The Tampa Bay area is full of all types of sports bars, from glossy chains to dingy dives.
This region also has a small selection of British-style pubs, many of which exclusively serve Guinness and Harp and show soccer around the clock.
But in a small strip plaza off of McMullen Booth in Clearwater, there’s an English/American pub that has found a way to combine the best of both worlds.
Enter the Grind House Bar & Grill, the brainchild of British-born owner Michelle Gibbons.
After moving to Florida eight years ago, Gibbons found a spot in the Bayside Bridge Plaza that had previously been a Beef O’ Brady’s and a Hawaiian restaurant, and in 2007 she turned it into the Grind House.
Thanks to the diverse menu, which includes a healthy dose of British favorites mixed in with traditional American fare, a killer logo and a comfortable atmosphere with friendly service, the concept caught on and has been a hit with locals ever since.
“When I first opened, the drinkers were carrying me. Then after a while, the eaters started to outweigh the drinkers. I’m trying to find a balance between the two,” the affable owner said on Friday afternoon.
The main reason the “eaters” are taking over is the incredible variety of delicious dishes to choose from.
In the mood to pretend you’re sitting in a pub in London? Try the Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, bangers and mash or perhaps a Scotch egg, which is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in a sausage mixture.
Feel like a more traditional bar meal? Grind House offers a large selection including sandwiches, burgers, salads, wings and homemade soups. They also have chicken parm, seafood, wraps, and fajitas, among myriad other items.
In the spirit of the pub itself, you can opt for the burger named after the establishment, which comes with mushrooms, bacon, cheese and a fried egg on top, or try the T-shirt Burger, a two and a half pound behemoth that will earn you a free tee if you can completely digest it along with the fries.
Every night of the week brings a different special, from $0.49 wings on Mondays (and during Rays games) to 2-4-1 fish and chips on Thursdays; live music fills the place on Fridays and Saturdays, and trivia, karaoke and a couple of game-themed nights round out the entertainment slate.
Grind House has a dozen beers on tap, and the 2-for-1 draft special “all day, every day” can’t be beat. They also have over 25 bottled beers, and a full liquor bar.
Daily drink specials vary and include $7.00 pitchers, $1.50 longnecks, and $3.00 Guinness.
What, you didn’t think they wouldn’t serve Guinness, did you?
1500 McMullen Booth Rd.
Hours: from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday; and from 11:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday to Sunday.