Drinking in Tampa is a mixed bag. Lots of bars close early and many overcharge for drinks that contain almost no alcohol or have downright terrible service. City officials and bar owners are also regularly working against each other. There was even an incident in 2013 where the city once tried to change the closing hours for bars to midnight?!
At the same time, Tampa is home to one of the largest United States Bartenders Guild chapters in the country and holds an excellent Repeal Party in December every year. Tampa has a booming craft beer industry and plenty of wine dives around town as well as liquor distilleries on the horizon.
Ybor City and South Tampa have been had their moments in the sunshine for nightlife and over time both have waned as Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights, and Downtown Tampa become the center of town. Only time will tell.
Here are my Top 8 Bars in Tampa. This is a personal list and you may not agree with my choices and that is okay.
#8 – Ybor City Wine Bar
Ybor City Wine Bar is a great place to catch up with a friend or go on a date. The shop is quaint and all the bartenders I have encountered there have been friendly. You can sit inside or outside depending on the type of night you are looking for – both are enjoyable. The owner holds a wine class every Wednesday and has also expanded over into Seminole Heights. The wine selection is solid and I have enjoyed a few great evenings there.
1600 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 999-4966. http://www.yborcitywinebar.com/
#7 – First Chance, Last Chance Bar
Want a hipster dive bar? First Chance, Last Chance Bar in Ybor City is exactly that. If you’re spending $10 or less be sure to bring cash. Lots of shot specials and plenty of spirits. A nice outdoor courtyard with a DJ spinning regularly as well. Drinks prices are nice and cheap and the happy hour is great.
1707 N 16th St, Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 248-5555. https://www.firstchancelastchance.com/
#6 – Mr. Dunderbaks
You like craft beer? What about German beer and food? Oktoberfest? Mr. Dunderbaks has an impressive beer list and now has installed their own brewery into the mix. Stepping into the restaurant makes you feel like you departed Tampa into a German pub. The best place to be during the World Cup. The food is pretty good too.
14929 Bruce B Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33613. (813) 977-4104. http://dunderbaks.ieasysite.com/
#5 – C. 1949
Seminole Heights is the mecca of hipster bars and C. 1949 provides a huge list of craft beer to visitors for great prices – many of them recently released. Events are held regularly including Taco Tuesday and a Monday night farmer’s market. The interior is modern and cool and the outside deck is perfect for autumn or winter weather. Live music is regularly put on as well.
6905 N Orleans Ave, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 990-8883. http://c1949.com/
#4 – Lowry Parcade
Finally a place for nerds. Lowry Parcade fuses craft beer enthusiasts with video game nerds into one building. The outcome is a great local neighborhood bar in Seminole Heights that allows both crowds to indulge in their passions. We need more of this in Tampa.
1213 W Waters Ave, Tampa, FL 33604. (813) 915-9180. http://lowryparcade.com/
#3 – Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club
When you’re talking high-quality cocktails, Ciro’s delivers an experience you will not forget. They regularly host cocktail dinners and any night there is an experience that will take you back to the 1920s. The drinks are delicious although quite pricey. It’s a perfect place to celebrate a special night with friends or a date.
2109 Bayshore Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 251-0022. http://www.cirostampa.com/
#2 – Hotel Bar
Refined cocktails from hotels around the world. Hotel Bar has an elegant interior and the staff is excellent every time I visit. I only wish Hotel Bar had a larger location, but maybe that is one of the things to appreciate about it as well. Drink prices are what you would expect from a place called Hotel Bar. Not overly expensive and not cheap.
200 N. Tampa St, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 533-2650. http://hotelbartampa.com/
#1 – Anise Global Gastrobar
The best in town. Anise Gastrobar has consistently remained the best place to drink in Tampa since it opened a few years back. The cocktail menu is constantly evolving with the building – they regularly hold events and interact with the industry around them. The space inside is beautiful and it is right across the street from Curtis Hixon Park. The prices have always been fair and the happy hour is excellent. Anise is the best place to drink in Tampa – hands down.
777 N Ashley Dr, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 225-4272. https://www.aniseglobal.com/
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