1. Mr. Dunderbak’s
14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
When J.B. Ellis bought Mr. Dunderbak’s 25 years ago, it had just six beers on draught and he says the first thing he did was get rid of the Natural Ice and Bud Light. Don’t be shocked.
He replaced those popular favorites at other bars, and expanded the bar, with the kinds of beers you would expect in a European pub: a variety of English, Belgian and German lagers, just for starters. You could argue, by the cases and cases of beers throughout, that the joint looks like a beer hoarder had moved in to live there.
When Ellis moved the bar/restaurant from its original space in University Square Mall to its current location on BBD, he cut a hole in the wall of what used to be a hair salon next door and added an in-house brewery, “so I could brew things I want to brew.”
The wide and traditional selection of beers, along with a quirky and comforting setting and a menu featuring German goodies like sandwiches, sausages and schnitzels that draw in big crowds, make it New Tampa’s best bar this year (at least, according to our readers), despite the fact it only offers beer and wine and no hard liquor.
A charming curmudgeon, Ellis is definitely old school. He was at ground zero of the craft and home beer explosion in Tampa Bay, and offers more beers (500+) that you can’t find anywhere else than anyone else in the New Tampa, including favorites like Hacker Pschorr and many others.
“Your chances of finding a candy corn-flavored, lactose-infused cookie dough bull—- beer is just not going to happen here,” he says.
Which is why he proudly sells T-shirts that say “Beer Flavored Beer” on them at his popular location.
Of all the winning restaurants and bars in this year’s survey, no one has a better Google rating than Mr. Dunederbak’s — an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars average, with more than 2,000 reviews.
Our readers are definitely among those who agree. — JCC
17050 Palm Pointe Dr.
Although it hasn’t always finished as high with our readers for Favorite Bar as it has for Favorite Restaurant in New Tampa (including this year), one of the highest compliments you can pay the local location of this mini-chain is that there may be no more New Tampa crowd at any bar in our area year after year than at Stonewood Grill & Tavern.
The drinks aren’t cheap, but neither are they overpriced, and many locals (including Jannah and yours truly) prefer to dine at the bar instead of the more private tables and booths in the main dining area.
Part of the reason for that is the crowd itself — which is usually made up of Stonewood’s well-dressed regulars — but it’s also because of the outstanding service provided by the always-attentive bartenders. In other words, Stonewood is your place for great food, drinks and conversation. — GN
3. Fat Rabbit Pub
16029 Tampa Palms Blvd. W.
There aren’t too many things that The Fat Rabbit Pub does wrong, hitting the triple crown of bar services — great food, great bar and a relaxing and clean atmosphere. It caters to both drinkers and eaters, and a plethora of TVs makes it a perfect place to catch a game after work.
The Fat Rabbit has a wide variety of beers, the lineup being regularly tweaked with craft and local beers, as well as a full offering of premium liquor and wine. It may also be the sharpest-looking bar in town.
When it comes to food, Fat Rabbit, which was the No. 4 overall favorite restaurant last year (#11 this year), can make the case for having both the best (and widest variety of) wings, as well as the best burgers in New Tampa. Oh, and the tater tots (try the New Tampa Truffle) are a treat, too.
The Fat Rabbit isn’t an entertainment venue, but its food, drinks (try a bourbon flight) and service are outstanding. — JCC
The rest of your Favorite Bar in NT top 10:
(4) Glory Days
(6) Via Italia
(T10) Red Lobster and Olive Garden.