TALLAHASSEE — A lot of pubs and bars aspire to be like the fictional bar from the 80’s sitcom, “Cheer’s.” Their owners strive to bring that easy friendliness and atmosphere “where everybody knows your name” to their quaint little watering hole.
With happy regulars sitting at the bar or at mahogany tables scattered throughout the gastropub, the owners of McGowan’s Hops and Grapes seem to have achieved that goal.
“When we dreamed of McGowan’s we wanted a place where people could come in and hang out for the night,” said owner Robin McGowan. “We don’t take reservations and we don’t ‘burn and turn’ our tables. We have games and great drinks and food and we don’t rush anyone.”
“When we hear people laughing, we know we did it — we fulfilled our vision for this place,” she said.
Robin and Steve McGowan met in the restaurant business 35 years ago. They were married six weeks after that first meeting. Since then they have had other careers – Steve as a school teacher and Robin in the cosmetics industry. When it was time for retirement, Steve suggested they finally follow their dream and open a pub.
“We can do this,” he told Robin.
A year and a half later, McGowan’s Hops and Grapes is open in Bradfordville Crossing. Behind the large granite bar are over 40 taps for all kinds of craft beer, but no domestic beer. They also serve local wine.
Robin said they found an incredible chef in Justin Bishop, who veers away from traditional burgers and wings to food that’s a little different, like a salmon BLT or Drunkin Conch Fritters or their specialty Reuben sandwich.
Like in the “Cheers” theme song, the McGowans know “making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.” With that in mind they have also started a non-profit to benefit local heroes. Plans are for a portion of one or two of their beer sales to go to help the children of law enforcement officers, firefighters or veterans attend college.
McGowans is located in Bradfordville at 3431 Bannerman Road.