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Zapps sports bar in Brandon promises to change more than a name

Owners Stacey Hatjioannou and Jim Cooper are renovating a former nightclub into Zapps, a sports bar between Barnacles and Buffalo Wild Wings in Brandon. “I’d let my own kids come here and hang out and not think twice,” Hatjioannou says.
Owners Stacey Hatjioannou and Jim Cooper are renovating a former nightclub into Zapps, a sports bar between Barnacles and Buffalo Wild Wings in Brandon. “I’d let my own kids come here and hang out and not think twice,” Hatjioannou says.
Published May 22, 2013

The sign out front says it all: "Sports Bar Not a Nite Club."

Locals might understand why Stacey Hatjioannou and Jim Cooper are trying to rebrand and rebuild the establishment at 2016 Town Center Blvd. as a place to watch UFC fights and NFL games, a far cry from its tainted past as a nightclub.

The building was vacated by the Boomerang Martini Bar after a man was fatally shot by a security guard and two other men were injured in a December 2012 triple shooting.

In 2007, a woman was fatally shot when the place was called Club Fluid. It also had a stint as Quench Bartini.

Not anymore, those named have been zapped from the location. In its place is Zapps, a sports bar set to open May 31 and offer three full liquor bars, arcade games and live entertainment.

"I'd let my own kids come here and hang out and not think twice," said co-owner Hatjioannou, who has two daughters, Taylor, 13 and Tessa, 9, who often can be seen at Buckets Tavern & Tap in Carrollwood, another bar the Hatjioannous own.

Hatjioannou said she wants to attract a family-friendly crowd during the afternoon and evening and then invite a rock 'n' roll crowd in on weekend nights — perhaps people who share her love of the Rolling Stones and might want to check out the interactive TouchTunes jukebox, which operates like an oversized MP3 player and even takes your picture.

The owners insist this isn't just your average facade face lift. The five-month makeover of the 6,700-square-foot space is near the end of the construction phase and the beginning of the competitive stage. Not only are the owners trying to attract a completely different clientele with a sports bar atmosphere, they are trying to draw from a similar customer base as the larger, more established sports bars on the same block — Barnacles and Buffalo Wild Wings.

But don't expect them to compete one-on-one with the television count at Barnacles. Zapps will have 11 projection screens that are approximately 8 feet by 11 feet, and 14, 43-inch flat screens showing high-definition sports broadcasts. And Zapps won't have the national corporate backing of BWW. Zapps plans to win customers one family at a time during the day, and fistfuls of rock 'n' roll fans at night.

"I think we offer our customers a lot," said Cooper.

Zapps also has a 1,800-square-foot patio, where they just added a third bar, and patrons can expect pool tables, darts and approximately 15 arcade and table games.

The expansion created 35 jobs, mostly servers and bartenders who will offer up your typical sports bar fare such as burgers and wings. The inside seats more than 200 people and will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. during the week and 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. on the weekends.

Insurance company celebrates anniversary

L & M Insurance Group Inc. in Riverview celebrated the first anniversary of its re-created business last week and financial specialist Chris Sharp said the growing business is now full service. After operating under a different name, L & M reacquired the name a year ago.

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"We now offer everything in house," Sharp said.

He added that the agency offers vehicle, home, life, retirement planning and business insurance. Most of their clients are investors who are self-employed, many without typical 401k plans. L & M helps these entrepreneurs protect their assets and their families' liabilities with other tax-free, "zero risk" retirement planning options — whether they can afford to invest the maximum allowed by law, or are just starting up with very little free cash.

As independent insurance agents, L & M works with multiple insurance companies for policies. The group is able to shop all major carriers, but allows its clients to deal with one company for all their needs.

Diversity is still a good ingredient to your overall portfolio, Sharp said, but you "should have something with a strong foundation."

Stop by 10013 Water Works Lane or call Sharp at (813) 672-4100 if you have questions about your protection or want to see another way that life insurance might benefit you.

"I try to educate my clients," Sharp said. "Many don't even know what they've got."

If you know of something that should be in Everybody's Business, email Eric Vician at


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