Common Dialect Beerworks, Seminole Heights’ newest brewpub, held its grand opening this past weekend. Located on Florida Avenue a few blocks south of Hillsborough, it’s the latest brewpub to appear our neighborhood over the past few years.
It’s also a hotly-anticipated arrival. The day I went, Saturday, January 14th, was its second day in operation. It wasn’t just their main parking lot that was full, but both overflow parking lots as well. It helped that it was a bright and sunny (if brisk, by Florida standards — 12° C / 54° F) day. The place was busy, but not uncomfortably so, at least in my extrovert opinion.
Common Dialect is owned by a couple from the neighborhood — Kendra and Mike Conze. If you’re a local dog owner, you probably know Kendra from her other business, Health Mutt, which is probably the most-loved pet food and supply store in Tampa. Health Mutt recently moved from its corner store location on Central Avenue to very spacious digs nearby on Florida Avenue. This gave them a large warehouse space next door, and that space became Common Dialect.
Here’s what I saw when I stepped inside:
The place was hoppin’, even though it wasn’t any time near peak beer hours — I’d arrived at about 3:00 p.m. to check out the place after getting my hair cut just up the street.
One way they’ve decided to make themselves stand out from the other pubs in the area is by being the most brightly-colored of the lot.
Make note of the people in the foreground if you want a sense of the wall mural’s size:
After admiring the mural for a moment, I decided to help the bar fulfill its business purpose and buy a drink.
The line moved pretty quickly, and the staff were friendly and seemed experienced. If they were having opening-weekend issues, I didn’t see them.
With my freshly-acquired beer (alas, they didn’t have any darks or stouts on hand, so I decided to go for vitamin C with a citrus wheat beer), I made my way to the patio.
There isn’t space for a kitchen inside the pub, but there’s a designated area for food trucks, and it appears that they plan to have a different food truck on the premises most nights. On the Saturday I went, they had two: Queen B Ice Cream and the cleverly-named A Boy Named Sous:
I lucked out and a seat on the patio freed up…
…so I set my accordion down (remember, I take it with me to pubs and bars because it’s a magical machine that often turns music into free beer)…
…and proceeded to enjoy my beer and some conversation with the people around me.
There are a number of pubs and bars within cycling distance of our place, including the Corner Club, 7venth Sun, Southern Brewing and Winemaking, The Independent and Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, to name a few, and we’re “regulars” at many of them. Because of this, I’ve become familiar with a lot of neighborhood faces, and there were many unfamiliar faces here.
I struck up conversations (and played tunes for) the people at the tables around me, and they turned out to be new arrivals to the area who’d moved here for the usual selling points: classic houses, tree-lined walkable streets, nearby places to eat and drink, local quirky shops, and so on.
If anything, these new faces are a sign that we haven’t yet hit “peak brewpub” in the neighborhood and all the existing places, each with its own qualities and charms, will be around. One of the reasons we moved here was for the healthy ecosystem of “third places,” and I’m happy to see another player in the mix.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Common Dialect!