Theo Mundell is like no one you’ve ever met before. Full of wit and humor, he welcomes his customers at the Flagler Tavern with open arms and a twinkle in his eye. He is thoroughly entertaining – with candid experiences derived from his world travels, fishing trips, boating adventures, and his many years in hospitality. He has a flare for storytelling, a great smile, and a Scottish accent that makes everything he says more intriguing. You’ll sit down to have a drink with him, and before you know it hours have passed.
Theo grew up in Scotland, before moving to the Orlando area to work as an aircraft mechanic and private pilot. He began spending time in New Smyrna Beach while visiting a friend who lived here, and immediately thought, “wow, I need to stay here!” As he spent time on charming Flagler Avenue, he began to dream of opening his own bar just blocks from the beach. When he heard that the Flagler Tavern was for sale, he knew he had to seize the opportunity. That was 32 years ago, and a lot has happened since then. After helping found the new business, and making it successful, Theo took a break from the Tavern. He sold his stake in the business to his partner in the 90’s while he explored other endeavors. However, it was always in the back of his mind and he was passionate about buying it back one day. He felt like it was unfinished business; he wanted the chance to mold the business into the unique destination that he knew it could be.
In August of 2014, Theo got his second chance. His old partner gave him first right of refusal when he decided he was ready to move on from the business. Enlisting the help of a couple of great business partners – and his wife, Esperanza – Theo took back ownership of the Flagler Tavern. He wasted no time in launching into the fulfillment of all of the ideas he’d been dreaming about during the time he was away. The team did a complete overhaul of the menu, decor, and image – while retaining most of the original staff and the iconic Flagler Tavern name. A second story was added to the original building, allowing for the upstairs to be transformed into a speakeasy known as the Bounty Bar.
The Flagler Tavern that exists today offers options for everyone. Whether you are looking for a relaxed, quiet corner to sit and have a specialty cocktail – or if you want to have a beer while dancing to live music. The kitchen churns out delicious food late into the evening, offering everything from tacos to teriyaki, burgers, fresh seafood and more. While it seems that the mix of atmosphere, food, drink, and hospitality at the Tavern are close to perfect, Theo says that there is always room for improvement. He strives to evolve with the times and keep everything fresh, to keep customers coming back for more.
Throughout his journey on Flagler Avenue, one thing has remained a constant according to Theo – and that is the people. He’s had the opportunity to become close with his fellow business owners on the street, vendors and visitors who frequent the many events on the street, and the local regulars at the Tavern. He’s also gotten involved with numerous charitable causes throughout the years that have brought him closer to the members of his community. He has made great friends here, and now considers New Smyrna Beach his true home, even though it is so different from rainy Scotland. Theo looks forward to continuing to make new friends in the years to come, as well as having more great times with old friends.