If you’re taking a trip to Tampa Bay, Florida, it’s worth taking a detour to visit Ybor City. Known as a little piece of Cuban history, this historic Latin Quarter is famous for vintage shops and boutiques, along with fast food, movie theaters, a shopping mall, and Latin/Cuban eateries. There are also plenty of museums to go around and explore to better understand the history of Ybor.
With such a unique culture, it’s fun to get out with friends and check out the local bars in the area. We’ve compiled a list of the most exciting bars to frequent, with unique cocktails, classics, and excellent bartending.
Many of these places are also event venues, so you can catch a concert or live entertainment while enjoying reasonably priced drinks. Some sites give dive bar vibes, and others are a little more upscale. Either way, there’s a bar below perfect for any occasion.
Check out our list of the best bars in Ybor City!
2004 N 16th St, Tampa, FL 33605
The Castle is near McKay Bay, and it started in 1992 as a small saloon where friends could come and have fun. From there, the owners thought of adding single malt scotches, aged tequila, small-batch bourbon, and a diverse selection of beer from different parts of the globe. Over time, they went from a jukebox to live DJs, with five other spaces to kick back and relax. This dance club is multilevel and attracts a diverse crowd.
I enjoyed being in an eccentric space that was open-minded and creative. There were many people in costumes, some without, the music was great, and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The bartenders were friendly and did an excellent job of striking up a casual conversation while being served. The drinks were strong, and they weren’t too expensive. I stuck with beers, but I saw several cocktails that looked delicious. I 10/10 recommend checking out the Castle if you’re in Ybor City.
The Ritz Ybor
1503 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
The Ritz Ybor is next to Hotel Haya, and you can think of the Ritz as a premier location for live music and special events. They host Mischief Mondays, Sunset Saturdays, and Pound Fridays, to name a few. The ambiance is intriguing, with lights and music everywhere to set the mood. There are also multiple bars sprinkled throughout the location.
I attended a rave, which was really fun because everyone was into the band, and it wasn’t too long of a wait at the bar. The staff as a whole was polite, and the bartenders were willing to mix up anything you asked for. They serve a pretty strong Long Island Iced Tea, so don’t have too many of those if you want to stay on your feet! Also, they had a wide selection of brews to choose from. Overall, a great experience from start to finish.
1812 N 17th St, Tampa, FL 33605
The Crowbar Ybor is a few blocks from Game time Tampa, a video arcade for kids and teens. It’s another love entertainment and special events hall that doubles as a downtown nightclub. The DJs always take requests, and Crowbar supports local artists. They also have a beer garden, which is beautifully constructed. While the venue isn’t huge, there are multiple stages to see different shows, and the bartenders are easily accessible.
They recommended tasty drinks that I hadn’t heard of, and they adjusted it to your liking. I thought the Rum Runner was delicious, as well as the Sidecar and the Cosmopolitan. I was surprised at how many craft brews were available, along with the extensive wine list. I wouldn’t hesitate to return to the Crowbar with friends, as I appreciate small venues that aren’t crowded but know how to show you a good time.
1805 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
Gaspar’s Grotto, by Centennial Park, is a festive hangout with a pirate theme and Latin eats. They have an outdoor lounge, live music, and drink specials throughout the week. The decor is fun and nostalgic, especially if you liked pirates as a kid. They also offer a Sunday brunch, with the best cocktail classics I’ve had in a while. The Bloody Mary, Mimosa, and Bellini were particularly memorable, as was the top-tier service.
I had the Cuban sandwich, one of their most frequently ordered menu items, and the Peg Leg (the house beer). Whether you’re sitting at a table, out on the dance floor, or sitting at the bar, it’s a delightful experience at Gaspar’s. What they have hung their hats on for the past 15 years of business is their signature $3 beers and shots. Both were excellent, and the bartenders did an excellent job of never letting my hand stay empty for long.
Bad Monkey Ybor
1717 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
The Bad Monkey Ybor is a top-notch restaurant and bar near E. 7th Ave and N. 17th street. They serve classics such as hot dogs, burgers, mozzarella sticks, and chicken tenders, and they have a killer drink selection. The decor of the Bad Monkey is primarily based on the military and those that serve the country. There are fighter jets jutted from the walls, flags, and other military memorabilia all around. They have many options for how you want to enjoy your evening.
You can do a pay-as-you-go service with the 12 taps they offer, which was a fantastic experience for my friends and me. Some were even locally brewed! Everything they provide from the pub grub menu is less than $10; perfect to accompany the half-off drinks during happy hour. There is a central bar, a back patio bar, a VIP Lounge, and other dedicated spaces at the Bad Monkey. You’ll never get bored, and the drinks are incredible. My favorites were the Blackjack Margarita and the Wild Bill.
Rock Brothers Brewing
1901 N 15th St, Tampa, FL 33605
Rock Brothers Brewing is in Centro Ybor, a two-story shopping mall. The storied building is a local craft microbrewery with live music and house brews on tap. This place is perfect for a quick bite with friends over drinks. They offer a full bar, but the beers were icy, and the variety was insane. The vibes were edgy but casual, and the crowd was friendly. Rock Brothers believe in uniting music with craft beer and letting everything else take care of itself.
The bartenders did a spectacular job during my visit, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how attentive they were. The “I’ll Be Here A While” brew was explicitly recommended for a smooth and easy drink with a mild taste, and it didn’t disappoint.
Add this to the tasteful music and bands that play there every night, Cornhole out on the patio, and the chill atmosphere, and it doesn’t get much better than that. I also enjoyed the Cider, an Apple Martini, cold brews, and red wine.
1915 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
The Orpheum is a place built for entertainment, located near Hotel Haya. The Orpheum thrives at night, where independent and up-and-coming artists get featured. There’s also a DJ and a fully stocked bar. The bartenders are great about trying to rotate to meet everyone’s needs. So even if there was a slight wait, you hardly noticed because the ambiance was captivating.
The drinks are on the stronger side, and the prices aren’t too high despite being a venue. Interestingly, this venue hosts art shows, club events, wrestling, dance competitions, charity fundraisers, and musical events. If you’re ever vacationing in Tampa, Florida, stop by the Orpheum for a night of memorable entertainment and enjoy some great drinks and impeccable service.
Coyote Ugly Saloon
Aguilar Building, 1722 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
If a night of fun and relaxation is what you need, the Coyote Ugly Saloon is ready and waiting to show you a good time. Located a street over from Centennial Park, you’ll find this festive saloon bar with a separate lounge area and pool tables. This is indeed a popular saloon with female bartenders performing bartop dancing with body shots.
Whether there’s a whole host of people present when you arrive or it’s just you and your crew—the atmosphere is electric, and you’re sure to have a great time no matter the circumstances. The DJ, the bartenders, and the amazing drinks all come together to make for a fun time. Ladies, if you’re ever in the mood, feel free to dance on the bar for a little added excitement. It makes the experience that much better!
1619 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
Club Prana is also near Hotel Haya, a few buildings down from the Orpheum. Club Prana is a trendy venue that features multiple floors, each floor having different music and vibes to enjoy. The DJ usually plays a diverse playlist with anything from hip-hop to reggae. The bar is always willing to mix you something up, including custom cocktails and recommendations.
There are five floors in total; feel free to stop off on the floor that resonates with you most or make a night out of going from floor to floor to experience the energy each space has to offer. Regardless of where you land, you’re sure to have excellent service and delicious drinks. Lastly, the bottle service is top-notch.
The Ybor City Wine Bar
1600 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL 33605
The Ybor City Wine Bar is in the Channel District, on the first floor of Centro Ybor. The shopping mall is on the corner of 16th St and 7th Ave. Here you can get your fill of wine, craft beers, small plates, and desserts. What’s more, there are also outdoor tables for you to enjoy at this classy establishment.
Ybor City Wine bar is the perfect place to come after a long day; you get to relax and have a delicious drink. They serve an elevated version of pub food, such as the giant cheese board, the Charcuterie, or a specialty salad. They have over 200 boutique wines and more than 60 craft beers. My favorite brews were Pilsners and Belgium Bombers. Ybor City Wine Bar also carries Sparklers, Bubblers, Port selections, and dessert wines.
First Chance Last Chance Bar & Courtyard
1707 N 16th St, Tampa, FL 33605
First Chance Last Chance Bar & Courtyard is near Game Time Tampa, a video arcade in the neighborhood. First Chance is a laid-back bar that plays live music and has DJs regularly. They serve unique and intricate cocktail creations, and they have an extensive list of craft beers that are locally brewed. The bar is inviting and spacious, with an open-air courtyard.
There’s also an outdoor bar tucked away from the main bar room. Additionally, you can play games and watch sports events as you hang with friends and unwind. The bartenders are very skilled and knowledgeable about drinks—able to suggest the perfect concoction at the drop of a hat.
These bars in Ybor City are eclectic; some provide entertainment or food, and some offer both. I had a great time at each one, though the Bad Monkey Ybor was my favorite.
Did we leave a spot out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!