BRANDON — Two and a half years in the making, Strandhill Public is the modern Irish bar and restaurant inspired by the pub owner Rory Martin worked in as a kid in his hometown of Sligo, Ireland, and by the small beach village where he grew up surfing on the northwest coast: Strandhill.
The place and the pub, which was owned by Martin’s parents and ignited his passion for hospitality, drive the look and feel of Strandhill Public, bright and airy yet warm and inviting with 191 seats. Highlights of the recently opened bar and restaurant at 10288 Causeway Blvd. include custom-built wood furnishings and throwback photos, among them an old shot of the Jameson Distillery in Dublin.
No harps. No shamrocks. Just undertones of present-day Ireland uniting with the past.
“It’s a very personal project for me,” said Martin, who is also director of operations at downtown Tampa haunt the Gin Joint and owns restaurants and bars in New York. “It’s warm, it’s cozy, it’s traditional, but yet it’s modern. I wanted guests to be able to enjoy that warmth, that old-school hospitality, but in a refreshed palette."
Strandhill Public incorporates a thoughtful mix of Irish and local ingredients into its fun, witty menu for breakfast, lunch and weekend brunch. Look no further than the burger topped with Irish whiskey barbecue sauce or the six-minute egg wrapped in ground Irish pork. Executive chef Susan Burdian, who has spent years cooking in eateries across New York, including whiskey-forward bar the Flatiron Room, puts a fresh spin on classic Irish dishes while paying homage to tradition.
Then there’s the Irish craft beer from Brehon Brewhouse, the small County Monaghan brewery on a dairy farm that pours its suds all over Ireland, in parts of Europe and now at Orlando’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Strandhill Public carries the Brehon blonde, red and oatmeal stout, along with what Martin called “one of the best pints of Guinness around.”
Fans of the hard stuff aren’t forgotten, either. Everything from Jameson to peated single-malt Connemara form the stacked Irish whiskey selection, accompanying lesser-known spirits like Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin. Custom and classic cocktails, a few named after Irish sayings Martin remembers from his childhood, are coming soon, as is a 1,500-square-foot patio out back.
Martin even has a second Strandhill Public headed to Tampa Bay. The bar and restaurant’s 124-seat Tampa Heights location at 309 W Palm Ave., on the ground floor of the Pearl apartment building, is shooting for a debut in about four months.
He said he’s relieved to have the Brandon location open so he can do what he finds the most enjoyable: leading the operation, and making sure patrons are greeted and acknowledged.
“It’s monumental for me," Martin said. “I want to be here for 20 years. I’m not a turn-and-burn kind of person. I want to be a staple within the community.”
(813) 442-7080. strandhillpublic.com.