From authentic Irish pubs to a girls-gone-wild beach spot to a country club with a mechanical bull in Tampa, here are 10 bars worth visitingDrinking destinations
There are many perks to imbibing at the neighborhood pub. Mainly, the short walk or cheap cab ride home. But sometimes it’s nice to do your drinking somewhere special, surrounded by a fresh set of faces. Here’s a highly subjective tally of 10 bars worth a designated driver or, better yet, booking a room at a nearby hotel.
9000 W. Gulf Blvd, Sunset Beach, (727) 360-4993; caddysotb.comCaddy's on the Beach
It’s pretty much non-stop-spring-break-style partying at Caddy’s, located on its own private beach so you can walk right up to the water while toting that rum runner. The food is serviceable and watching the sunset, especially form the second floor deck, is amazing; but the main reason people frequent Caddy’s is to see and be seen wearing next to nothing – and to legally drink right on the beach.
145 E. Marion Ave, Punta Gorda; 916-9115; celticray.netCeltic Ray
This genuine Irish “public house” in downtown Punta Gorda opened in 1997 and holds the distinction of being the first business in the city to reopen after Hurricane Charley battered Charlotte County in 2004. I know, because I was there, drinking Guinness after filing a story about how this beautiful pub had survived despite sunlight pouring in from where a roof once stood. In addition to a full liquor bar teeming with Emerald Isle libations, Kevin Doyle’s establishment serves traditional Irish pub favorites made from fresh ingredients and family recipes.
3924 West Spruce St., Tampa, (813) 348-6363; cigarcitybrewing.comCigar City Tasting Room
For the craft beer crowd, bars don’t get any better than this one in Tampa. Cigar City Tasting Room is where the state’s most venerable brewery offers all of its award-winning beers such as Jai Alai, Maduro and Hotter Than Helles; plus a couple of guest taps, too. Grab a pint, some pub grub – they just started serving food and I’m told the pressed Cuban is killer – and maybe a growler for the road.
3322 U.S. 301, Tampa; (813) 987-2855; dallasbull.comDallas Bull
Welcome to honky tonk heaven. Introduced to Tampa in 1979, and proudly boasting the title of “the largest honky-tonk east of the Mississippi,” the Dallas Bull features 99 restroom stalls, 10 full-liquor bars, six pool tables, three dart boards, two dance floors and a mechanical bull. Over the years its hosted performances by country stars like Luke Bryan, Eric Church, John Anderson and Tracy Byrd.
1320 Central Ave, St Petersburg, (727) 822-4562; fergssportsbar.comFerg’s Sports Bar and Grill
Located in the shadow of Tropicana Field, Ferg’s is the top spot for Tampa Bay Rays pre and post-game partying. With its 70-plus TVs, full-liquor bar, tasty wings, loud music and enough space to almost accommodate the average crowd attending Rays games these days, there’s always fun to be had at Ferg’s.
205 W. Platt St, Tampa; (813) 254-4444; fourgreenfields.comFour Green Fields
Proudly billing itself as "America's only authentic thatched roof pub," Four Green Fields lives up to its ultra-genuine rep with no TVs, the best in Irish booze and beer, excellently tradition Irish pub dishes and performances over the years by Irish music greats such as Tommy Makem, The Prodigals and Sinead O'Connor. Plus, a large percentage of the outstanding staff is from Ireland and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams has frequented Four Green Fields.
719 N Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 229-1553; thehubbartampa.comThe Hub
The most legendary dive bar in all of Tampa Bay, this downtown drinking den that has been around since 1946 is where the homeless and hipsters, the professionals and the paupers come to enjoy famously strong cocktails and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon
1801 W. Platt St, Tampa; (813) 254-2233; thehydeparkcafe.comHyde Park Cafe
Since the mid-1990s, Hyde Park Café has been one of the hottest nightspots in Tampa with Tuesdays being the big event at the bar/nightclub frequented by everyone from Michael Jordan to Derek Jeter and former “American Idol” contestant Jessica Sierra, who hurled a glass at a customer while at Hyde Park Cafe, which led to a night in jail.
1313 E. 8th Ave, Tampa; (813) 248-4969; newworldbrewery.netNew World Brewery
This fabulously funky, indoor/outdoor oasis in Ybor City features an outstanding craft beer selection, the best hand-picked jukebox in the region (plus it’s free), live music most weekend nights as well as terrific pizza and startling good barbecue.
501 5th Ave NE, St Petersburg; (727) 894-1000; marriott.comRenaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club
Even if you’re not staying at the gorgeous, historic (some say haunted) Vinoy near the waterfront in downtown St. Petersburg, you can still enjoy a marvelous creation like a mojito from the Veranda Bar or luxurious libations and first-rate food at Alfresco.
10 bars worth a drive
/ Wednesday, July 31, 2013