Make us your home page

Copperheads brings craft beer craze to Safety Harbor

Copperheads Tap House in Safety Harbor has become a popular spot.

Luis Santana/tbt*

Copperheads Tap House in Safety Harbor has become a popular spot.

Main Street in Safety Harbor has one of those cool little downtown areas dotted with shops, restaurants and bars, similar to other downtowns in the bay area: Davis Islands, Gulfport, Palm Harbor and so on. Each of these has a bar in which to enjoy good beer, and in Safety Harbor, that bar is Copperheads Tap House.

Opened last July, Copperheads has quickly become one of the more popular local watering holes, attracting a wide demographic with a little something for everyone: football games on Sundays, trivia on the first Thursday of each month (my team snagged second place on Metal Trivia night during Tampa Bay Beer Week despite showing up 30 minutes late, and, yes, I'm being very smug about it), live music on the weekends, darts and pool, wine and cigars, and a whole lot of quality craft beer.

It's no surprise that beer is the central focus of Copperheads Tap House, but it's important to note that this is something fairly new to Safety Harbor. Other downtown bars serve good beer, but none that I'm aware of offer the range and quality of selection of Copperheads. I've bumped into a few regulars who have been turned onto craft beer directly as a result of Copperheads coming to town.

Although Copperheads doesn't stand out much visually — it's situated between a convenience store and a laundromat — it attracts much more than the beer-geek crowd that some specialty bars cater almost exclusively to. Many people find it from the sound of music coming from inside, or from groups of people congregating on the outdoor, street-facing patio.

Inside, Copperheads looks like an ordinary, modern neighborhood bar, albeit a fairly hip one. Work from local artists hangs on the wall, the exposed ductwork has been painted black, a long bar wraps around a bottle cooler and a long stretch of tap handles, and a space toward the back is home to dart boards and a tan-felted pool table. Smoking is not allowed inside, so a wooden patio deck with benches is located right outside the main entrance.

Behind the bar, you'll immediately notice two things: the 30 beers on tap, and two flatscreen televisions above those taps. On the TVs are lists of the current draft beers, accompanied by their price, style, alcohol content, proper glassware category and cumulative scores from the two major beer rating websites, BeerAdvocate and RateBeer. The wealth of information contained on these screens is extremely helpful, but if you have any questions, the staff seems very knowledgeable and eager to help. Samples are also available upon request, as are beer flights, if you're indecisive like me and can never pick just one beer.

While craft beer is clearly the major player here, wine lovers aren't left out. There are a number of house wines available, as well as several other varieties (I'm told the wine menu also rotates) on hand covering a range of styles and regions.

For the dedicated regular, Copperheads also has an amusing loyalty program, based on the amount of draft beers ordered. To become a prospect and subsequently receive a House Beer Club Prospect T-shirt (like a really thirsty motorcycle gang initiate) and a free draft on the house, one must rack up a total of 50 points (one point per draft beer). Members complete various tier levels along the way for T-shirt upgrades and gift cards, topping off at the Drunken Master tier, which includes a 20 percent lifetime discount, a plaque on the wall and the satisfaction of knowing that you've consumed 1,000 draft beers during your tenure as a Copperheads House Beer Club member.

A thousand beers might seem like a lot, but don't let that stop you from grabbing a pint at Copperheads. If you're a Safety Harbor resident, there's a good chance you already know about it, but if you're not, take a detour and stroll through downtown Safety Harbor sometime. It's a nice little area, and there's a nice little beer bar to cool off in when thirst strikes.


Copperheads Tap House

640 Main St., Safety Harbor; (727) 400-4721,

The vibe: A popular new locals bar with a big (and good) beer selection and regular live music.

Booze: Beer and wine. Beer, $5-$7 on draft and $3-$18 by the bottle; wine, $5-$8.

Specialty: There are 30 beers on tap, with many local brews in the rotation. Some uncommon selections include Back Forty Freckle Belly IPA, brewed in Alabama (when was the last time you tried a beer from Alabama?), and Cain's Dark Mild, a deceptively rich session beer served on nitro that clocks in at a mere 3.2 percent ABV. If you're looking for big flavor, try Stone's Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean, a highly rated treatment of the Escondido, Calif., brewer's smoky, coffee-like Porter.

Hours: 2 p.m. to midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday, noon to 2 a.m. Saturday, noon to midnight Sunday, closed Monday.

Copperheads brings craft beer craze to Safety Harbor 04/04/13 [Last modified: Thursday, April 4, 2013 2:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Watch Round 3 of Feeding Tampa Bay's Epic Chef Showdown


    TAMPA — Round 3 of the third annual Epic Chef Showdown to benefit Feeding Tampa Bay is Monday night, and you can watch it live right here.

    Chef Richard Bergendale of The Mill restaurant and Sous Chef Jeff Thornsberry of Locale Market competed in Round 1 of the Epic Chef Showdown. [Epicurean Hotel / Feeding Tampa Bay]
  2. Dragon ride in Harry Potter section of Universal closing for new themed ride


    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019 — sending wizard fans into a guessing game with hopes for a Floo Powder Network or the maze from the Triwizard Tournament.

    Universal Orlando announced Monday that it will close Dragon Challenge on Sept. 5 for a new "highly themed" Harry Potter ride to open in 2019. The ride, originally the Dueling Dragons roller coaster, was renamed and incorporated into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter when the hugely popular area opened in 2010.
  3. Restaurant review: Food and beer pair nicely at the Eatery at Brew Bus Terminal and Brewery

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA - Tampa Bay's craft beer scene is perennially in flux. New breweries open, others close or get scooped up by bigger breweries, some reinvent themselves so they can sell beer off site, and still others build on kitchens and add food to give enthusiasts another reason to sit tight.

    A Passion of the Heights hibiscus wheat ale is displayed at The Brew Bus in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017.  The Brew Bus Terminal, which houses a microbrewery and tasting room and serves as a hub for bus tours to local breweries, has opened an on-site kitchen called the Eatery. With the opening of the new casual dining concept, the brewery joins the ranks of microbreweries across the country that have asked that question: "What goes with beer? Hey, how about food?"
  4. Daniel Lipton resigns as artistic director of Opera Tampa


    TAMPA — Daniel Lipton has resigned as artistic director of Opera Tampa, the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts announced.

    Daniel Lipton took over the post when 17-year director Anton Coppola retired in 2012 at age 95.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for July 25


    Shawn Mendes: The multi platinum-selling singer/songwriter embarks on his first-ever headlining arena word tour in support of his sophomore album Illuminate. Charlie Puth opens. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $43.75-$63.75. (813) 301-2500.

    Shawn Mendes, performing at Amalie Arena on 7/25/17. Credit: James Minchin.