Like it! Independent Bar and Cafe Tampa, Florida
Called to the warmth and slower pace of Florida, they settled in St. Petersburg where Johnny sold beers to distributors and Veronica practiced law. When the law in Florida changed to allow bars to sell metric-sized beers, he found the distributors reluctant to buy the unfamiliar European brands.
Johnny and Veronica decided to go directly to the beer drinkers and sell them the foamy brews from overseas. In 2005, they opened their first Independent bar in St. Petersburg. Soon after they bought Rex, a bar in St. Petersburg specializing in American craft brews.
The latest in the Vellines family operation is Independent bar in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa. Judy, Tamara, and Charity spent a lovely afternoon in the former gas station one recent afternoon. Sitting at an outside table, they sampled the coffee and espresso drinks the bar offers. Later in the day, they moved inside to try some beers. They chose St. Peter's Gluten Free Sorghum and Mermaid Pilsner, two of the hundreds of beires available in the cozy, casual bar.
Independent also offers a light menu of sandwiches and soups and wines by the glass. Each day they have 3 to 4 reds, 3 to 4 whites and a sparkling variety. Bluegrass and country bands play outside several nights a month. Veronica opens the garage door to let the outside in. If you're in Tampa, try it. You'll like it!