Five Courses: Brass Tap Carrollwood expands with bourbon program and more

A Tampa-heavy update on the region's food and drink scene.

click to enlarge A barrel-aged bourbon program now accompanies The Brass Tap's list of beers. - Courtesy of The Brass Tap Carrollwood
Courtesy of The Brass Tap Carrollwood
A barrel-aged bourbon program now accompanies The Brass Tap's list of beers.

The Brass Tap is known for its extensive lineup of craft beer in Tampa, but the Carrollwood neighborhood’s location is also tapping into specialty bourbons.

A partnership with the in-house Carrollwood Brewing Co., the new barrel-aged bourbon program has resulted in more than 10 bourbons (and some Tito’s Handmade Vodka) on draft. The list includes Hudson Baby and Widow Jane, as well as two premixed bourbon cocktails — an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan.

“The popularity of bourbon has grown within the past couple of years, and we want to continue to meet customer demand by expanding our offerings,” says Chris Elliott, CEO of The Brass Tap. “We make craft beer on-site and think the new aged craft bourbon program is an excellent complement to our beer.”

And that’s not all. Other additions to the recently revamped Brass Tap Carrollwood are an updated atmosphere and entertainment room with highlights like pinball, Nintendo and darts.

The bar was closed March 11 to 14 for renovations, the completion of which the community is invited to celebrate through a weeklong schedule of gatherings. On Thursday, the first event — a ribbon cutting and scholarship giveaway, followed by a VIP happy hour — took place. Next up is the St. Patrick's Day bash on Saturday.

Stopped by Sailing Poke Bowl yet? There’s a laid-back vibe about the Tampa restaurant not far from Brass Tap Carrollwood at 10019 N. Dale Mabry Highway, and the beachy destination carries on the affinity that locals seem to have for poke.

Here, the Hawaiian specialty is prepared in regular and large sizes with a build-it-yourself approach. Diners, who can even turn their poke orders into sushi burritos, are asked to pick their base, protein, toppings (think seaweed salad and pineapple) and house-made sauce.

They shouldn’t forget about dessert, either. There’s tiramisu, red velvet cake, cheesecake and pistachio cake, plus 10 kinds of Thai-style ice cream rolls.

Earlier this week, husband-and-wife duo Brian and Misty Sommers announced their chef-driven delivery and catering operation, Clementine, was gearing up to debut a storefront within the Channel District’s Duckweed Urban Grocery.

The brick-and-mortar at 117 N. 12th St. is billed as a grab-and-go cafe with freshly baked items, prepared meals for takeaway and made-to-order offerings like soup, sandwiches, salad and tacos.

“Keep your eyes peeled for an opening date!” reads the update posted to Clementine’s Facebook page on Monday (check it out above). “SPOILER ALERT: It’s soon!”

As regionites might remember, this isn’t the Sommerses’ first attempt at opening Clementine Café. The first incarnation of the concept had planned to whip up its dishes inside an outfitted Airstream as part of the late Ybor Daily Market, but was unfortunately put on hold in 2015.

Misty and Brian, who moved to Tampa Bay in 2012 from Dallas, have decades of restaurant and hospitality experience — fine dining included.

The first Chewy Boba Company for the region took over the old Yogurt Spot space at 2572 E. Fowler Ave. Featuring milk, green and flavored teas in fanciful digs, Chewy Boba became the University of South Florida area’s latest joint to serve the beloved Taiwanese drink back in January.

Other selections on the large menu are smoothies, frappes and macarons. However, arcade games (Dance Dance Revolution, anyone?) and both counter and lounge seating await, too.

Established in 2002, Chewy Boba — which gives USF students and staff a 10 percent discount daily with valid ID — operates additional locations in Orlando, Oviedo, Winter Park and Las Vegas.

To wrap it up, somebody tell Slim Pickens Cider & Mead founder Todd Strauss a hookah lounge serendipitously named Ananas opened in Carrollwood — with a pineapple in its logo (!). Clearwater-based Short Stack BBQ is doing down-home smoked meats alongside beer, spirits and wine in a spacious setting as of last month. And Java Bay Cafe now slings a bill of coffee shop staples in Temple Terrace, where Papalani Gelato used to be.

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