Monday, June 18, 2018
Bars & Spirits

Bar review: The Galley is right up your alley in downtown St. Petersburg

When I was a kid, my class took a field trip to San Francisco, where we spent the day "working" on an old wooden ship. We performed a variety of tasks, from swabbing the decks, to prepping meals in the galley to what I recall being a lot of stuff involving ropes. In a hazy soup of childhood memories this Gasparilla weekend, it strikes me as especially vivid. I've always daydreamed about spending long periods of time at sea.

I recently visited the Galley, a new nautically themed bar in downtown St. Petersburg. Opened last month by high school friends and St. Pete natives Pete Boland and Ian Taylor, the Galley is intriguing to me on multiple levels.

First, and most obviously: The nautical interior immediately brought back nostalgic memories of my childhood trip. The interior is small but cozy, decked out in copious amounts of wood — wood ceiling panels and cross beams, wood floors, a wooden bar (with masts on the ends) and even a wooden ship's wheel converted into a light fixture near the entrance. Much of this was done by Taylor himself, a former sailor and skilled woodworker.

If it weren't for several TVs throughout the bar, you might actually think you're in the hull of a ship — well, you'd maybe need a few drinks first.

Most of the theme is implied, which I love. In fact, you could toss up some shamrocks and a Guinness mirror, and it would pass for an Irish pub. Swap those out for a red phone booth in the corner, and it's British. Leave it as is, and you have a bar with an unforced theme, which I think is what downtown St. Pete needs.

I'm also impressed with just how solid of an establishment the place is right out the gate. Boland has no shortage of bar and restaurant experience, and this is evident in how well-designed the bar's programs are. There aren't any obvious weak points — whether you come in for beer, wine, cocktails or food, you'll find a satisfying but generally concise range of options. It's all very uncomplicated and to the point.

The Galley takes over the space formerly occupied by Reno Downtown Joint, which had an unfortunately short run. I'm sure the Galley will stick around, especially once the major condo across the street goes up in 2018.

Why do I think they'll stick around? It's highly visible from Central Avenue, thanks to a massive work by by Seacat Murals that rises a full story above the entrance. There's cafe seating out front, and a cutaway to the bar, allowing indoor-outdoor access. There's a fantastic selection of beer, wine and liquor (including a half-dozen house cocktails), and it's open late every night (including a late-night menu). It's hip, but not too hip. The service? On point.

The cocktail list has six options, and is smartly designed to cover a pretty good range, which is surprising considering half of them are rum-based.

Tapping into an idle fantasy may pique my interest, but I wouldn't expect that to resonate with everyone. The Galley, however, has a decent shot of doing just that. It's a modest, straightforward pub that happens to have a bit of a nautical theme. But in terms of detail and execution, The Galley is a tight ship, indeed.

Contact Justin Grant at [email protected] saintbeat.com; @WordsWithJG.

 
Comments
Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

Restaurant review: Chile Verde is serving up very solid tacos in an unlikely spot

ST. PETERSBURGThere are a lot of decommissioned gas stations across the country. Some have been reinvented, cleverly made over as upscale restaurants. There’s Big Star in Chicago, Elaia & Olio in St. Louis, Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Va., even Bi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Taste test: Chocolate chip cookies

Taste test: Chocolate chip cookies

When we started seeing ads for Nestle Toll House cookies already baked and prepackaged, I knew it was time for our tasters to get involved. They are cookie lovers, and one even has his own cookiemaking business. We found the Nestle brand and had hope...
Published: 06/18/18
From soft serve to ice pops, 12 places to get frozen treats

From soft serve to ice pops, 12 places to get frozen treats

I know we have three more months or so of hot-as-dog-breath Tampa Bay summer, but let’s start things off on the right foot with some frozen treats. Ice cream is on my mind after a recent visit to Disney Springs, when I found love in a perfect scoop o...
Published: 06/13/18
Downtown St. Petersburg breakfast staple Dome Grill goes out of business

Downtown St. Petersburg breakfast staple Dome Grill goes out of business

ST. PETERSBURG — Longtime downtown breakfast staple Dome Grill has closed its doors.The restaurant, at 561 Central Avenue N, announced the closing on Facebook on June 10 and will not be relocating to a new location."We have nothing but love and respe...
Published: 06/13/18
Five restaurants worth checking out at Disney Springs in Orlando (w/video)

Five restaurants worth checking out at Disney Springs in Orlando (w/video)

LAKE BUENA VISTA Disney Springs has swiftly become a playground or trial balloon for the country?s celebrity chefs. Art Smith, Masaharu Morimoto, Rick Bayless, Guy Fieri, Tony Mantuano, Wolfgang Puck and others are already on board, with names like ...
Published: 06/13/18
Take grilled potatoes to another level with garlic and rosemary

Take grilled potatoes to another level with garlic and rosemary

By AMERICA’S TEST KITCHENGrilled potatoes are a summer classic. We wanted to put a new spin on this dish by adding rosemary and garlic. Unfortunately, we found it was difficult to add enough flavor to plain grilled potatoes. Coating the potatoes with...
Published: 06/13/18
Recipe for Stuffed Beef Burgers

Recipe for Stuffed Beef Burgers

Hidden inside these tame-looking burgers is a smoky and spicy blend of bacon, chipotle, cheese and something unexpected: pepperoni. Because the ground beef part of these burgers is patted fairly thin, there’s less of a chance you’ll undercook it. For...
Published: 06/13/18
How to cook eggs for dinner: shakshuka, carbonara and more

How to cook eggs for dinner: shakshuka, carbonara and more

Eggs are an underutilized dinner ingredient. Aside from fried rice and a breakfast-for-dinner situation, I rarely use eggs in my cooking past the hour of 4 p.m. It makes no sense. Eggs are a great source of protein, able to be cooked in myriad ways, ...
Published: 06/12/18
Add some sweet heat to your cookout with these jerk chicken skewers

Add some sweet heat to your cookout with these jerk chicken skewers

By Matt BrooksBurgers and dogs may be the traditional staples of a cookout, but when you’re craving something more than meat on bun, a well-assembled skewer is a colorful showstopper on the grill.It’s scientifically proven that food tastes better whe...
Published: 06/12/18
Alcohol-infused ice cream and coffee bar will be downtown St. Petersburg’s newest sweet spot

Alcohol-infused ice cream and coffee bar will be downtown St. Petersburg’s newest sweet spot

ST. PETERSBURG — With coffee, ice cream and sweet liqueur, a new date-night spot is hoping to bring something sweet to downtown St. Petersburg.Beans & Barlour is a new craft coffee bar and dessert lounge set to open in July that plans to serve alcoho...
Published: 06/11/18
Updated: 06/14/18