Tampa Bars, Pubs: 10Best Bar, Pub Reviews

Tampa has a lively bar scene, so if your idea of fun includes enjoying a couple drinks while socializing with friends, there is a perfect spot waiting for you here. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, 10 Best has put together a list of some of the most popular spots for hanging out and kicking back.

Several spots on the list have been selected for those who wish to enjoy Tampa’s outdoor lifestyle, such as the Sail Plaza. Hands down the best outside bar for enjoying spectacular views of the downtown waterways. This bar is also located on Tampa’s popular and scenic Riverwalk.

From upscale and sophisticated options such as downtown’s swanky CW’s Gin Joint, to down-to-earth dive bars such as SoHo’s Tiny Tap Tavern with 25 cent pool, there are a full range of options to choose from. Whatever you’re looking for, you are sure to find your perfect watering hole.

Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Nestled in the heart of downtown, The Sail Plaza is a 360 degree, outdoor bar and restaurant located right on the waterfront. Recently renovated, the Plaza now features more outdoor seating and the culinary delights of Ray’s Fish Camp. Convenient to downtown amenities such as the Tampa Bay History Center, the Tampa Convention Center, and Amalie Arena, the Sail Pavilion often hosts locals and tourists on their way to or from downtown activities. Also located along the Tampa Riverwalk, many walkers, bikers and joggers will stop for a cold drink and a bite to eat as they pass by. You can even visit by boat as there is public docking space right in front.

Recommended for Bars because: Located at the crossroads of downtown Tampa, the Sail Plaza is the perfect meeting spot to enjoy beautiful weather and water views.

Skye’s expert tip: There is live music featuring local talent Fridays through Sundays.

Read more about The Sail Plaza →

Gaspar's Grotto

Gaspar’s Grotto is a popular bar and restaurant located in Tampa’s Ybor City historic neighborhood. Perfect for visitor’s who have not had the opportunity to experience the annual Gasparilla Celebration, Gaspar’s celebrates the famous pirate invasion all year long and everyone gets to party like a pirate. Three large bar areas offer patrons options for seating and entertainment and there is always something going on. If you get hungry, Gaspar’s offers some very decent bar grub from Tampa favorites like the Cuban sandwich and Devil Crab to the hottest hot wings in the city.

Recommended for Bars because: Argh mateys! Gaspar’s Grotto is a hangout for pirates and a great place to go for your grog.

Skye’s expert tip: Sunday brunch is fit for a hung-over pirate with a full buffet, unlimited mimosas and a Bloody Mary bar.

Read more about Gaspar’s Grotto →

Tiny Tap Tavern

Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Converted from a gas station in 1951, Tiny Tap has been a cherished Tampa favorite for decades. This tried-and-true dive bar’s friendly clientele and cheap prices make it a refreshing respite from its upscale SoHo surroundings. Friendly, fun-loving bartenders pop PBR cans (their specialty) as patrons of all stripes challenge one another to hardcore pool competitions while belting out jukebox classics. The staff refers to the bar as “Tiny Trap” in honor of the many loyal regulars, but even for newbies, Tiny Tap delivers big-time. You might enter as a stranger, but you will leave as a new friend. This is a beer and cash only establishment.

Recommended for Bars because: Tampa’s Tiny Tap Tavern is a friendly dive bar and long-time favorite of locals that features cheap beer and pool (only 25 cents).

Skye’s expert tip: Patrons are part of the family so if you want a jug of beer, you’ll have to go to the freezer yourself and bring the bartender an empty pitcher.

Read more about Tiny Tap Tavern →

Hattricks Tavern

Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Hattricks Tavern is one of Tampa’s most popular sports bars and restaurants. Located just blocks from Amalie Arena, this is the perfect place for hockey fans to stop for a drink and a meal before or after a game. The historic brick building is one of Tampa’s few and the ambiance is casual and fun. Fans will enjoy the handmade oak bar, a multitude of TVs, and walls adorned with tons of hockey memorabilia. The food is pretty good too. The menu features most of the standard bar fare but also offers a good selection of specialty sandwiches and comfort food entrees. The prices are reasonable, especially for a downtown location.

Recommended for Bars because: A favorite of local hockey fans and a mainstay of downtown nightlife, Hattricks Tavern is located just blocks from Tampa Bay Lightning home ice.

Skye’s expert tip: Try their “Shake and Bake” wings, a local favorite, made by “shaking” the wings in house-made sauces before “baking” them in the oven.

Read more about Hattricks Tavern →

The Hub

Excuse the pun, but this classic dive has been the “hub” of Tampa’s drinking scene since 1949. While a lot has changed since the early days when fancy clothes were worn and local judges were regulars, a lot has stayed the same. Strictly for the over 21 crowd, the Hub is famous for their potent mixed drinks and they don’t serve bottom shelf liquor. For entertainment they have a jukebox lineup that would make Bob Seger beam with pride, and live bands appear periodically featuring mostly local, independent acts. You never know who you might run into here, and almost anyone you meet in Tampa will have a story about their visits to the Hub Bar.

Recommended for Bars because: The Hub Bar is a downtown Tampa landmark and a must visit for dive bar aficionados.

Skye’s expert tip: If you’ve looking for live music, check their website as dates and times for events vary.

Read more about The Hub →

Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club

Ciro’s is a 1920’s style speakeasy, and they take their prohibition-era theme very seriously. In addition to the discrete entrance that is void of external signage or advertising, you must call ahead to get the password to gain admittance. Once inside you are greeted by staff dressed for a 1920’s night out who, for the most part, stay in character throughout the evening. As is befitting, specialty cocktails are their specialty with expert barkeeps creating mostly original concoctions that are both delicious and slightly dangerous. Their small but intriguing menu offers a variety of succulent entrees and some interesting snack foods like their black truffle popcorn.

Recommended for Bars because: Ciro’s Speakeasy is famous as the nexus of Tampa’s flourishing craft cocktail scene.

Skye’s expert tip: Can be hard to find – hint: the entrance is around the back of a high-rise condo building.

Read more about Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club →

Rock Brothers Brewery & The Attic

Downstairs, Rock Brothers in Tampa’s historic Ybor City is a craft brewery, full-service bar and tasting room with house-made beers on tap and a full menu of craft cocktails. Upstairs is the Attic, a live music venue that has quickly gained popularity for the quality of the music and the comfortable intimacy of the space. Built on the unique combination of music and craft beer, Rock Brothers was formed to work with bands to create beer recipes and brands reflective of their music. Their first brand was created in partnership with local band “Have Gun Will Travel” and won a National Championship at the United States Beer Tasting Championship (USBTC). Following a successful incubation period at Tampa’s famous Cigar City Brewing, Rock Brothers moved into their new space and haven’t looked back.

Recommended for Bars because: Rock Brothers is a trending spot in Ybor City known for its comfortable atmosphere, quirky beers, and well-craft cocktails.

Skye’s expert tip: While cocktails are unavailable upstairs in the Attic, patrons can order online and have them delivered from the downstairs.

Read more about Rock Brothers Brewery & The Attic →

CW's Gin Joint

CW’s Gin Joint is a popular cocktail bar located in the heart of downtown Tampa. Named for proprietor Carolyn Wilson, the ambiance of the bar is Jazz Age cool, featuring a multitude of sofas and chandeliers, and successfully exuding the charm and grace of a bygone era. This is a sophisticated venue with a focus on understated quality that is reflected in the extensive selection of refined spirits and crafted cocktails. While heaven for a serious connoisseur, there are also plenty of more accessible drinks options for the more casual imbiber. To compliment the carefully curated beverage list is a carefully curated menu that is equally upscale and refined with an eclectic mixture of high-brow pub grub and traditional favorites.

Recommended for Bars because: An instant downtown favorite, CW’s Gin Joint has quickly risen to the top of Tampa’s growing number of sophisticated cocktail bars.

Skye’s expert tip: Use their intriguing and fun Gin Matrix to customize your G&T to suit just your taste.

Read more about CW’s Gin Joint →

Four Green Fields

Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers

Named after Ireland’s four provinces, this popular neighborhood pub recently added a location in Tampa’s booming Channelside neighborhood. While the original thatched cottage in Hyde Park has been torn down, they have continued the tradition by painting a replica on their new building which was also built to house their brewery and new Kinnitty Castle Irish Whiskey distillery. Inside, you’ll feel that you’ve been transported to the Emerald Isle, surrounded by pints of Guinness and the same historic wood bar and memorabilia from the original location. The menu also features the same UK favorites that patrons love, including Guiness stew, and Shepherd’s Pie, although now served from a food truck out front. On the weekends, locals and visitors alike flock to hear authentic Irish music and drink hearty brews. There’s also a large outdoor patio where there’s always a laid-back gathering.

Recommended for Bars because: Four Green Fields is a Tampa landmark that was named one of the top 10 Irish Pubs in the world by Dublin’s “Ireland” magazine.

Skye’s expert tip: If you can’t get to Channelside, there’s also a location downtown at Curtis Hixon Park. Just look for the thatched roof!

Read more about Four Green Fields →

Cigar City Brewing Spruce Street Brewery & Tap Room

The undisputed leader among Tampa’s craft breweries, Cigar City Brewing prides itself on creating nationally prized craft brews on an intimate scale. There is a large, comfortable tasting room, perfect for checking out what’s on tap and a great place to gather with friends. This brewery focuses on the art of craft brewing and offers a diverse selection of highly-rated brews, seasonal ales and stouts. Accompany your choice of beer with a selection from their menu that features Tampa-inspired favorites along with suggested beer pairings. There is also an on-site package and merchandise store where you can get your favorite beer to go and grab a souvenir tee.

Recommended for Bars because: Cigar City’s large, comfortable tasting room is a great place to experience their nationally acclaimed craft brews.

Skye’s expert tip: Cigar City is best known for their award-winning beers; Jai Alai IPA, Maduro Brown Ale, and Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout.

Read more about Cigar City Brewing Spruce Street Brewery & Tap Room →

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