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Seffner Tiki Hut is bigger, better; World of Beer coming to Brandon

Mark Dentmon, middle, who owns the Seffner Tiki Hut Bar & Grill with his father, Marshall, stands with cook Rich Funk and bartender Amanda Fortunato in the renovated watering hole.

Eric Vician | Special to the Times

Mark Dentmon, middle, who owns the Seffner Tiki Hut Bar & Grill with his father, Marshall, stands with cook Rich Funk and bartender Amanda Fortunato in the renovated watering hole.

SEFFNER — The colorful structure at 1001 U.S. 92 E has been called many things over the years, including Billy Bob's, JR's Floribbean BBQ, Carolyn's Freaky Tiki Hut and, since October 2011, the Seffner Tiki Hut Bar & Grill.

But it has never looked quite like it does now.

Sure, you can still find motorcycles lined up outside most nights, and the wood slat walkway continues to lead you back to one of the community's most beloved watering holes. But passers-by might not know that you no longer can call this place tiny.

"Don't let the small front discourage you," said Mark Dentmon, who owns the bar with his father, Marshall.

Thanks to the help of his brother Billy, of WE Dentmon Construction, the tiki hut was renovated late last year, turning the cozy mazelike quarters into an open floor design with two bars, a high-arching ceiling and a sandy beach bar area. All of it spans 4,000 square feet.

Gone are canned sodas, in favor of fountain drinks. As for adult beverages, there are now 10 beers on tap, seven more than before. Other improvements include more space for live bands, a new ATM, a jukebox and a couple of video games.

Regulars already know about karaoke Tuesday, including kamikaze style, where singers have to belt out their best renditions of whatever song gets picked out of a hat. Thursdays tend to draw a decent hockey-watching crowd, and Sundays are for NASCAR.

It's all part of what one might expect from a neighborhood bar, where everybody knows your name.

In fact Carolyn Ballard, who used to own the establishment before the Dentmons, still works here as a bartender.

The Seffner Tiki Hut Bar & Grill usually is open until midnight, but if the clientele is here, Mark says they will stay open as late as 3 a.m. It's a pet-friendly hangout — one patron brings his parrot — and Mark says everybody, including the 32 regulars who take an annual Tiki Hut cruise, enjoys gator bites, burgers, wings and thick quesadillas.

"Everybody knows everybody," Mark Dentmon said. "It's a relaxed atmosphere, a place for locals to have a good time."

World of Beer coming to Causeway area

Craft beer lovers in the Brandon area soon won't have to travel to South Tampa anymore to enjoy the 60 brews on tap and more than 500 brands of bottled beer at World of Beer, as the local franchise will open its newest location at 2878 Providence Lakes Blvd. in early April.

And better yet, they won't have to attend a two-week beer school and score a 90 percent or higher on a 300-question test — a requirement for WOB employees working the floor.

While it might be good to know the correct type of glass to use for properly enjoying a hefeweizen beer, it's okay if you just want to show up for the live music or bring your dog for a treat on the patio.

"People can go for the experience, not necessarily the beer," said WOB general manager John Hanley.

Hanley, who has worked for WOB for two years, said the experience includes catering to groups like women and college students on theme nights, hosting local bands and acts from as far away as Nashville, Tenn., and being able to enjoy food from neighboring restaurants like Mellow Mushroom or Jersey Mike's Subs.

While a new finger food menu is in the works for all 36 World of Beer establishments, patrons who want more than beer can order off these menus.

To be among the first to experience World of Beer in Brandon, "like" WOB on Facebook for an invitation to the soft opening party.

If you know of something that should be in Everybody's Business, please contact Eric Vician at ericvician@yahoo.com.

Seffner Tiki Hut is bigger, better; World of Beer coming to Brandon 03/14/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 3:52pm]
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