Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 Guide


Tampa Bay Beer Week 2018 is going to be one for the books. There are tons of events lined up to enjoy for the celebration of Tampa’s growing craft beer scene.

Per the website “The inaugural Tampa Bay Beer Week was established in 2012, and has since hosted thousands of events ranging from large-scale festivals to beer tastings, beer dinners and more”.

“The success of TBBW has been a major factor in the continuing growth of the Tampa Bay area craft beer community. Tampa Bay Beer Week begins on the first Saturday of March and ends 8 days later. It has become the premier Beer Week destination in the Southeast”.


This is my guide to the events going on and my recommendations:

Visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TampaBayBeerWeek/


Tampa Theatre WineFest 2018: Wine’s World This Week

Tampa’s historic Tampa Theatre located in Downtown Tampa will have their 16th Annual WineFest: Wine’s World 2018 event this week. The event is Tampa Theatre’s largest annual fundraiser.

The event will kick off on Thursday, March 1st with a screening of Wayne’ World at 7:30PM. On Friday, March 2nd guests will enjoy a special Wine Pairing presented by Mise En Place Chef Marty Blitz.  The stage of the Tampa Theatre will be expanded to host these special guests.

The main event will occur on Saturday, March 3rd with the two-tiered Wine Tasting. Guests can enjoy dozens of independent restaurants and wineries and bid on special auction items (note: the auction is already open for bidding).

Pre-bidding: http://www.bidpal.net/TAMPATHEATRE



The Premium Tasting is from 7:00PM-8:00PM and features exclusive wines for a limited audience. The Grand Tasting is from 8:00PM-10:00PM. The Premium Tasting is already SOLD OUT, but the Grand Tasting still has tickets available while supplies last.

Buy tickets to The Grand Tasting: https://tampatheatre.ticketforce.com/orderticketsarea.asp?p=1884&a=2&src=eventperformances

Participating vendors:

  • 1895 Bar – Kitchen – Market
  • American Social Tampa
  • Anise Global Gastrobar
  • Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pastaria
  • Bizou Brasserie
  • Breakthru
  • Cape Classics
  • Carne Chophouse
  • Ceviche
  • Cremaschi Wine Imports
  • Cru Cellars
  • Culinary Creations
  • CW’s Gin Joint
  • Daughters Wines
  • District Tavern
  • Dominio de Punctum
  • Duchessa Lia
  • Ella’s
  • Folio Wines
  • Hess Winery
  • J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc.
  • La Crema Winery
  • Little Donut House
  • Mettler Family Vineyards
  • Michael David Winery
  • Noble Wines
  • O Cocina
  • Oberan Wines
  • On Swann
  • Opici
  • Oxford Exchange
  • PRP Wines
  • RNDC
  • Si-am Thaimerican
  • Sokol Blosser Winery
  • Southern Brewing
  • Terroir Wine Group
  • Totara Wines
  • Villa Sandi

The event is sponsored by Mise en Place, APG, Bank of America, The Bank of Tampa, Casper’s Service Company, Creative Contractors Inc., DeBartolo Family Foundation, Florida Health Care News, Growman Brand, Gray Robinson Attorneys at Law, Harris & Hunt P.A., HCP Research Strategy Marketing, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Phelps Dunbar LLP, Quarles & Brady LLP, Nichols Geegan King of Raymond James, Shumaker, Southwest Airlines, Silva & Associates, Tampa Steel Erecting Co., TECO, and more.

Rocco’s Tacos Grand Opening Sunday, February 11th

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar will have its Grand Opening on Sunday, February 11th, 2018 at International Plaza & Bay Street starting at 7PM. Guests will be joined by Co-Owner, Rocco Mangel and Big Time Restaurant Group.

Guests can enjoy Rocco’s signature chips, guacamole and salsa complimentary, as well as live entertainment and a cash bar during the event.

When party goers hear the buzzword “Tequila!” echo through the restaurant, Rocco will take his spot on top of the bar with a bottle of tequila in hand, ready to pour complimentary shots for guests.

Rocco Mangel is the restaurateur behind Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar and has 7 restaurants in Florida and 1 in Brooklyn, New York. He is a New York native who began his start as as a busboy for Big City Tavern, another venture of Big Time Restaurant Group.

His first location in Florida was in West Palm Beach with co-ownership from Big Time Restaurant Group back in 2008. The brand plans another expansion to Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport this year. Additionally, you can find his “Rocco’s Spice” in the spice aisle of all Publix Super Markets.

Guests should regularly expect upbeat music, a spirited happy hour, Taco & Tequila Tuesday, and Bottomless Brunch on the weekend at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar.

Over 300 varieties of tequila will be on the menu and can be enjoyed alone or mixed in their signature margaritas.

Dinner service in Tampa begins Monday, February 12th and lunch service will begin on Monday, February 19th.

Winter Whiskeyfest this Friday, February 9th, 2018

Do you love whiskey? I know I do. Winter Whiskeyfest is happening this Friday, February 9th, 2018 from 6PM to 9PM. The event is presented by I Love The Burg. It will take place at La Florida above Red Mesa in Downtown St. Petersburg (128 3rd Street South St. Petersburg, FL 33701).

Tickets are limited and there are only 250 tickets available. Tickets cost $75 per person for admission.

Use discount code CARLOSDRINKS for $10 OFF until February 7th.

Whiskey glasses.

This includes entry to the event, over 12 different whiskey brands to taste, a commemorative tasting glass, light bites such as steak crostinis and ceviche, as well as live entertainment by DJ Austen Van Der Bleek.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit METRO to support their LGBT, Transgender, and Youth programs.

Participating distillers:

  • Belle Meade Bourbon
  • Coopers Craft
  • Old Forester Signature 100
  • Old Forester Statesman
  • Jack Daniels
  • Michters
  • Whistle Pig
  • High West
  • Kentucky Owl
  • Hillbilly
  • Elijah Craig Small Batch
  • Pikesville Rye
  • Larceny
  • Evan Williams Single Barrel
  • Deanston
  • Bunnahabhain
  • Ledaig
  • Breaker Bourbon Whisky
  • Kozuba Distillery
  • Horse Soldier Bourbon
  • Amador
  • Kentucky Peerless Distilling

Buy tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/winter-whiskeyfest-tickets-41520523002

Gasparilla Party @ The Drynk Soho – 1/27

The Drynk Soho will have a Gasparilla party from 4PM-3AM on Saturday, January 27th, 2018. The event will be hosted by Floribama Shore’s Gus Symrnios.

The Drynk is located at 302 South Howard Avenue, Tampa, FL 33606.

EHmp0A2zTKCOxL8zKYTD_Gasparilla at The Drynk

Tickets are now on-sale and are currently at $15 for General Admission. The event is presented by The Black Heart Group.

Buy tickets: https://www.tablelist.com/e/gasparilla-2018-day-party-at-the-drynk-soho-d68b062de86254f4

Gasparilla Weekend 2018 @ American Social Tampa – 1/27

One of Tampa’s newest hotspots on Harbour Island, American Social, is hosting an event filled with Gasparilla festivities on Saturday, January 27th, 2018 from 10AM-4PM.

The event is for ages 21+ and no refunds will be given.

There is a limited amount of tickets available. Tickets cost $100 and includes:

  • A waterfront view of Tampa Bay where all the Gasparilla action will be happening
  • Open Bar from 10AM-Noon
  • Choice of 1 Food Item from food tents – options include hamburger, hot dog, chicken sandwich, or mac and cheese
  • $3 16 oz. Coors Light beer and $5 Tito’s vodka mixed drinks

Buy tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/gasparilla-invasion-party-tickets-41800791292

Gasparilla Block Party @ WaterWorks Bar & Grill

Celebrate Gasparilla at WaterWorks Bar & Grill on the Riverwalk across from the Straz Center on Saturday, January 27th, 2018 from 8PM-Midnight in the Riverwalk Room. WaterWorks Bar & Grill is located at The Barrymore Hotel (111 West Fortune Street Tampa, Florida 33602).

According to the event page there will be one FREE shot for everyone. Complimentary chips & salsa for everyone and $6 Pirate Beers and Rum Drinks. The Mermaids from Sugar Island Rum will be there from 9:30PM-11:30PM.

Event name: Gasparilla Block Party

Venue: WaterWorks Bar & Grill – The Barrymore Hotel

Date & Time: Saturday, January 27th, 8PM-Midnight

Address: 111 West Fortune Street Tampa, Florida 33602

Cost: FREE to Attend, Food & Drinks for-sale

Website: http://www.waterworksbarandgrill.com/

Indie Flea Market launches at Armature Works – 1/21

The popular Indie Flea Market will expand to Armature Works on Sunday, January 21st, 2018 from 11AM-3PM.

The event will be recurring every 3rd Sunday of the month. Vendors will assemble at the upcoming food hall and event center to sell “handmade wares, upcycled home goods, vintage treasuries, artisanal foods, flowers and cacti…to name a few things”.

Hundreds of people regularly attend this event so it is great that they are expanding in size.

The event is a dream come true for Tampa’s growing hipster-scene that started in Ybor City and Seminole Heights, and has now shifted into Tampa Heights.

Still no concrete word on when Armature Works (originally slated for a September 2016 opening) will open fully to the public, but it has to be close if the posts online are any indication.

Address: 1910 N Ola Ave, Tampa, FL 33602

Facebook RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/events/176520142952144/

Follow Indie Flea on Instagram: @IndieFlea

Whatever Pops sells quality grilled cheese sandwiches

I haven’t had a chance to stop in at Whatever Pops in Seminole Heights yet.

However – I just tried their grilled cheese for the first time today at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa located at 600 North Ashley Drive, which is running for the next 7 weeks and features ice skating, vendors, and food from vendors like Whatever Pops.

The grilled cheese I had was phenomenal. Excellent mix of cheeses and sourdough bread. Gooey and yet crispy at the same time. Every last bite. Maybe one of the better grilled cheese sandwiches I have enjoyed in Tampa. Serving at $6 is a reasonable price for a specialized market as well.

The order came out quickly as well.

The only thing I was sad about was that they ran out of tomato soup. That will most certainly be a reason to return in the near future though.

The attendant at the stand told me sales in Seminole Heights are down 40% ever since the Seminole Heights Serial Killer made the news. People from all over town are coming over to try and support, but she said regardless sales are still down and fall during the night at levels that are hurting business.

Please keep the local Seminole Heights businesses in mind if you’re trying to pick a place to eat or shop at. Maybe consider ordering some catering or delivery from them if you’re not able to stop by.

Seminole Heights is one of the reasons our local food scene in Tampa has grown over the years and it would be a shame if those businesses were to close because of something completely beyond their control.

Visit Whatever Pops in Seminole Heights at 5127 North Florida Avenue Tampa, FL 33603. Reach them at (813) 559-7677.

Busch Gardens Christmas Town now open

This is a sponsored post for Busch Gardens about their annual Christmas Town event. I visited the theme park with media passes to experience the event for a first-hand account. Opinions are my own and do not reflect those of Busch Gardens.

Thanksgiving has passed and the holiday season has finally started. Busch Gardens is now running their annual Christmas Town event from now until January 6th. January 1st to January 6th will have a new Three Kings Day Celebration.

See a calendar with the schedule for Christmas Town: http://bit.ly/2jZURf9

The winter event features tons of photo opportunities for families, couples, and friends.

You’ll find Christmas characters spread throughout the theme park including Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and others. The park penguins are on-display and there is also a Sing-A-Long Express Train running with holiday songs playing on-board.

Shows and musical events include Christmas on Ice, Carols of the Bells, and the Holiday Hills Brass Band. The Christmas on Ice show is quite popular and actually fills to capacity so I would recommend showing up a little before the showtime to make sure you get a seat.

Busch Gardens added more food items to the menu including mini doughnuts and a number of other specialty items.

The prices vary but each thing will probably run you anywhere from $4-$10. They are selling sampler packs and if you’re planning to hit a number of booths, it might be an economical option for you and your group. The food stands and theme park restaurants are also open with some specialized items added.

I think a cool addition to think about for the future might be to add a food truck park with snow around it or maybe an ice bar with adult beverages.

The theme park rides are also open which leaves a ton of things to do. My favorite was the Cheetah Hunt which zooms past many of the lights and Christmas trees as pictured above.

I would recommend showing up earlier so you can have time to get on rides and also enjoy all the Christmas festivities before the theme park closes. We did enjoy a ride or two during our visit but chose to spend more of our time looking at the lights and enjoying the holiday additions.

The lights have really become more impressive in the last few years and it will certainly give you a piece of the holiday spirit. I loved the Christmas trees and displays. This unusually chilly weather lately will also enhance it. I recommend visiting Busch Gardens Christmas Town if you’re looking for a special night out with the family, a date, or a night with some friends.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Christmas Town Santa

Christmas Town is included with Busch Gardens admissions tickets.

For a limited time, guests can pay for a day and get two parks now through 2018 FREE. Guests can enjoy unlimited admission to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay through Dec. 31, 2018 and to Adventure Island through the 2018 season.

For more information visit Busch Gardens online at: http://buschgardens.com/tampa/events/christmas-town/