was a bit ill-prepared.

"Actually, (we sold out of some beer) two weeks in a row," Rosas said. "The first week, I had two kegs of every beer we have on tap. That wasn't enough. Then, I got four kegs each, and that got blown out of the water. I ended up ordering six kegs (for) each (beer), and I think I've about got it going right now."

Rosas is fully stocked, and his bar offers about 40 beers on tap and 210 by the bottle, as well as a solid wine list.

The bar doesn't offer food, although it opens at noon daily. But the Brass Tap does allow people either to bring in food, or to order to go from two neighboring restaurants, GrillSmith and Cantina Laredo.

"We're not a restaurant," Rosas said. "We're a late-night, live-entertainment bar, and that was our target. We wanted to come out here and have a place open past midnight, up to 2 a.m.

"Look, we didn't reinvent the wheel with some new bar. We put our own twist on a bar, but we feel like this place can be the local watering hole for people to jump over to."

Rosas was a cop in Pinellas County for seven years before starting the bar. So far at the Brass Tap, his crowd has been people who are just happy a spot is open past midnight.

"This place is well-needed for the area," Melissa Rady, 36, said on her first visit. "This gives people around here more of a choice."

"It's got a good vibe to it," said 24-year-old Adam Holland, beer and cigar in hand. "I haven't really been to this mall yet, but it's great it's open this late. We never had that out here, and, really, it was needed for those who want to be out late."

With the closing of Bennigan's on Bruce B. Downs, many latenighters in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel were searching for a place to drink and catch live music.

The Tap is aiming to fill that void. So far, so good.

"There are chill people here," said 21-year-old Brass Tap server Cydni Cellamar. "People who come here are really laid back, looking to something different but also a place to just relax. The variety here is something else. There's nothing like that around here that can offer what we have. This will eventually be the beer place."

No matter how it's viewed, as long as the music is playing and the beer is flowing, Rosas feels people will keep coming back.

"We're always changing," Rosas said. "You can come in here one night and try something new, a different beer you've never had, then come back the next week, and try another new beer we didn't have previously. I think people are really going to warm up to that.

"So far, I'm very lucky and very happy with the turnout."

Mike Camunas can be reached at mcamunas@sptimes.com or (352) 544-1771.

Fast facts

The Brass Tap

Where: 2000 Piazza Ave., Unit 110, Wesley Chapel, in the Shops at Wiregrass

Owner: Tony Rosas

Hours: Noon to 2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, noon to midnight Sunday

Menu: Offers 40 beers on tap and 210 bottled beers, as well as a full wine list.

Info: Visit www.brasstapbeerbar.com or call (813) 714-2459.

Pasco bar taps into longing for late-night hangout 11/27/08 [Last modified: Saturday, November 29, 2008 1:17pm]

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