Looking for a great place to unwind, have a drink and relax? The following bars are all located around the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area of the Central West Coast of Florida and are favored by most locals. These are also great places to visit for tourists looking to get a taste of the local scene, not to mention a delicious bite to eat.
The Green Iguana is one of the more popular watering holes for locals in several areas as they have locations scattered across Tampa and St. Petersburg. Almost every night of the week you can find live music at one of their several locations, Latin music, blues music and some good ole rock n’ roll. Some samples of the fare available at their locations include, but are certainly not limited to, Artichoke Spinach Dip, $6.49 which is a fresh spinach blended with artichoke and mild cheeses and served with fried tortilla chips. Lizard Combination – $9.99 Crab Rangoon, coco shrimp and pork pot stickers which is served with Thai chili, orange cilantro, and soy sauce. The Tuna Shishimi for $14 for a full order is wonderful and the Smoked Fish Spread is one of my favorites for under $7. I grew up on Smoked Fish Spread is some of the more famous seafood restaurants in and around Miami and I can say this is certainly up to par. Check out their really cool website, complete with moving Iguanas, and find the location nearest you so you can head on over this weekend.
Jackson’s is another of my favorite places to chill out. Recently my husband and I visited Jackson’s, which is located on Harbor Island in Downtown Tampa, on a Sunday for brunch. Let me tell you this was well worth every cent and for a weekend brunch, it really wasn’t that much money. It was a beautiful Florida day and for $18.95 we dined on a wide variety of delicious fare from pasta salads, roast beef, baked ham, eggs in several styles, French toast, Belgian waffles with all the trimmings and all the fresh sushi you can devour. I would recommend having a Mimosa out on the patio overlooking the waterway. Brunch is served every Sunday from 10:30am to 2:30pm and I would recommend reservations as the restaurant fills to capacity quite quickly. This is also a great place to visit for an after work cocktail and stay to dance the night away.
Caddy’s On The Beach is one of the hotter places to hang if you are down near the beach in St. Petersburg. It is located at 9000 W Gulf Boulevard at Sunset Beach. How could you not enjoy having drink at Sunset Beach while watching the sun set. You can find me here every weekend during the summer. Caddy’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they have one of the best burgers around. If you’re trying to keep that bikini fit bod, then you won’t be disappointed by their salads. The staff there is also pretty good at getting you what you want. For example, I like to have a tuna salad platter which is not on the menu, but they will pretty much throw one together because they do offer a tuna sandwich.
A terrific place for the after work crowd would be The Blue Martini located at International Plaza in Tampa. Here you can go every day after work and never have the same martini twice. It is also a great place to a bite to eat and I enjoy a fruit and cheese plate with a dirty martini and the seared Tuna is perfection on a plate.
Don’t really need food and want to see where the true locals of Tampa hang out? You may as well visit The Hub at 719 N Franklin St, Tampa. They recently moved to this new location, but the dimly lit and slightly grungy bar has been around forever and offers the perfect ambiance for the down and dirty crowd. Be careful here though because with their free pour attitude, you could end up pretty buzzed before you know it, so make sure you take a cab home.
717 South at 717 S Howard Ave, Tampa is the perfect place for the local professionals to kick back with a cocktail and some Italian fare after work. A great place for the office crowd to enjoy and drink and some escargot.
The Rack has recently been renovated and has always been a great after work watering hole. The Rack is located at 1809 W. Platt St in the Hyde Park area of Tampa and has a great selection of bar food and good drinks. They are also fairly famous for offering Sushi and Billiards under one roof. Stop by for Suesday Tuesday where people in the legal profession get discounts. There is also Medical Monday (I think you can guess) and Teacher Thursday among others.
To get a bit of the Irish flare, check out MacDinton’s at 405 South Howard Ave, Tampa. A perfect place to plan to spend St. Patrick’s Day with traditional Irish fare. The Fish and Chips are fabulous as is the Bangers and Mash. Bangers is sausage for those of you who don’t know. They also have a great Shepard’s Pie and Corned Beef and Cabbage. Stop on by after work and have a cocktail on the large outdoor patio.