LAKE PARK -- Hearkening back to the days of the old fashioned supper club, patrons of The Tavern can enjoy a relaxing evening in a casually elegant atmosphere with dinner, dancing and live music.

The historic 78-year old restaurant and lounge on Highway 41 at Twin Lakes near Lake Park is under new ownership. Recently purchased by longtime Lake Park residents Linda Hogan and Keith Connelly, the two are remodeling and revamping the restaurant, anxious to restore it to its former glory days.

Hogan said The Tavern appeals to "anyone looking for a safe night filled with laughter, delicious food, great music and lots of friends."

The large bar area is staffed with three bartenders and includes cozy eating nooks for diners. The main dining area has tables to accommodate couples or larger parties, placed so that no one has their back to the band. The stage is filled every Friday and Saturday night with a live band and the dance floor is active on the weekends.

The Tavern also has a separate private party room for groups from 20 to 100. Connelly, a longtime employee of the restaurant, said the room is typically booked around the holidays, especially for Christmas parties.

The new owners are also remodeling the fenced outdoor patio area, which features a spreading oak tree with a spacious deck built around it and an outdoor gazebo and bar. Hogan said they hope to host weddings, parties and receptions outside.

Neither Connelly nor Hogan is a stranger to the restaurant business, as he owns Bayou Bills and she owns Lake Dogs, both in Lake Park. The two also had worked previously at The Tavern, and said they will split their time between their old and new businesses.

The restaurant's extensive menu offers a variety of appetizers, from wings to barbecued shrimp, and an array of entrees, including steak, seafood and quail. Prices range from $8.95 to $21.95; the most expensive entree is a 12-ounce New York strip steak with stuffed shrimp.

The Tavern is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. until 3 a.m.

Re-establishing the Lake Park landmark is important to the owners, with Hogan saying, "Once again The Tavern is back with all her beauty,atmosphere and dinner that would make original owner Rose Killeen proud."

To contact Business Editor Kay Harris, please call 244-3400, ext. 280.

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