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Explore Tampa's Lively Bar Scene to Find the Perfect Hangouts



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. 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.


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The Sail Plaza
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 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 →


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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 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 in order to gain admittance. Once inside you are greeting 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 really 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 →


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Seminole Heights
Red Star Rock Bar
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Red Star Rock Bar is located in Tampa's trendy Seminole Heights neighborhood. Occupying a small narrow storefront on Florida Avenue, what it lacks in size inside, it makes up for with an outdoor patio and stage area outside. The decor is distinctly rock and roll with plenty of red and black accented with leopard print and images of rock legends on the wall. Their calendar is packed with events every day of the week and live local bands play almost every Friday and Saturday beginning at 8pm. While there is no kitchen, Red Star offers a rotating schedule of some of Tampa's best food trucks.

Recommended for Bars because: Red Star is a friendly bar in a trendy neighborhood with a focus on old school rock and roll.

Skye's expert tip: If you're looking for something different, visit on Monday for their Vagabond Vita event!

Read more about Red Star Rock Bar →


Four Green Fields
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


Named after Ireland's four provinces, this cozy, neighborhood pub is housed in a thatched-roof cottage amid a grove of palm trees. Once inside, surrounded by pints of Guinness and lilting accents, you'll feel that you've been transported to the Emerald Isle. The interior is quaint with dark wood and whitewashed walls covered with Irish memorabilia. The lunch crowds from downtown's business district are somewhat sophisticated; they munch on salads, sandwiches, Gaelic stew, and other UK favorites. In the evenings, though, the patrons are younger, and they flock to hear authentic Irish music and drink hearty brews. There's space to sit outside on the front porch and on the back deck where there's always a laid-back gathering.

Recommended for Bars because: Tampa's Four Green Fields was named one of the top 10 Irish Pubs in the world by Dublin's "Ireland" magazine.

Skye's expert tip: The pub grub here is very good. Try the fish and chips or Irish stew.

Read more about Four Green Fields →




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 →




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, unpretentious 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. They do not serve food, but patrons can enjoy the culinary delights of a rotating line-up of food trucks on most Fridays through Sundays. In addition, four behind-the-scene tours are offered daily Wednesday through Sunday if you want to see the brewing in action. Check their website for times for tour times.

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: Try their Maduro Brown Ale which recently won a gold medal for the Brown Porter category at this year's Great American Beer Festival.

Read more about Cigar City Brewing Co →




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 →


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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye

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