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Bar Tab: Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill

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Clancy's EXT wt edit

Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill
STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

The patrons range from white-haired retirees to heavily inked bikers to goateed twenty-somethings who appear as if they spent the afternoon fishing. They are happy. Everybody seems happy. Definitely not the typical bar scene. It’s kind of special.

It’s 5:30 p.m. at Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill in West Bradenton on a recent Sunday. The crowd continues to grow, continues to smoke and drink and mingle and applaud the man on stage at the spacious, open-air tiki bar called the “Freaki Teaki.” “Our atmosphere is casual and relaxed,” reads Clancy’s website. “Think Irish Tavern meets Jimmy Buffett!” It’s an apt description.

Clancy's Jack Tamburine w Greg Rohr BEST

Jack Tamburine (guitar) performing with Greg Rohr (keyboards) at Clancy's Freaki Teaki in Bradenton. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Jack Tamburine is the man on stage. He plays around Bradenton and Anna Maria Island and probably some other places, but at Clancy’s Freaki Teaki stage – where he plays every other Sunday – he’s a star. This is his neighborhood and these are his people.

Tamburine wears a cowboy hat, a Hawaiian-style shirt adorned with colorful guitars, blue jeans and snakeskin cowboy boots. His guitar is adorned with the stars and stripes in all their glittery glory. He has a mic headset from which emanates the words to everything from the old country-bluegrass standard “Rocky Top” to the Black Eyed Peas smash “I Gotta Feeling.” These are songs that get people moving on the dance floor or, at the very least, applauding from their bar stools.

Billed as the “Jack Tamburine Band,” keyboardist, violinist and backup vocalist Greg Rohr rounds out the roster of the “band,” which performs with plenty of pre-recorded backing tracks. This annoys music snobs like me but doesn’t seem to deter the crowd at all. My amazing wife Kristin tells me to lighten up and I probably should. Just sit back on this beautiful Sunday and have fun. Everybody else is so, why shouldn’t I?

Clancy's Reuben close

Clancy's Classic Reuben ($7.50) is one of the most popular and tastiest items on the menu. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Clancy’s has a well-earned reputation for quality pub grub and our Clancy’s Classic Reuben ($7.50) is no exception. Even better? After our server learns we are sharing she brings it out split on two separate plates with equal amount of fries and a pickle spear each. That’s a nice perk and much appreciated, especially at no extra charge.

I nosh on my sandwich and drink my potent Absolut and tonic ($4). Rohr puts on a devil mask with a matching red cape for a performance of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The crowd goes wild. Tamburine announces he will be taking a short break but that people can leave song requests for him to play next set. He sips an O’Doul’s and talks to his fans.

Clancy's tiki bar

Patrons at Clancy's Freaki Teaki bar watch a performance by the Jack Tamburine Band. STAFF PHOTO / WADE TATANGELO

Some people go to Clancy’s for its annual St. Patrick’s Day party – the largest in Manatee County for at least a decade now – but for others it’s a lifestyle. In the past 14 years, I’m sure more couples have met at Clancy’s than just about any other bar in the area. Kristin and I are not regulars but we go to Clancy’s enough to appreciate the great service, generous cocktails, tasty bar bites and that fun factor that makes the place, well, kind of special.

Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill
6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 794-2489; clancysirishsportspub.com

Have a suggestion for a place to be featured in Bar Tab? Comment below, email to wade.tatangelo@heraldtribune.com or contact me on Twitter: @wtatangelo.

Clancy’s Irish Sports Pub & Grill
6218 Cortez Road W., Bradenton; 794-2489; clancysirishsportspub.com
Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013
WADE TATANGELO is the editor of TICKET + and a contributor at TicketSarasota.com. He has been an entertainment editor, reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013 and writes the weekly Bar Tab column. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: April 22, 2014
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