Guide: Top 8 Local Coffee Shops in Tampa

This list has been overdue. Tampa has a blossoming coffee scene, you would be hard pressed to find a local coffee shop 5-10 years ago. Recently local coffee shops have been showing up all over town. Here are my current top 8 coffee shops in Tampa.

The factors used to rate the cafes are quality of coffee, affordability, consistency, atmosphere, and customer service. This is a personal list and your list may differ from my own and that’s alright.

Here we go:

#1 – The Lab Tampa – Coffee Shop

Most baristas around town I’ve talked to and local business people mention The Lab. Local coffee has a community that has built around Zeal Coffee Roasters and The Lab was started as a partnership between Blind Tiger Coffee and Zeal Coffee Roasters. It’s obvious that these two ambitious local businesses joining forces would create a great product.

I only recently visited The Lab for the first time, but the coffee, conversations, and customer service has been top notch. The interior is being renovated and worked on, but to be honest – the coffee I have had here makes up for anything in the atmosphere. The friendliness of all the people who stop in also is something to appreciate.

Of all the coffee shops I have visited and constantly visit, The Lab has impressed me the most. It may not have a beautiful courtyard or baristas with bowties, but it captures the essence of what makes a good coffee shop and that makes it the best in my book.

1703 W State St.,Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 451-6662. http://www.zealcoffeeroasters.com/location/

#2 – Buddy Brew Coffee – Hyde Park Village

If we’re talking atmosphere – Buddy Brew Coffee in Hyde Park Village is a beautiful shop that I love to visit. Hopefully one day the rest of the construction in Hyde Park Village will subside and match this shop. The baristas at BBC are friendly, but not quite as friendly as some other shops. The coffee I ordered on various visits has been enjoyable.

The selection is also a little limited – but to me the atmosphere here makes up for that. Plus there is plenty of parking with the Hyde Park Village garages nearby which can be an issue at numerous shops around town. Buddy Brew has numerous locations around Tampa, but this one is my favorite.

1605 W Snow Ave, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 575-2739. http://www.buddybrew.com/locations/hydepark/

#3 – Caffeine – Kennedy

I enjoyed the Caffeine location in Downtown Tampa in the past, although parking is an issue both in Downtown and also at their new shop on Kennedy. I love the atmosphere inside the new Caffeine on Kennedy. The coffee here is good though not the best in town, but I do enjoy stopping by for a cup and the shop is incredibly accommodating to people who work on laptops.

The baristas are also super friendly and the poached egg and avocado toast is excellent. Nothing wrong with a coffee shop that actually has a great food selection.

2420 W Kennedy Blvd, Tampa, FL 33609. (813) 644-7245. http://www.caffeineusa.com/

#4 Spaddy’s Coffee Co. – Seminole Heights

I met Greg Spaddy last year at the Seminole Heights Japan Fest. The man has always been a friendly neighborhood guy that anyone can converse with. When he opened shop in Seminole Heights this year in the courtyard next to Red Star Rock Bar, lines of customers were ready for him.

The coffee and tea selection has always been excellent at Spaddy’s and prices are fair. Coffee is sourced from Zeal Coffee Roasters. One of the best things at Spaddy’s Coffee Co. is watching the locals stop by and chat about what is happening in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. That’s what community is all about and Spaddy is a community player.

The only downside to Spaddy’s is that this location is outdoors and prone to the hot Florida weather and rain. Little by little, changes have been made to address this by adding shade and power outdoors. Don’t miss the First Friday events at the truck that bring in other local food trucks and live music to the neighborhood.

5206 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33603. (954) 829-2111. http://www.spaddyscoffee.com/

#5 Ginger Beard Coffee

Ginger Beard Coffee is known as one of the first shops to sell nitro brew coffee in Tampa. Their audience is niche and mainly drawn from locals in Channelside, but I’ve always enjoyed my experiences at their shop at Grand Central on Kennedy.

The shop regularly partners with other local players such as Bake’n Babes and TeBella and keeps releasing fresh ideas. Plus I love the red ginger beards the owners have. I’d recommend giving Ginger Beard a look – it won’t be for everyone, but I love it personally.

1208 E Kennedy Blvd #112, Tampa, FL 33606. (813) 434-0795. http://www.gingerbeardcoffee.com/

#6 Foundation Coffee – Tampa Heights

Foundation Coffee was one of the early players in Tampa Heights which is now starting to boom. Originally from Riverview, Foundation is often not afraid to take risks and enter untested markets which is commendable.

The coffee at Foundation can be best described as good, but not the best I’ve had. The baristas are friendly, but not in a memorable way.

The atmosphere at Foundation in Tampa Heights cannot be beat. The outside courtyard is truly relaxing and makes you wonder why more people do not utilize the outdoors in this fashion.

Also – personally the Wi-Fi at Foundation is terrible and disconnects frequently making it a difficult shop to get any work done at. On the plus side there are plenty of plugs to charge your devices.

1607 N Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 358-5781. http://www.foundationcoffeeco.com/

#7 Tre Amici at The Bunker – Ybor City

This shop has been in Ybor City for over 10 years and is a beautiful bungalow. There is a wide variety of options for coffee sourced from Buddy Brew and also tea and excellent Cuban toast that is representative of Ybor City.

The baristas I have encountered at Tre Amici have been friendly. Paid parking is available nearby, but actual parking spots can be a little scarce near the shop. The shop is constantly packed with customers and locals.

There are a ton of tables and plugs lying around for people who need to get work done or have a meeting.

1907 N 19th St, Tampa, FL 33605. (813) 247-6964. http://www.bunkerybor.com/

#8 The Attic Cafe – Downtown Tampa

Coffee shops are a mix of coffee and your experience there. The Attic relies heavily on experience and is more of a mix shop serving a variety of things. The thing not to miss here is the view.

The Attic has a beautiful skyline view of Downtown Tampa that you will not find anywhere else. Visit during sunset and it may be one of the best city views in Tampa.

The coffee is satisfactory – not the best I have had. The staff is much more like what you would find at a local sandwich shop, the baristas do not seem to have the same kind of passion for coffee you’ll find at other shops around town. Still – the view at The Attic cannot be beat.

There are also plenty of plugs and excellent Wi-Fi at The Attic. Parking can be a pit of a pain due to the meters in Downtown.

500 E Kennedy Blvd #400, Tampa, FL 33602. (813) 226-1003. http://www.atticcafe.net/


What are your favorite coffee shops? Let me know in the comments.

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Tampa Bay Taco Tuesday Dining Guide

Wondering where to eat for Taco Tuesday in Tampa? No, I’m not talking about your average Tijuana Flats. Taco Tuesday offers deals at many great spots around town and no two taco places are created equal.

Here is my list of go-to spots for Taco Tuesday deals in Tampa Bay and places I’d recommend visiting. There may be more restaurants offering the deal, but that doesn’t mean I recommend them.

  1. La Villa River Hills: I am a Mexican food snob from San Francisco and most places in Tampa are “good for Tampa” and that is about it – they don’t even come close to the quality or ingredients of taquerias on The Mission. La Villa River Hills is the real deal though. Fresh, Mexican cuisine at an affordable price and the quality is apparent in everything from their salsa to their tamales. They offer $2 tacos on Tuesday. The location is near FishHawk and Valrico which is a long drive for many – but well worth it. You might want to call-ahead because the restaurant is small, but this is easily my favorite Mexican place in Tampa Bay right now.
  2. Taco Traveler: This local food truck is delivering tasty non-traditional tacos on Tuesdays at C. 1949 in Seminole Heights. Enjoy $2 taco specials and $1 off select beer inside the building. Live-music is also happening.
  3. Ciccio Cali: One of the best known Taco Tuesday deals in town. Many of the bowls available at Ciccio Cali can be converted into flour tacos for just $2 each during Taco Tuesday. They load them up. My favorite? Hot & Crunchy Tuna. The flavor is there. More places should experiment with sushi tacos in general. Be patient because the crowds can get crazy and my experiences with hostesses have been mixed. It’s located in Brandon, New Tampa, and St. Pete.
  4. TacoSon: The original Taco Bus. TacoSon is where the owners of the original Taco Bus opened shop after their sale and you can tell by the crowds that the original fans have followed them to this location on 56th Street. Avoid the drive-thru unless you’re comfortable with sitting in your car for long periods of time and just go inside. They don’t do Taco Tuesday deals, but on the flip-side tacos there are $2.50 everyday. Real deal. They now have locations in St. Pete and Wesley Chapel as well.
  5. California Tacos To-Go: This local chain has excellent tacos and offers 2 tacos, chips, and a drink for $6.99. A little more expensive than some other spots, but the quality is definitely there. Most recipes hail from SoCal and the loaded fish tacos are truly amazing. Locations in USF, South Tampa, and St. Pete. It’s one of the few places that Guy Fieri recommends that I can agree with.

If a place did not make the list – it is likely that I either do not recommend it, I haven’t visited the place, or I forgot and this list will be regularly updated as well so look for that. If your favorite place isn’t on the list that’s okay too. This is an opinion-based piece and you are entitled to your opinion.

Valentine’s Day 2017 @ Vuelo Mexican Grill

Looking for an affordable and tasty Mexican meal for this V-Day? Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2017 at Vuelo Mexican Grill located at 17641 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. The restaurant will offer 3 courses for 2 people for $20.

Here is the menu:

Appetizer (shared)
Select from Queso Fundido or Nachos Vuelo

2 Entrees
Select from Enchiladas, Vuelo Burrito, or Street Tacos

Dessert: Churros (shared)
With spicy chocolate dipping sauce & powdered sugar

For more information – contact Vuelo at (813) 972-4800.

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Vuelo Mexican Grill recently opened in New Tampa off Bruce B. Downs. The restaurant features fresh, gourmet Mexican cuisine with a menu prepared by Chef Mark Estee. Estee is a James Beard Semifinalist and has been featured on The Cooking Channel and The Food Network.

Vuelo regularly hosts a weekly Taco Tuesday and Sunday Brunch in addition to daily specials and a great happy hour.

Snobachi Grand Opening NYE 2017

Thai Rolled Ice Cream is taking Tampa by storm at the moment (just head over to IceSmile and try to wait in line for 2 hours) and newcomer Snobachi Handcrafted Ice Cream is leading the movement over into Ybor City at 2206 East 7th Avenue next to Shrimp and Co.

This shop offers ice cream and frozen yogurt bases with over 25 flavors and is owned by military veterans of the United States Air Force and Army.

Snobachi also offers what they call Dragon Breath: a combination of liquid nitrogen and dippers such as brownie bites, popcorn, and marshmallows. When you eat the dippers – your breath will release a smoke from the nitrogen chill.

Check out the menu: http://www.snobachi.com/portfolio.html

Snobachi’s Grand Opening will be held this New Year’s Eve 2017 starting at 2:30PM and runs all day long until 2AM. The first 50 customers will get 50% off their SnoRolls. Social media check-ins and shares will also unlock discounts for customers.

Some photos of Snobachi Handcrafted Ice Cream via Facebook:

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For more information contact Snobachi at (813) 284-6071

Snobachi

Facebook RSVPhttp://www.facebook.com/events/238138119943072/

New Year’s Eve 2017 – Gatsby Gala @ Mastry’s Brewing Co.

Want to take it back to the 1920s for NYE 2017? Mastry’s Brewing Co. located at 7701 Blind Pass Road on St. Pete Beach will be hosting a Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve party for craft beer fans this NYE from 7PM-1AM. Mastry’s Brewing Co. opened their doors earlier this year in October 2016.

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The event will feature a new beer release, food truck, DJ, and photobooth. Limited-edition souvenir glasses will be able for $15 each to the first 100 guests to arrive. Purchase a glass and enjoy 1/2 off drafts all night long. Pre-Sales will be available over the phone or in the tasting room.

There will be no cover charge to attend this event. 21+ only.

Chalk Board Mobile Event Service will be serving food at the party. Here is the menu:

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NYE 2017 @ Pisces Sushi and Global Bistro

If you’re looking for New Year’s Eve 2017 plans in Pinellas County – Pisces Sushi and Global Bistro located at 799 Highland Avenue in Dunedin will host a New Year’s Eve party on December 31st. Regular reservations will be held from 5PM to 9PM – later in the evening the patio overlooking Downtown Dunedin will be converted into a party area.

The full sushi menu will be available all night and guests can order from all 3 of their menus. Browse the menu at: http://piscessushibistro.com/menu/. The bar will serve drinks until 12:30AM and a champagne toast will be held at midnight for all guests.

Live music will be played from 7PM until close with local guitarist and musician Mark Duran.

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Pisces is a Creative Loafing Best of the Bay winner and won the Grand Jury Award from the annual Sushi Battle Tampa Bay this year. Chef James Keene heads up the menu at Pisces and has over 25 years of culinary industry experience including local restaurants such as Island Way Grill and SPY Global Cuisine.

For more information or to make a reservation contact Pisces Sushi and Global Bistro at (727) 216-6764.

New Year’s Eve 2017 Party @ Anise Global Gastrobar

Anise Global Gastrobar in Downtown Tampa, located at 777 North Ashley Drive across from Curtis Hixon Park, will host their annual New Year’s Eve Party from 9PM-2AM this Saturday, December 31st.

Guests can expect excellent craft cocktails from some of the best bartenders in town and gourmet bites. The event starts late enough to make plans earlier in the day before heading to the party.

Anise NYE Party

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Photo credit @antone2382 on Instagram

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Photo credit @vintranasianman on Instagram.

Tickets are on-sale and cost $60 per person for admission. Admission includes a welcome cocktail, buffet, drink specials, and a champagne toast. Tables are also available and vary from $180-$480. For more information contact Anise at (813) 225-4272.

Purchase tickets at: http://www.aniseglobal.com/tickets/

New Year’s Eve 2017 Dinner at Ox & Fields Restaurant

Celebrate the coming 2017 New Year in food paradise with Ox & Fields Restaurant + Bar on December 31st, 2016 from 4PM-11PM.  There will be two pricing options to choose from: Enjoy a 4-course dinner for $50 without beverages or upgrade to a wine pairing with your 4-course meal for $75.

Here is the menu for NYE 2017:


Amuse Bouche:
Chef Selection Small Bite

First Course: (Choice of)
“Steak and Eggs”: Ox-braised Short Ribs, Grits, Poached Egg, Natural Jus
Tuna Crudo: House-cured Vegetables, Sesame Crisp, Citrus-Shoyu Reduction
Cremini Caps: Tofu Stuffed Baby Portobello, Scallion Emulsion
Pairing: 99 Rosas Chardonnay-Viognier 2015

Second Course: (Choice of)
Fork and Knife Caesar: Romaine, Tomato Confit, Garlic Buerre Custini, House-made Caesar
The Fields Salad: Heirloom Tomato, Gem Greens, Cucumber Ribbon, Sesame Crisp, Scallion Dressing
Pairing: Michael Lynch Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Intermezzo:
Chef Select Cheeses and Spreads
Pairing: Rose-infused Cocktail

Third Course: (Choice of)
Crisp Skin Snapper: Orzo Ragout, Asparagus, Oyster Mushroom, Miso Fumet
Coffee Crusted Hanger: Potato Mousseline, Braised Greens, Raibow Carrots, Rosemary Jus
Roasted Squash Ravioli: House-made Spinach Ravioli, Kale, Squash Ragout, Parmesan
Pairing: (Choice of) – Cote du Rhone Grenache-Syrah 2015; Red Puro Malbec-Cabernet 2015

Fourth Course: Dessert
Chocolate Cake, Stout Ganache, Berry Jam, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Pairing: Bubbles

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Reservations can be made on OpenTable: http://www.opentable.com/r/ox-and-fields-reservations-tampa?restref=342361

Things To Do New Year’s Eve 2017 in Tampa Bay

Looking for something to do for New Year’s Eve 2017 in Tampa Bay? I have you covered!

Anise Global Gastrobar: Ring in 2017 with craft cocktails, a buffet, champagne toast, and more in Downtown Tampa with some of the best bartenders in town.

Mastry’s Brewing Co.: If craft beer is your scene head over to Mastry’s Brewing Co. on St. Pete Beach for their Gatsby Gala this NYE.

Ox & Fields Restaurant + Bar: Enjoy a 4-course meal available with optional wine pairings at The Ox this NYE. Menu items such as Tofu Stuffed Baby Portobello, Roasted Squash Ravioli, and Crisp Skin Snapper make the list of options.

Pisces Sushi & Global Bistro: This Sushi Battle Tampa Bay 2016 winner will serve sushi all night on NYE as well as other goodies such as live music and a champagne toast.

Snobachi Handcrafted Ice Cream: This new Thai Ice Cream Roll shop in Ybor City will have it’s Grand Opening on New Year’s Eve – enjoy discounts all day long as they celebrate.

Hotel Bar now serving Downtown Tampa

Downtown Tampa has a new spot now open called Hotel Bar. The bar is a classy establishment that serves libations created by famous hotels around the world and also gourmet food.

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During my visit I tried the Hotel Nacional made with cana brava, giffard peche, pineapple, and lime. The cocktail comes from Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana, Cuba. You’ll find other cocktails on the menu from countries including England, Japan, France and a nice selection from New Orleans.

The food menu includes lamb tartare, wagyu ragu, roasted lemon chicken, and prime rib as well as finger food such as deviled eggs and pita chips with various dips. Late night diners can enjoy a late night fare menu.

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The bar and restaurants fits in perfectly with the growing community around Downtown and offers a new spot to go out for a group outing or drinks after work. The ownership comes from Fly Bar & Restaurant who has been serving Downtown Tampa for years.

I am looking forward to big things to come from Hotel Bar and all of Downtown Tampa as our city keeps growing.

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Photos via Hotel Bar instagram

Name: Hotel Bar

Address: 200 N. TAMPA STREET, TAMPA FL 33602

Phone: (813) 533-2650

Hours: Open daily / 4PM-3AM

Website: http://hotelbartampa.com/