Why The Hub? An email survey of the staff at Tampa’s much-beloved movie palace produced a slew of answers (read them all at cltampa.com/foodissue). Director of Operations Cathy Prance summed up the Hub’s appeal this way: “First, for us, it’s not just a bar on the corner — these guys are our neighbors and our friends. Secondly, it’s a nostalgia thing,” she says. “Also, let’s face it — the Hub’s always had a great jukebox, Galaga and foosball. Paradoxically, for as much as things never change at the Hub, it remains a timelessly fresh and relevant dive — through the nicotine haze of yesteryear it stands steady as a reliable barometer of under-the-radar coolness.”
What’s everybody drinking? Prance sticks with sugar-free Red Bull most of the time, while President and CEO John Bell proclaims himself a “cheap date” who doesn’t really drink much, sipping a bottled beer when not sticking to soda or water. Operations Supervisor James DeFord uses the outside temperature in his decision-making. “If I’m planning to make a night of it: Is it hotter than 80 outside? Gin & tonic. Is it cooler than 70? Bourbon & water. In between? Flip a coin.”
Who they’re hanging with: “Well, the staff there definitely,” says Prance. “Scooter, Jeanne, Jamie, Kelly, Charles etc… They’re all awesome.” For Bell, his own staff is the lure: “I’m not one to drop in and see who else shows up. It’s almost therapeutic to spend some time there with staff members, because we all work hard, and though we have a good time while working, at the Hub everyone can let their hair down a bit and you can unwind and celebrate,” he says. As for DeFord, he’s got a dear old friend that’s always in attendance: “I think the jukebox is a Hub friend — music I wouldn’t necessarily listen to anywhere else, but I love it while it’s there.”
The Hub Bar, 719 N Franklin St., Tampa, 813-229-1553.