Make us your home page
Instagram

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.

THE GALLEY

27 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 575-7071; thegalleydtsp.com

The vibe: Wood-on-wood in this friendly local pub with a nautical theme.

Booze: Beer, $3 to $8; wine, $6 to $12; liquor, $4 to $10 (higher for ultra-premiums).

Specialty: A tidy wine list has range, from $6 house wines to a $105 bottle of Veuve, while the spirit selection covers everything from the usual suspects to high-end, small-batch American, Scotch, Japanese and Irish whiskies, as well as premium rums. Twenty-three beers on draft (most local), and a half-dozen house cocktails ranging from rum-based concoctions to a blueberry-thyme margarita and a coffee-chocolate-cherry-whiskey treat called the Daily Grind.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily.

Bar review: The Galley is right up your alley in downtown St. Petersburg 01/26/17 [Last modified: Sunday, January 29, 2017 2:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cookbook review: ‘Cherry Bombe: The Cookbook' is like a friend who always has a good recipe up her sleeve

    Cooking

    Cherry Bombe is a biannual indie magazine, weekly radio show/podcast and annual conference that celebrates women and food. And this month's release is a cookbook, a compilation of tried-and-true recipes from women who are famous both in the food world and other industries. Think model and cookbook author …

    By Kerry Diamond 
and Claudia Wu Clarkson Potter, 256 pages, $35
  2. Beautiful Hong Kong is pulsating with life and culture

    Travel

    HONG KONG

    “Ah money, money, money!" the cabdriver exclaimed with no small sense of sarcasm in his Cantonese-accented English as he waved in the direction of the spectacular skyline of Hong Kong, a city that revels in its reputation as an international financial capital.

    The Hong Kong skyline, seen here from Victoria Peak, the highest point in the city at 1,800 feet, is a sight to behold.
  3. How to pick the perfect fall six-pack of beer

    Bars & Spirits

    With each fall comes another opportunity to assemble the perfect seasonal six-pack. Of course, this is often a six-pack in name only, as many of the latest seasonal brews come in large- format bottles (with a price tag to match). That just means that you'll need to assemble some friends and family to share with, and who …

     Abita Pecan Harvest Ale: As the name suggests, this toasty amber ale is brewed with roasted Louisiana pecans. The base beer is fairly neutral, allowing the sweet and nutty pecan character to stand front and center. It drinks not unlike a liquid pecan pie — though it’s a bit less sweet, thankfully.
  4. Can you eat a jack-o'-lantern? And other thoughts on cooking with whole pumpkins

    Cooking

    The pumpkin is sweating, and so am I.

    I've got my knife an inch into the watermelon-sized orb, which is staring at me all like, "I'm too cute to be dinner!"

    Pumpkin with farro, cranberries and walnuts is good hot or cold.
  5. The upcoming Han Solo movie is called ... 'Solo'

    Blogs

    I hope you know what you're doing, Star Wars.