A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Eva David
The James Joyce Pub in Ybor is ready with Jameson’s in hand, and plenty of entertainment. Originally housing apartments and a cigar/grocery store downstairs, the building was split in two, dividing top from bottom, and making an ideal spot for a pub upstairs. One year ago owner Ryan Gougeon decided to purchase the bar with big ideas in mind.
A lot of new equipment was put in, and a fun, hospitable staff was hired. Gougeon, 31, has taken it upon himself to find new and exciting events no one has attempted before. This summer he will host their first ever Dwarf Cage Fighting Match. It features Demo the Love Dwarf vs. Blixx, a street fighting legend. “Basically it’s going to be two dwarfs, one 3-foot-6, one 3-foot-5. They’re both professional wrestlers and great athletes. They’re going to compete in a big martial arts match-up, punching, kicking, kickboxing, grappling, basically ultimate fighting rules in a cage,” says Gougeon. A couple of warm-up matches are planned as well. The first will be Demo the Love Dwarf vs. the lovely and busty Ms. Ireland in an oil-wrestling grudge match. If that’s not enough, down a pint or two and get close to the stage for some “crackhead” boxing, which will put “Wayne the Crackhead” against a formidable opponent. “My opponent look like a wimp. When I hit him in his eye, he gonna look like a stimp,” said Wayne eagerly. Gougeon will also begin filming a reality show based on the regulars and employees at the bar. It will begin with the cage match and expand from there into weekly shows complete with trailers. The show will feature nightly shenanigans at the bar as well as the drama that is bound to happen in Ybor. It airs on YouTube this summer. If wrestling and reality shows aren’t your thing, Gougeon doesn’t want you to feel left out. He also offers live music with an acoustic vibe Thursday through Saturday. You can relax on the dark-stained woodwork and listen to Celtic songs of old Ireland, or request your top 40 favorites, which the performers can play with a new twist. If the weekend isn’t a possibility, Wednesday is $ 5-liter night, any draught beer you choose. Gougeon has worked hard to make James Joyce a place everyone can enjoy. “Beyond the shenanigans and crazy things that happen, we provide a relaxing atmosphere. The bar is becoming popular with females because they can come here and not get harassed. They can have a drink with their girlfriends and not worry about aggressive guys. We actually learn people’s names and always throw a good party. I took a failing bar and doubled the sales in one year,” Gougeon says.