By Katie Padgett
If you’ve driven on South Florida Ave. in the past few months, you couldn’t have missed it.
“Some people think it’s a church, some think it’s a brewery, a steakhouse and even an ice cream parlor,” one of Cob and Pen’s bartenders and servers Mat Tomachesky said. But Cob and Pen is much more than any of those things.
Dwelling inside of the old Tudor House, Cob and Pen is a gastropub located in Dixieland, serving upscale beers, wines and bar food.
The Tudor House was relocated from its original residence on Lake Hollingsworth to S. Florida Ave. in Sept. 2014. Originally owned by Gene Holloway, the 1927 Tudor House seemed to be the Gatsby Mansion of Lakeland during its height. With its original mirrored ceiling, wood flooring and its Old World exterior, Cob and Pen has kept much of the Tudor House alive while adding their own twists.
Once inside, one can expect a large bar, vaulted ceilings, an extensive beer and wine collection and a projector on the wall, which plays old movies and sporting events. The restaurant also includes a pet-friendly patio and lawn with outdoor activities.
From 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week, you can enjoy a wide variety of wines and ales from local breweries in Florida, all the way to imports from Italy, Brazil, Norway and Japan, just to name a few. You can also partake in an array of bar snacks. Some favorites are the curry spiced fried pickles, house-made fries with dipping sauces and toppings and the summer sausage sliders accompanied by potato salad.
Cob and Pen has daily happy hour specials, a late night food and drink menu and they host and cater events such as business meetings, wedding receptions and jewelry shows.
The restaurant has a very warm, eclectic feel. From the building itself, the décor, the food selection and servers. They support local breweries, such as Swamp Head Brewery. All of the food is made in-house and it’s evident when your food arrives – each plate is put together with detailed attention.
When asked what his favorite menu item was, Tomachesky had a hard time choosing.
“All of our drinks rotate so you could have a new favorite once a week,” Tomachesky said. The drink menu is ever changing, keeping customers coming back for more.
“It’s hard to choose a favorite plate too. This isn’t food that you will find all over town. It’s made with passion,” Tomachesky said.
And Tomachesky is correct – this most definitely isn’t food you will find all over town. You can come in with your family for a relaxed lunch and enjoy fresh, homemade meals with a whimsical flair. And then you can come back with friends at night and each try a different import from all around the world while snacking on shareable plates.
While Cob and Pen is known for their night scene, they are built to please any crowd.
“It’s a pretty open demographic, we serve people from every walk of life,” bartender and assistant manager Lauren McClellan said.
Cob and Pen’s crowd is very diverse and embraces the culture of Lakeland. Even sharing Lakeland’s affinity for the beloved swans with a large swan logo on their wall and naming their restaurant after Lakeland’s logo. A cob is a male swan, and a pen a female swan.
Cob and Pen is getting more and more involved in the downtown Lakeland community – hosting several upcoming events. One on Friday, March 17 – Saint Patty’s Day Yoga in the Yard from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and another event on Saturday, April 1 – No Joke April Fool’s Day Party.
Cob and Pen is located at 1221 S. Florida Ave. with a vast parking lot located behind the restaurant.
You can find a variety of pickled vegetables, cheese and meats ranging from $3-$5 for appetizers, $7-$18 for cheese boards, $7-$9 for salads, $9-$12 for meals and of course sides, fries and desserts ranging from $2-$8.
Cob and Pen brings something cultured, eclectic and distinct to Lakeland. And that was exactly their goal – to not only bring about more nightlife, but to see people coming in and enjoying each others company. Sip back, relax and enjoy the warm embrace of Lakeland that Cob and Pen provides ever so well.