Expert Tips


10 Best Bars and Nightlife Spots in the St. Petersburg Area

If you’re ready for a night out in St Petersburg/Clearwater, you’ll find plenty of options in this area with choices ranging from laid-back beach bars, sophisticated restaurants, roof-top bistros and high-energy clubs.

One of the newest – and most hip – kids-on-the-block of fun places is the Copper Shaker, where you’ll discover frosty drinks complemented by an eclectic menu in a hip atmosphere. 

Feel like getting in touch with your Irish side? Then, MacDinton’s Irish Pub was made with you in mind. For a truly unique experience, add a ride on a mechanical bull to your line-dancing experience at One Night Stand.

If you’re looking for something with a Latin flair, head on over to Che with its sultry atmosphere and sexy drinks. 

Ruby’s Elixir treats you to retro-chic and a throwback to the 40s and 50s with classic drinks such as the Old-Fashioned, paving the way for top-notch  musical evening with jazz, blues and more. 

The choices are many – it just depends on the mood you happen to be in and what your energy level is!




St. Petersburg
Park & Rec
Photo courtesy of Park & Rec

If you'd like to throw some competition into your evening out, think about visiting Park & Rec. After working up an appetite with a variety of snacks, pizzas, wings, salads and "hand-helds" topped off - of course - by frosty drinks, draft beers and wine, try your hand at a series of games. This active hangout, known as part sports bar, part arcade is enhanced by live music. Try your hand at air hockey, skee ball, pin ball and a host of vintage video games, guaranteed to touch your nostalgic side with such classics as Mortal Kombat, Galaga and more. For a real competitive thrill sign up for giant beer pong. If the noise level becomes too loud, there are a slew of outdoor games offering a break.


If you're in the mood for some glitz and glamour, check out Tryst Gastro Lounge on downtown St. Petersburg's Beach Drive. It's the place to see and be seen, offering a popular hotspot with elegant outdoor seating and a bar that opens out onto the patio. Choose from a mix of eclectic food, fine wines and spirits – all of which are aimed at pleasing any palate. Signature cocktails include house favorites like The Winter Bramble (a fragrant blend of muddled blackberries and mint with a splash of lemon juice,topped with Cognac and Champagne), the Amatista (muddled lime, sage, cucumber, jalapeno, blueberry, Don Julio, Mathilde and crème de casis), the Cosmic Blush (Tito's Grand Marnier, squeezed and tossed lime, Pama, and Black Rock candy stick) and more.

St. Petersburg
The One Night Stand
Photo courtesy of One Night Stand

Touted as "the only country bar" in downtown St Petersburg, One Night Stand is indeed a novelty - as is their motto: "The best one-night stand you'll ever have." The mechanical bull named "Moustache" is sure to give you the ride of your life, while the music will get your country soul stirring and the group-line dancing will let you kick up your heels with a definite Western flair. After all, where else in St Petersburg would you find a place like this? Even if you're not a true fan of country music, this place offers a diverse - and entertaining option for a night out.The food is pretty good, too!

St. Petersburg
Photo courtesy of Che

Tucked beneath the popular Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant in downtown St Petersburg and opened in 2016, Che is one of the newest additions to the city's "hot" nightspots. The underground lounge highlights live music and local bands with a definite Latin flair, five nights a week. Dimly lit by the soft glow of hanging red lights, the new club showcases Flamenco dancing and Spanish guitar music along with a full roster of designer cocktails,craft beers and other refreshing drinks. The cocktail menu is a sensation and boasts a variety of Latin favorites while showcasing both history with a tropical flair. The vibe here is definitely sophisticated - and chic.

St. Petersburg
Ringside Cafe
Photo courtesy of Ringside Cafe

Drawing its name from it former status as an amateur boxing center in downtown St. Petersburg, Ringside Café is tucked into an historic 1912 building, once the site of Hotel Detroit. Today, this American classic showcases eclectic blues, rock, funk, reggae and pop music from the Tampa Bay Area and beyond, guaranteed to please all ages. The décor highlights simple pleasures with boxing photos lining the walls and a large two-level space where you can look down on the dance floor below or just kick back, grab a drink and enjoy the atmosphere. They no longer serve food, but you can bring your own or go next door to a popular pizza place.They won't mind if you bring it back with you!

MacDinton's Irish Pub
Photo courtesy of MacDinton's

Three Irishmen got together and a nighttime sensation was born! You don't have to be Irish to go to MacDinton's Pub, but you'll definitely enjoy it. You'll find DJs, live bands and some solo acts seven nights a week in this lively pub. Good Irish grub - with a twist, and drink specialties every night are an added bonus. A huge stage showcases entertainers, while an ample dance floor beckons. Located in downtown St. Petersburg in the same complex as Jannus Live it's fun year-round, but - celebrating St. Patrick's Day here is a "must." Happy hour specials run from 4 to 7 p.m. daily.

The Mandarin Hide
Photo courtesy of The Mandarin Hide

With a motto like, "Pouring our spirits to raise yours," there can be no doubt that this speakeasy-style lounge aims to please, boasting an impressive cocktail menu complemented by vintage décor resulting in a hip and happening scene. In addition to craft beers and a selection of tasty wines, you'll find Prohibition Era cocktails such as Tito's Blind Pig (Tito's Vodka, jalapeño, lime, cucumber and soda) the Sidecar (Hennessy VS Cognac, Cointreau and fresh lemon) or the blue-tinted Aviation (Gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice and two sweeteners – Luxardo maraschino liqueur and Crème be Violette). If menu offerings don't "grab" you, the bartender will happily whip up a signature concoction just for you. Most nights you'll find live music or a DJ to add to the merriment.

St. Petersburg
Ruby's Elixir
Photo courtesy of Ruby's Elixir

What started as the Havana Room (where patrons could enjoy cigars from the area's large selection) in the late 1990s has morphed into a vintage lounge - known to locals simply as "Ruby's" - one of the few venues in the area showcasing live music seven days a week. The vibe is definitely retro peppered with a feeling of 40s and 50s chic, featuring classic drinks such as the Old Fashioned and dim lighting paving the way for top-notch jazz, blues and soul - with an occasional appearance by an eclectic band. Many patrons appreciate the added draw of being able to access the cigar bar while they're there.

The Canopy
Photo courtesy of The Canopy

Perched atop the boutique 1924 Spanish mission-style Birchwood Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, the roof-top Canopy offers sweeping views to go with a diverse menu enhanced by frosty signature cocktails and a large wine and beer selection. The vibe is definitely SoBe (South Beach) with posh indoor or cozy outdoor seating on an ample deck with luxurious private cabanas. Sample a variety of bar bites, burgers, tacos, nachos, fish and chips and more as well as assorted "small plates." Sip on long, tall cold drinks such as the legendary Birchwood Old Fashioned. Another favorite is the Hemingway Daiquiri, made with Flor de Cana rum, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, fresh lime and grapefruit with a cherry garnish.

St. Petersburg
Copper Shaker
Photo courtesy of Copper Shaker

Opened in 2017, this trendy cocktail lounge shakes up handmade contemporary, as well as traditional craft cocktails in an atmosphere whose décor includes bourbon barrel planks, copper splashes and an expansive granite-topped bar. The cocktail menu is eclectic, fun and "approachable." You'll also find an extensive whiskey list along with a variety of craft beers and barrel-aged spirits. Their rotating dining menu features a blend of locally sourced ingredients and tasty food with high-end tapas along with sharing plates with "seasonal influences." Favorites are the Mac and Cheese and Charcuterie Board. Tasting events take place most Tuesdays, Happy Hour is weekdays, Wednesdays features live music and a DJ takes over on the weekend.


Meet Michelle da Silva Richmond

Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. 

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