1. Hillsborough

Brandon neighborhood pub pays homage to proprietor's Irish roots.

Owners Mariely and Patrick Crowne recently opened The Forge, a neighborhood Irish pub in Brandon. [Photo courtesy of Mariely Crowne]
Published Apr. 26

BRANDON — Mariely Crowne describes her journey from a single, New York City cocktail waitress to a married mother of two daughters and Valrico new business owner as one of fate.

She remembers feeling love at first sight when her now-husband, Patrick, visited the Times Square bar where she worked and ordered beers for himself and his brother.

"He came in and I immediately knew that he was the one," she said. "We exchanged numbers and that was it. We've been together ever since. It's crazy."

The couple recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary — by working in their new pub called The Forge, with Mariely working the day shift and Patrick in charge at night. It's a concept that pays homage to Patrick's Irish roots.

Judging by the response after less than two months in operation, the idea might not be so crazy — but the location might prove a challenge. The last couple of tenants at 109 W Bloomingdale Ave., The Mill and Sluggers Neighborhood Grill, didn't last very long. Crowne, who also is a real estate agent, says the location doesn't bother her because she is confident in the experience her patrons will enjoy.

"I think this area really needs a neighborhood pub with affordable prices, good food and good service," she said. "That's what we want to provide to our guests."

Patrick's uncle, Mick, pictured on the wall near the live band stage, was a farrier in Ireland toiling to make horse shoes; note the anvil in the center of the 150-seat restaurant under the digital fireplace motif. And Patrick's mom, Oonagh Cummins, flew in from Ireland to provide some of the traditional Irish fare on the menu, including Granny's Beef Stew and Mum's Chicken Curry, both selling for $12.99.

The Forge features live music on Fridays and Saturdays, including an eclectic mix of country, Irish and '90s bands. Local musicians, along with a bright sign, a social media presence, word of mouth and authentic Irish recipes, are the ingredients to success, according to Crowne.

Come test the flavor yourself during the May 4 grand opening celebration that will feature Redline Band and Matt Billor, of Beer Can Island song fame. There also will be a Kentucky Derby watch party that day. Local residents of the Brandon and SouthShore areas who are familiar with places like O'Brien's Irish Pub & Grill and the Salty Shamrock Irish Pub might be intrigued to know that those former and current establishments owned and operated by Sean Rice are indirectly tied to The Forge. Rice's wife, Aine, shares relatives with Patrick.

Visit for events, menu items and more.


  1. USF student Gabriela Young is the owner of Earth and Ivory, an online jewelry business with items made out of clay.  [Special to the Times | Sarah Foster] SARAH FOSTER  |  Special to the Times | @sarahtheartiste
    Gabriela Young went from selling bracelets to friends to making clay wares for customers with her business, Earth and Ivory.
  2. Chief Veterinarian Mallory Offner examines a female rescue puppy at the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center in Tampa. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE  |  Times
    With 250 of the pooches ready for adoption, each potential puppy parent has a 1-in-4 shot at getting picked in today’s drawing.
  3. Eight vehicles were involved in a fiery and fatal crash late Wednesday that left two people dead and shut down northbound Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties, authorities said. The driver of the white van pictured above, George Pagan of Tampa, said he saw the semi-trailer truck, left, sliding sideways toward him in his rearview mirror before impact. Pasco Fire Rescue
    The chain-reaction crash that closed the northbound lanes of the interstate near the Pasco/Hillsborough line began when a semi-trailer truck driver didn’t stop for traffic, according to the Florida...
  4. Hillsborough Community College solicited "non-binding letters of interest or intent” last month from developers interested in purchasing the Dr. Gwendolyn W. Stephenson District Administration Center on Davis Islands. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Developers have eyed the 3.7 acre waterfront parcel for years, but recent interest has prompted the college’s trustees to finally start the conversation.
  5. Left: Janis Joplin performs (AP Photo). Right: Joplin's booking photo (Courtesy of Tampa History Center). Tampa Bay Times
    Police let Joplin finish her set at Curtis Hixon Hall before arresting the singer in her dressing room.
  6. Earlier today• Hillsborough
    The Exercise Coach offers personalized strength training workouts for clients of all ages and fitness levels. Courtesy of The Exercise Coach
    Slated to open in late November, The Exercise Coach offers strength training workouts in a setting that differs from traditional gyms.
  7. Eight vehicles were involved in a fiery and fatal crash late Wednesday that left at least one person dead and shut down northbound Interstate 75 bridging Hillsborough and Pasco counties, authorities said. Pasco Fire Rescue
    Two people were killed and others were hospitalized in a pile-up involving multiple vehicles, authorities said.
  8. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor was being driven through North Tampa when she spotted suspicious activity. She called it in, leading to an arrest. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Tampa’s mayor was being driven through North Tampa when she stepped back briefly into police work.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The 47-year-old man was fatally injured after walking into the SUV’s path on E Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  10. Steven Duane Baker, 61, was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash and destroying evidence in a crash that left a 28-year-old bicyclist dead on U.S. 301, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Florida Highway Patrol
    Steven D. Baker, 61, told investigators he hit something but didn’t know it was a bicyclist, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers say he should have stopped.