Today’s Taurus Beer & Whiskey House is located in one of the most historic buildings in Coconut Grove. Built in 1920 by pioneer Ralph Monroe for his daughter, Patty, and her friend Alice Ayars, this sturdy masonry building hosted, by 1921, The Tea Chest. A favorite with tourists and residents alike. The Tea Chest offered afternoon teas and light fare in addition to tasty desserts.
In 1927, the La Casita Tea Room and Gift Shop replaced The Tea Chest. By then, the neighborhood was changing to include the nearby Coconut Grove Cinema. La Casita was famous for its Southern-style cooking. In 1969, the Taurus Restaurant opened in the same space and added an adjacent building for diners. With its successful “no gimmicks” steak house and warm, lively bar, the Taurus became a Coconut Grove landmark, drawing to it a wide array of loyal customers, including aging members of the community’s onetime hippy community.
In 2003, new owners closed the business, opened a wine bar in the old bar space and surrounded it with a new condominium and restaurant complex. But the Taurus returned, reopening under its old name and in the original building in 2009.
– Paul S George Ph.D