Welcome to the vibrant and diverse world of Tampa Bay’s best bars, where libations and ambiance combine to create unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re a local seeking a new haunt or a visitor eager to explore the city’s nightlife, our curated guide will lead you to the most enticing watering holes in this sun-soaked Florida destination. Tampa Bay is known for its rich cultural tapestry, and its bar scene reflects that diversity. From craft cocktail lounges in historic Ybor City to beachfront tiki bars along the Gulf Coast, there’s a venue to suit every taste and mood. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the bay’s top establishments, showcasing the unique flavors, innovative mixology, and welcoming atmospheres that make these bars the gems of Tampa Bay’s nightlife. Whether you’re into craft beer, fine wines, or inventive cocktails, there’s a perfect spot waiting for you in Tampa Bay.
Ciro’s Tampa is one of the best bars in the city. It’s a classic cocktail bar inside the historic Bayshore Royal Building on Bayshore Boulevard. The bar takes and recommends reservations, and so do I. I don’t think I would’ve been able to get into the bar without one. It’s a high-class, busy establishment I will not forget anytime soon. Ciro’s Tampa has a great cocktail menu and skilled mixologists that offer some of the best-tasting drinks in the city.
EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge
EDGE Rooftop Cocktail Lounge is one of my Tampa favorites. It’s a cutting-edge bar that offers carefully crafted cocktails and a small selection of high-quality wines. The bar also serves small plates with both expected and unexpected menu options. The bar is on South Howard Avenue in the Epicurean Hotel. They also have a rooftop lounge area with views of the Tampa skyline that I love.
If you’re looking for something a little different, give Gaspar’s Grotto, a creative pirate bar and restaurant, a try. It’s on E 7th Avenue, in the middle of Historic Ybor City. It’s one of the best-known bars and restaurants in the city and offers a special Sunday brunch that you just have to try! There is an indoor and outdoor area, and all the spaces pay homage to the pirate Jose Gaspar. If you’re looking to splurge a little, the restaurant also has a VIP lounge on the outdoor Sandbar patio.
M.Bird is an indoor, outdoor bar with a lovely aesthetic that screams Tampa. It’s on the roof of Armature Works and has incredible views of the city that I can’t get enough of. Huge umbrellas over comfortable porch seating, and the inside are tastefully decorated. They offer food and drinks, including beer, rum, cocktails, wine, and more. They also have a great brunch menu. I recommend trying the breakfast ancho beef tacos.
Lowry Parcade is a classic arcade bar on W Waters Avenue that makes for an entertaining evening out. They offer local craft beers and endless classic arcade-style games to enjoy. You’ll find unique drinks on their menu, like the Punk Lemonade and Ayinver Celebrator. I highly recommend trying the veggie burger or the pulled pork for food. Everything I’ve had there is super delicious and goes well with their fun, laid-back atmosphere.
Blind Goat Tampa
Blind Goat Tampa is a social bar drenched in the city’s history. It’s a popular hot spot designed for working adults, an atmosphere you’ll feel as soon as you walk through the door. They serve craft beers, interesting cocktails, and small plates with a variety of delicious menu options to try, including a hummus platter and nachos. The bar strives to tap into a history of American nightlife, and I enjoy it every time I stop. You can also become a VIP member if you love it, as I do!
Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar
Élevage SoHo Kitchen & Bar is on S Howard Avenue in the Epicurean Hotel and offers carefully crafted food and drinks. It’s a sophisticated bar that most patrons spend all evening in, rather than jumping from place to place. They offer timeless recipes that are heavier on the budget but well worth it. Their executive chef, Jonathan Atanacio, has worked at the hotel for five years.
The Castle is a staple of historic Ybor City. It opened in 1992 as a small saloon and has stuck to its roots. Today, you can try their selection of scotches, bourbons, tequila, and some interesting mixed beers from different countries. The bar is also a great choice if you have an event to host; they have five different areas to choose from in the building and have hosted everything from fashion shoots to corporate parties.
World of Beer
World of Beer on Avion Park Drive is a large, pet-friendly, relaxed bar and event space great for groups. They offer games, a large patio, and even free wifi. So, no matter the evening out you’re looking for, their establishment will have something to offer. I love their delicious food menu (which you can also order to go!). Some of my favorites are the German Pretzel and Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.
The Sail Plaza
The Sail Plaza offers Tampa Bay’s best mojito! The bar is located on S Franklin Street and is a relaxed, low-key location with a 360-degree open-air seating area on the waterfront. You can visit for the food, the views, the drinks, or if you’re like me, for all three. They’re right next to the Tampa Convention Center and hard to miss!
The SpookEasy Lounge is the only haunted Kava Kava bar you will find in the city! It’s on N 15th St and openly welcomes ghouls and spirits of all kinds. While hoping for a scare, you might want to try some of their tea, coffee, or delicious food items, like the Bone Daddy Burger and Temporal Tacos.
Shuffle offers food, beer, wine, music, and Florida’s first and only indoor Shuffleboard. If you think this combination is unique, just wait till you step through the door and see the action first-hand. The bar also has a full kitchen and six rotating taps. Some of their bar snacks include nacho, tater tots, tacos, and a large pretzel that I tried hard not to eat!
Hotel Bar is in downtown Tampa and is known for its crafted drinks and modern aesthetic. It’s a classy-looking bar that’s well-suited for a night out. Some of their drinks include the Queen’s Park Swizzle and the Vieux Carre. I really recommend trying the Hidden Springs Orange Crush American Wheat beer too, or the Magnanimous Brecher Bier-Helles Lager.
Why should you trust us?
We use our own local experience and contacts in the city to know which places to include in our lists. We also researched the web and read 6 reputable blogs and websites, including tripadvisor.com, guidedbydestiny.com, tampamagazines.com, timeout.com, cltampa.com and visittampabay.com. So that you can be sure you’re receiving the best of the best. We compiled all the results in one spot and ranked them according to how frequently they were referenced.