Tampa officials cringe at riverfront pub's roof, but will take its money

Four Green Fields plans to put a thatched roof on at least part of a city-owned building where the pub is opening a new location.
Four Green Fields plans to put a thatched roof on at least part of a city-owned building where the pub is opening a new location.
Published Sep. 8, 2017

TAMPA — Love the money, hate the thatched roof.

That was the message Thursday from the Tampa City Council to Four Green Fields about the pub's planned new location next to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park.

"God-awful," council member Mike Suarez said of the design, which seeks to top what is now a plain parks department building with a partial thatched roof like the one at Four Green Fields' original location on W Platt Street.

"It is damned ugly," council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin said. "Thatched roofs are just not part of Florida."

This sort of talk is not new. A different lineup of City Council members had similar misgivings in 1992 when the pub came in for its initial rezoning. Then the roof was seen as being out of context architecturally and therefore inappropriate. Since then, it's become a sales point for the pub, which boasts that it's "America's only thatched roof pub."

Four Green Fields wants to create something similar to its original pub, Tampa attorney Steve Gardner told the council, but consider what it's working with.

"It's basically a corrugated metal building, so we're starting with that," he said. "That's a big part of the problem."

Still, Gardner said, "at this point in time, Colin Breen, the owner of Four Green Fields, actually is in Ireland, working with people trying to figure out how to make this look somewhat Irish. I realize that's not Florida, but that's what he has, and it's been very successful on Platt Street, and we hope it is here."

Despite its grousing, the council unanimously approved a 10-year lease with Four Green Fields with the rent paid to the city starting at about $90,000 a year and increasing 2 percent annually. Four Green Fields also will pay the city an additional 6 percent of gross sales of more than $3.4 million a year.

Over 10 years, the base rent is projected to pay the city about $500,000 more than the next-best offer from the other six bidders, said Rob Rosner, Tampa's urban development manager for downtown.

That was good enough for the council, which heard that the new restaurant could open in about four months.

"Ugliness is in the eye of beholder," council member Charlie Miranda said. "I love every style in the world that creates money."

Contact Richard Danielson at or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times