Vitals: Four Green Fields Irish Pub, 205 W Platt St., Tampa. Open 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Decor: It's the only pub in America with an authentic thatched roof, but don't look for Tolkien-meets-James Joyce here. The walls are lined with printed and photographic paeans to the bygone revolutionary heroes for Irish freedom and independence. The mismatched furniture adds to the eclectic and casual ambience.
Vibe: Excellent. There's no happy hour, but late afternoons that run into the early evenings are busy with the downtown crowd of networking movers and shakers, plus the occasional glad-handing politician. Late evenings are geared toward Guinness guzzling and boisterous conversation. The mix at night is varied and ranges from college students to desperate housewives. There's entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Irish bands sporadically relieving crooner Pat Dunlea, a talented folk singer and onstage hipster.
What they're wearing: Jeans. The infrequent denim overalls. Khakis. Ultra-hip fashions from Ruehl No. 925 in International Plaza. Black leather. The early-evening crowd is big on neckties and suspenders. At all other times, you'll find people dressed comfortably untailored.
Bar codes of conduct: Please stand for The Soldiers' Song (the Irish national anthem). When playing darts, aim only at the dart board. If ordering a Guinness, be patient. And, finally, be sure not to feed the rooster (a.k.a. "Pat Ryan"). Beyond that, there are no rules.
Mood and food: With no televisions to be found, this is a pub meant for meeting people, grabbing a bite to eat and conversation. The menu is Irish "pub grub," with good solid meals served with little fanfare. Suggestion: the fish and chips. The pub also caters events in-house. It's a full-service bar, but don't ask for a wine list. The bar stocks many imported ales and stouts, plus a good selection of Irish and single malt whiskies. There are two decks outdoors, along with plenty of free parking.
At your service: The skilled and personable Irish staff keeps the craic (Gaelic for "fun") going until as late as the law allows (3 a.m.). In fact, they're the reason that so many regular customers make Four Green Fields their "local." Warning: The staff members are skilled at "slagging."
Bathroom breaks: They're bathrooms, for crying out loud! In Tampa. In a bar. You're expecting something fancy? Get real.
Go or no: It's a great place to meet friends (or make new ones) and hang out for the night. Four Green Fields features the best-poured pints of Guinness in Tampa Bay. Bottom line? It's an institution that shouldn't be missed, especially during Gasparilla, or on St. Patrick's Day. Go.
_ ROD BARKEN