Bar Review: The Independent
by Susie Ulrey
- 5016 N. Florida, Tampa, FL
When The Independent opened in Seminole Heights a month or so ago, locals breathed a sigh of relief. There is an ever-expanding roster of locally owned and operated businesses slowly picking away at the endless array of used car dealerships and vacant buildings that line Florida Avenue in the 33603 zip code and The Independent is one more to add to the list.
Drinks: Beer and wine only, friends. But take heart: there’s no Natty Light or Keystone on the menu. The Independent offers mostly imports – a feast for beer aficionados. Prices range from $5 all the way to an eye-popping $16 – but that’s for 750 ml bottle, which is more than a pint. Wines hover in the $7 - $8 range.
Decor: There is an outside patio and inside, a true pub with two small rooms – the first with the main bar and a bar height table (no stools) and the second with a long table stretched the length of the room and benches underneath. A cool feature: the length of front windows open up to convert the space to an indoor/outdoor one when the weather is fine.
Crowd: The Independent doesn’t have a Ladies Night. No sink or swim and no bar bands doing bad covers of Nickelback songs. It’s all about beer and conversation.
Service: The staff is friendly and very knowledgeable about what they serve (including how to pronounce German tongue twisters like Schlenklera Rauchbier and Weihenstephen)
Food: Food is coming in the future – plans for a coffee/sandwich shop in an adjoining room and a menu of bar food are in the works.
Bottom line: Walk there on a nice night, if you live in the neighborhood. How many people can do that? Have a drink – experiment with an Ebelum Elderberry Black ($7) or the oft-touted Delirium Noctornum ($8). Or play it safe with a pint of Blackthorn Cider or Wittekerke (both $5). Either way you won’t be disappointed.
The damage: Five drafts and a glass of wine came to ($33).
Dress code: It’s a casual, neighborhood bar – you decide.
5016 N. Florida Ave.