When Tommy Rockhill and John McMahan opened up Right Around The Corner at 2244 Central Avenue in St. Pete’s Grand Central District just under two years ago (their anniversary is Sept. 16), craft beer was definitely a focus of the pub-slash-arcade — just not theirs. After all, the space’s kitchen area was still being used by the storefront’s former tenant, gelato shop Tropiccool.
When Tropiccool vacated, Rockhill, a homebrewer of eight years and former boat mechanic, put a plan to start brewing on-site into motion.
“I took us about a year,” he said. “It was always something I wanted to do, we just knew it took time.”
After getting RATC’s paperwork in order, Rockhill installed two little 5-gallon brewing systems in the bar’s kitchen last November and began putting small batches on tap. They eventually upgraded to a 1-barrel system, announcing their new status on Jan. 30. On a recent visit, RATC had five beers on tap, most with fun, casual in-joke names; No Hammers On The Bar, a pale ale, is named after the time somebody (no names!) set a tool down on the bar top while the seal was still wet. Roasty Toasty, another standout, adds cold brew coffee from Made down the street and toasted coconut to a chocolate porter. And then there's Tiffany's Melons, a refreshing watermelon wheat that's — well, we'll leave that one up to the imagination.
Rockhill is aiming for nine in-house beers, eight cores and a rotation tap, and is dedicated to keeping Right Around The Corner’s fun neighborhood vibe intact.
“When I go out to a bar these days, I want to sit and talk to my friends,” he says. “I just love it here.”