Its unassuming exterior belies the magical transformation of what awaits. One step inside The Argonaut Bar & Lounge, a new downtown Tavares bar, and guests are immediately transported back in time and into a vintage submarine lounge. Sounds fantastical? It is.
The imaginative interior design, impressive metal fabrication and countless details took a small, nondescript space from an ambitious concept to its well-executed fruition. The original idea of this intimate beer and wine bar was the brainchild of a creative Howey-in-the-Hills couple, David and Hilary Perry. The concept leapt from the pages of a fictional Steampunk story the couple wrote about the Nautilus family that traveled the world in a submarine. That tale was also the impetus of the couple’s other Tavares business, Nautilus Coffee Company, which opened last year.
In the Perrys’ fable set during the turn of the century, the adventurous Nautilus family, headed by two ironworkers, named their submarine Argonaut. In Greek mythology, Argo was a ship and according to legend, Jason and the Argonauts were heroes on a quest to find the Golden Fleece aboard the ship sometime before the Trojan War.
The Perrys didn’t stop with their creative storytelling or artisanal coffee shop. The Argonaut is a sophisticated, vintage-inspired speakeasy with a beautifully crafted interior that was designed and built by David. His background in complex scenic construction at theme parks paid off by combining impressive metal fabrication, an illuminated bar, velvet lounge-style seating, vintage nautical accents and sharks swimming on a screen behind the bar creating an ambiance of an underwater escape. Guests can opt to sit at the bar, the tufted-velvet loveseats, or one of two intimate capsule booths with portholes.
In addition to wine and craft beer The Argonaut also features two signature wine-based cocktails. The Abyss is served bubbling in a glass chemistry beaker, and Jane’s Addiction blends Pinot Grigio and Limoncello with a splash of Butterfly Pea Tea. When guests are in the mood for a nibble, they can select from a handful of small plate dishes, including charcuterie, beer cheese pretzel bites or pear and brie skewers.
Argonaut Bar & Lounge is located at 122 W. Ruby Street in downtown Tavares. Its hours are Sundays from noon to 10 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays from 2 p.m. to midnight; and Saturdays from noon to midnight. The bar is closed on Mondays.