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“Tarpon Tavern is a unique, friendly bar/restaurant.”
Review of Tarpon Tavern

Tarpon Tavern
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: US$4 - US$15
Cuisines: American, Gastropub, Brew Pub
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Florida's Newest Old World Pub. 30 Craft Beer Taps, Wine Bar, Lunch & Dinner, Live Music. Casual dining in a relaxed but sophisticated indoor and covered outdoor setting.
Reviewed 30 March 2014

We have eaten many times at the Tarpon Tavern, we went there the first time because they have outdoor seating with a roof and allow dogs. The doggies get a dish of water and some bacon treats. The menu has many choices of excellent food, our favorites are the bean soup, excellent hamburgers and bread pudding. The waitstaff is very friendly and interesting, sometimes they even shake your hand when you are getting ready to leave.

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3  Thank BONNIE W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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509 - 513 of 607 reviews

Reviewed 28 March 2014

Like most new restaurants, and considering the number of Snow Birds in town, this place has been pretty busy...Locals on the other hand, when asked, do not express enthusiasm for the Tarpon Tavern.

I gave this place two chances: The first time I stopped in it was with the intent of getting a few beers and dinner. I sat at the bar, and waited as staff member after staff member walked by, no one said, "Hi" or any other acknowledgement. The bartender didn't have many people sitting at the bar, he was washing glasses and making himself look busy. After 5 minutes of being ignored, I left in disgust. I sent an email to the owner who responded with a bevy of excuses, and an offer to buy me a beer and a sandwich if I came back on a different night. He explained that their security system and point of sale system had gone down, yet I fail how that makes an entire staff fail, when greeting a new customer. I didn't know you needed a point of sale system to greet someone or offer them a beer. I explained to owner, Dan Jenkins, that I didn't want a free beer or a sandwich, but I would come in again and give them a second chance.

A few nights later, I revisited this place with the intent of getting some Fish and Chips, and a few beers. They claim to be a place with a variety of draught beers, with an innuendo of being a specialty vendor of said beverages. It was, again, very busy, and when entering for the 2nd time, no one said "Hello"! Maybe I'm Old Fashioned or watched too many episodes of Cheers, "where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came", but I can go a mile up the road and find plenty of appreciation from staff member when I arrive. I spend money and tip well, but sadly the Tarpon Tavern will never know that reward.

Here's why: My second visit, I patiently waited to make eye contact with the Bartender who I'll say avoided eye contact at all costs. (Like a contest to see who'll cave first). I think if he knew he made eye contact he'd have to actually serve me. This Bartender has a heavy beard and for the benefit of the management of this restaurant knowing what is going on, he looks like one of the guys from a Ludens Cough Drop box. Finally, I made contact with this alien from outer space who depends on his hourly wage, and not the gratuities of his customer's (who might actually become regulars). I requested a draught Bud Light...He went to draw it and halfway through filling the glass the keg went dry...He asked me to wait while they hooked up a new keg, and ignored my attempts to say I'd take something else. Here's the kicker...He left the half empty glass sit there while they hooked up the new keg, and topped of the original glass from the old keg, with beer from the new keg...Now remember, this is the day and age of "Beer Expertise".

I took one sip of the beer, it was flat as a glass of tap water. I set the beer up on the rail, and again waited to get his attention. After a few minutes, it dawned on him something was wrong. I told him it was flat and with great embellishment and a dose of sarcasm, took a sampler glass, drew some beer from the new keg, handed it to me to sample and asked "How's that?"

Well young fella, that one is fine, for three reasons, one it isn't the last gasp of breath from an empty keg, you didn't let it sit there for 5 minutes while they changed the keg, and for $3.50 for a Bud Light when every other bar in town is charging $2.00, it better be fizzy.

For the second and last time, I left after drinking that wonderfully expensive beer, I did give the Bartender a $1.00 tip, I don't know why but maybe I figured he was enduring some sort of personal crisis, and I walked out without eating dinner for the 2nd time. Bartenders shouldn't look like they hate what they're doing. I wouldn't employ a guy like this unless I was dating his sister and she was hot, or I owed him money I couldn't repay. Perhaps a career as a Snake Handler" would be more suiting of his personality.

So, call me old fashioned, but I was raised in the Restaurant and Bar business in one of the greatest drinking towns in the world, Milwaukee. My Dad, wanted your money, wanted to make you feel welcome, introduced himself with his first name, even shook a new customers hand as if to seal the deal that you were in the right place at the right time, and, you need never ever look for another place to enjoy the best beer in the world. The Tarpon Tavern fails on all of these fronts. Not friendly, the Bar Staff has no training and doesn't even try to make you feel welcome, and they violate every code of ethics in dealing with customers. They seem to want you to go away and not come back. The correct attitude should be, I want you here, especially in the summer month's when that juicy tourist base dries up, and I'm trying to figure out how to pay my vendors and keep the lights on.

During my second visit, I casually asked an old couple who were seated next to me if they enjoyed the Tarpon Tavern, they answered that they'd like to enjoy it, but they had waited for 45 minutes for their dinners, and were getting impatient. The dishes going by, looked good which is the worst part of being hungry in a bar where the service fails to meet expectations...You want to eat the food, want to spend money, want to come back again, and you want to be welcomed.

My personal opinion is that this has as much of a chance of happening at this establishment, as my hair has a chance of growing back on top of my very beautiful bald head! Running a restaurant in Florida during the Tourist Season, especially in a town like Tarpon springs, is much like having cold lemonade for sale in the middle of a desert...Take away the Tourists, piss off the locals, and you have an expensive lesson coming!

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12  Thank Bubba353
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
dan j, Owner at Tarpon Tavern, responded to this reviewResponded 29 March 2014

Dear Bubba:

Wow, from your review I wouldn’t suggest you pay us another visit at the Tarpon Tavern. I read your review carefully and looked at your other 17 restaurant reviews. I admit reviewers on Trip Advisor probably rate most restaurants a little higher than maybe what they should be rated. You, though, are certainly an exception. Your average awarded score across your 17 reviews was 2.2 stars whereas the rest of the reviewers rated those same restaurants a 3.9. You either have very, very bad luck when eating out or for some reason or another decide to rate most restaurants a 1 star. Your highest and only 5 star rating you awarded to the breakfast chain giant, Denny’s. If you are looking for cheap Bud Light and diner food there are plenty of options. I hope you someday find that special place.

In the meantime, our entire staff will continue, as our ratings indicate, to provide great service, great food, great value, great historic atmosphere, time after time. I admit we aren’t always perfect but almost every snow bird and local loves us - time after time. We don’t take reviews personally but we are a small business that relies on the internet for truthful, honest reviews. If there is an ulterior motive it hurts us and the people searching the web for good, reliable information. I hope your review was of an honest vein and thank you nonetheless, Bubba, for the time it took to write your passionate review.

Dan

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 March 2014

Loved the Tarpon Tavern !! We have been going to Tarpon Springs every year and looking for neighborhood places to eat. We found this through TripAdviser and tried it out. We loved it ! Great pub style atmosphere with indoor and outdoor dining. Great burgers and also the Grouper sandwich ! We have gone there a couple times this past trip and will definetly be back ! The age group was from young children with their parents to older adults, with a good mix in between. The Tavern has a great local vibe to it !!

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1  Thank Tony W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 March 2014

Impressive selection of quality craft beers and seasonal menu items served up with style by friendly, knowledgable and professional staff. Based on our experience I give them 5 stars all round!

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2  Thank Mattedcat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2014 via mobile

The food was absolutely great! The wait was pretty long and we didn't see much of the waitress but overall it was a good meal.

1  Thank Doakkster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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