It is one thing to say that Lana's Red Lion Pub in Indian Rocks Beach is "laid-back."
How much more causal can a place be? Some stranger walks behind the bar, and it takes a couple of minutes for the wait staff to determine if that person is an employee or not.
If you are searching for an afternoon respite, or just want to spend a few minutes reflecting on your life by downing a couple of cold beers, then the Red Lion is for you. If you are in hiding from the "stress" of your workday, then at the Red Lion you will be hiding in full sight, since the exterior has an iconic British phone booth planted in the front. You certainly cannot miss it from Gulf Boulevard.
The Red Lion has a parking lot filled with pickup trucks and service vans, so you can easily guess who customers who frequent the Red Lion. They are mostly working people and locals. "Git-R-Dones," as Larry the Cable Guy would call them.
You know, people who work hard and warrant that cold one—or two—after a long day. Not that that is a horrible thing, by any means.
In fact, with a little stretch of the imagination, you can take the Red Lion—lock, stock and barrel—and drop it, as is, in any American working-class neighborhood. The bar mirror was plastered with cryptic notes and pictures of the regulars. I defy you to find a blue-collar bar anywhere without that little touch.
Yes, the Red Lion would easily fit in.
I am not saying that the Red Lion is without moments of refinement. On the day visited, a woman sitting next to me at the bar was drinking white wine. Overall, of the people there, mixed drinks seemed to be more common than beer.
Speaking of beers, Red Lion offers the standards on tap—Miller Lite and Budweiser—as well as Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale and Kelly's Cider. It does not stop there; the Red Lion also has a large selection of bottled beers both import and domestics.
There was one pleasant surprise on draft —Blue Point Brewing Company's "Hoptical Illusion." It is an excellent craft beer. If you can trust their advertising, Hoptical Illusion is "almost" pale ale.
Either way, at only $3.50 a pint, it is a bargain for the craft beer aficionados. A nifty little find, since other places have similar beers for at least a dollar or two more.
As it is in every good hideaway, there is plenty to keep you occupied. Red Lion boasts a well-maintained pool table and darts boards, with their many televisions all tuned to sports.
Of course, this time was when the Tampa Bay Rays made it to the playoffs, so every TV had the beginning of the first game.
If you are in the market for a good hideout, and enjoy a couple of beers above the norm, Lana's Red Lion Pub in Indian Rocks Beach gives you a piece of working-class America.
Lana's Red Lion Pub is at 1407 Gulf Boulevard, Indian Rocks Beach. They can be reached at (727) 596-5411.