Thursday, April 19, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Bar review: Happy hour, and 96-ounce Moscow Mules, beckon at Blind Goat in Tampa

I'm not a big happy hour guy, but I am a fan of bold claims, so I had to check out Blind Goat Food & Drink Co. when I saw it advertising "South Tampa's best happy hour."

Come to think of it, that may not be too tall of an order. There are some decent specials to be found in South Tampa, but the bars trend higher on the price scale to begin with, so happy hour is often more of a reasonably priced hour. It's the kind of claim that gets people in the door, though.

The Blind Goat is named after the "blind pigs" and "blind tigers" that were used to describe speakeasies during Prohibition, and although it advertises Prohibition-style drinks, it's very much a modern neighborhood bar.

The bar is decorated with a variety of quirky local art, including, naturally, several metal sculptures of goats. It's a compact, two-room deal, with a small bar space and even smaller bar proper, neighbored by a larger dining area — a small kitchen serves simple bar food like salads and flatbreads. There's a side patio with a couple of high tops and a scaled-down version of horseshoes played with metal washers, as well as — strangely enough — an outdoor pool table.

The Palma Ceia neighborhood needed a solid, go-to neighborhood bar. Blind Goat has become that bar in the past year or two, as evidenced by the fact that it can be surprisingly tough to order a drink at the crowded bar, even on weekdays, and well past happy hour.

Speaking of happy hour, this seems to be a case of honest advertising. While it's an entirely typical Monday through Friday, 4 to 7 p.m. kind of deal, the prices are legitimately cheap and are not limited to the least desirable drinks. You're looking at $3 premium wells, $4 craft drafts, $5 house wines and cocktails, as well as $5 food specials.

There's even a late-night happy hour on the weekends, with additional drink specials after 10. And weekends feature some good ol' day-drinking specials: all-you-can-drink Bloody Marys, mimosas and Shock Top tallboys for $15 from noon to 4 p.m.

Better yet, there are daily specials that last all day, such as a different $5 cocktail available each weekday, as well as my new favorite — a 96-ounce Moscow mule served in a comically large dimpled copper mug, discounted on Tuesdays from its normal $45 to only $30. It's obviously meant for sharing, but the bartender told me that she's seen a guy go solo on one before. Hats off.

The drinks are solid, too. The beer selection is pretty small, but there are always some good rotating draft options. When I visited, Sarasota's Darwin Brewing Co. was featured in a tap takeover, with four of its beers available, take-home Darwin pint glass included. There's a good wine selection, including house-branded Blind Goat wines — apparently made in Florida, but I was unable to get a definitive word on the actual source — served on tap.

The liquor selection is on-point, with the aforementioned "premium wells" priced at a wholly reasonable $5 each. What constitutes a premium well, you may wonder? Surprisingly good stuff, like Four Roses bourbon. That's a bargain any time. It's no wonder that this place is happening.

The cocktail list does feature some popular Prohibition-era cocktails, like the Moscow mule (also available in smaller sizes) and mint julep, along with some twists on old classics, like a cilantro-jalapeño margarita, a cucumber "vojito" (like a mojito, but with cucumber vodka) and a spin on the gimlet featuring Ty Ky cucumber sake in place of gin.

In keeping with the Blind Goat's occasional over-the-top tendencies, there's also a drink called the Goat Punch, which is limited to two per person because it's preposterously strong. I couldn't tell you what's in it — "secret house recipe" — but there's definitely pineapple juice involved, and a friend thought it tasted like Fruity Pebbles cereal. In a good way.

You know, the Blind Goat may very well have the best happy hour in South Tampa. There are a heck of a lot of excellent specials for the happy hour crowd, late-nighters and weekend daytime drinkers alike.

Cheap drinks will only get you so far, which is why it's also good that the Blind Goat is a fun, laid-back spot. Some folks undoubtedly show up for happy hour, but there's plenty to stick around for afterward, and that's good news for Palma Ceia locals, as well as any other thirsty South Tampa folks looking for some bona fide booze bargains.

Contact Justin Grant at [email protected] Follow @WordsWithJG.

 
Comments
On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

On 4/20, a Tampa distillery is releasing hemp-infused Touch Vodka

TAMPA — Appropriately enough, a local distillery is releasing a hemp vodka on Friday, 4/20.After more than a year of planning and research, Fat Dog Spirits — the parent company of Touch Vodka — is releasing its new Nirvana vodka.Served in 750-millile...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Graze all day at Armature Works

Graze all day at Armature Works

TAMPA HEIGHTS— Graze 1910 upholds the comfortable and relaxing, yet elegant setting of Armature Works with its "comfort food" offerings and dedication to serving breakfast all day."It’s the way I eat. I graze all day," said owner Raymond "Ray" Menend...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

As a person who has no intention of ever going into the bar business, I spend a good amount of time thinking about what makes bar concepts work. I think about themes, branding, menus, location and myriad other factors that ultimately play into a bar’...
Published: 04/19/18
Richard’s Rockin’ Birthday Starfruit Lambic, Ulele

Richard’s Rockin’ Birthday Starfruit Lambic, Ulele

To celebrate the birthday of its owner, Richard Gonzmart, Tampa’s Ulele restaurant tapped its most ambitious brew yet (with a name to match): Richard’s Rockin’ Birthday Starfruit Lambic.Unlike traditional Belgian lambics — sour ales spontaneously fer...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

Four new restaurants in Tampa Bay: Brazilian steakhouse, Chinese, juice bar and more

TERRA GAUCHATerra Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse, a classic churrascaria-style Brazilian meatery — you know, where the guys in South American cowboy attire walk around with the swords of meat until you capitulate in a carnivorous haze — has opened a loc...
Published: 04/18/18
We critique the best and worst brands of sparkling water

We critique the best and worst brands of sparkling water

Sparkling water, much like when you shake it before opening, has exploded in the United States the past few years. The fervor for fizzy water has soft echoes of the meteoric rise of bottled water during the early 2000s, just with more pastels perfect...
Published: 04/18/18
How much water do I need? Plus, other H20 facts

How much water do I need? Plus, other H20 facts

Okay, really, how much water do we need? The Mayo Clinic says there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this because of differences in exercise, environment, overall health and factors like pregnancy or breast-feeding. The National Academies of Science...
Published: 04/18/18
A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

BROOKSVILLEThey brought it in glass carboys, in jars, in 2-liter bottles. It stacked up at the entrance to the auditorium, some of it just slightly murky but most of it crystal clear.Water. For more than 15 years the members of Region IV Florida Sect...
Published: 04/18/18
Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Whenever I fly, I pay way too much for food. I’ve stumbled jet-lagged into fancy wine booths and nearly bankrupted myself with cheese plates. I’ve purchased granola bars that cost more than my plane ticket (okay, maybe it just felt that way). If you’...
Published: 04/18/18