Expert Tips


Best Nightlife in St. Petersburg / Clearwater

10Best 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 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. 

A fairly recent addition to the scene and well worth visiting, is Flûte & Dram, St Petersburg's first champagne, caviar and whiskey bar.

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 a 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 your energy level is!




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

This self-styled "adult playground" offers an array of snacks, pizzas, wings, salads and "hand-helds" topped off, of course by frosty drinks, draft beers and wine. When you're through fortifying yourself with all of the above, try your hand at a series of games in this active hangout known for being part sports-bar and part arcade. Challenge yourself with air hockey, skee ball, pinball and a host of vintage video games, guaranteed to bring on your nostalgia 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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It offers a new "twist" to a night out. Where else can you get light bites and play a slew of games?

Michelle's expert tip: If the noise level gets to you, step outside and try some of the games located there.

Read more about Park & Rec →

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!

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's a one-of-a-kind place and will afford you a very memorable experience.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're there on Wednesday night, they have Beer Pong Tournaments (sign-up at 10 pm) and drink specials starting at 8 p.m.

Read more about The One Night Stand →

St. Petersburg
Photo courtesy of Che

Tucked beneath the popular Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant in downtown St Petersburg and opened in 2016, Che is a popular addition 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 popular 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 and a tropical flair. The vibe here is definitely sophisticated and chic.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's sophisticated and chic and adds an appealing international flavor to downtown St Petersburg.

Michelle's expert tip: For a new take on an old favorite, try the Old Cuban, a re-imagined mojito made with five-year-old Brugal Anejo rum.

Read more about Che →

St. Petersburg
Ringside Cafe
Photo courtesy of Ringside Cafe

Drawing its name from its former status as an amateur boxing center in downtown St. Petersburg, Ringside Café is tucked into a 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 don't 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!

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Ringside Cafe offers a classic American bar feel with a cool live music scene.

Michelle's expert tip: Friday and Saturday nights are the most popular, drawing the bigger acts and larger crowds, but you'll find great music every night.

Read more about Ringside Cafe →

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 it doesn't matter as you will definitely enjoy your visit. 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." Daily specials are featured.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: A great bar to catch a soccer game along with live music and solo acts, MacDinton's is a must-visit Irish pub.

Michelle's expert tip: Check out their daily specials. You're sure to find something to please your palate at a discounted price.

Read more about MacDinton's Irish Pub →

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 Creme de Violette). If beverage 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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: With its impressive list of both throwback cocktails and new libations, this speakeasy is a hipster's dream.

Michelle's expert tip: If you can't find a drink you like, the capable staff will craft a signature cocktail just for you.

Read more about The Mandarin Hide →

St. Petersburg
Flûte & Dram
Photo courtesy of Flute & Dram

From newbies to experts, fans of champagne and caviar are sure to love this upscale bar, which opened in April 2018. Touted as St Petersburg's first champagne, caviar and whiskey bar, it houses the largest selection of champagne and spirits in the area. The chic décor and convivial staff set the stage for tasty small plates and tapas complimented by a wide selection of domestic and international caviar. The champagne selection ranges from moderately priced to the most expensive selection in the area but can be purchased by the glass or by "flights," a sampling of three, two-oz pourings. The willingness of staff to "educate" guests on the fine details of both champagne and caviar, add to the unique appeal of this upscale bar.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's the only champagne and caviar in the area and offers an opportunity to learn more about this sophisticated combo.

Michelle's expert tip: If you're a "newbie," ask for "flights" of champagne so that you can sample small sips to decide what you pleases your palate.

Read more about Flûte & Dram →

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

What started as "Central Cigars," in the late 1990s (where patrons could enjoy cigars from the area's large selection) and later, "The Havana Room," 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 the 40s and 50s chic. A long list of specialty and classic drinks and dim lighting pave 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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The vibe is retro-chic and it's a great way to spend an evening.

Michelle's expert tip: Don't be surprised to find some cigar-smoking patrons while you're there. It did start after all, as a cigar bar!

Read more about Ruby's Elixir →

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 high top tables or living room seating and fire pits along with glass railings offering sweeping views of the area. A diverse menu complimented by frosty signature cocktails and a large wine and beer selection makes for a perfect evening. 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," while sipping on long, tall cold drinks such as the legendary "Birchwood Old Fashioned" or the "Shameless," made with Stoli Grapefruit Crush, tonic, cherry juice, lime juice and cucumber.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: You can't beat the combination of amazing views and swanky cocktails.

Michelle's expert tip: Every Wednesday is "Ladies Night," with specially priced Frose (frozen Rose) from 7 -10 p.m.

Read more about The Canopy →

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 include the Great Gouda Mac and Lil (Blended) Burgers. "Tasting Tuesdays" are popular and showcase new blends, while live music and test kitchen days, free to guests, offer yet more fun.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: It's the "coolest" place in town and a favorite with locals and visitors alike.

Michelle's expert tip: If you like something different, try Smoke Stack. Made with Rye Whiskey, maple syrup and bitters, it's smoked with a piece of a whiskey barrel.

Read more about Copper Shaker →


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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