Best Of 2015

Best Brainy Bartender
Chip Weiner

Opening a speakeasy ain’t easy. No one since Ciro’s has managed to pull off the exact combination of clandestine atmosphere and classic cocktails that turn an ordinary room into something seductive. Until, that is, the folks at Station House St. Pete came along. GWR (God’s Waiting Room) is a dark, intimate back room that taps into the restaurant’s already cozy underground feel without the pretensions of passwords or secret doors. And the real draw is the expertise of the bartending staff, none more enlightening than Brian Mulay, a quiet crusader of a mixologist who likes to turn vodka lovers into gin lovers, patiently explains the thinking behind cocktails like the Bathtub Negroni, tries delicious twists on old standards like the Manhattan, and diplomatically handles the eclectic crowds, from middle-aged couples canoodling at the low-slung tables to exuberant 20 and 30something ladies and their entourages. 260 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg, 727-895-8260,

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Best All-Around Restaurant

Runners Up: Datz, Ella's Americana Folk Art Cafe 

Best Almost an Arcade

Fodder & Shine may have had a bit of a hard time finding its identity in burgeoning but not completely avant-garde Seminole Heights. But, while chef Greg Baker had to tweak his authentic Florida cracker cuisine to appease the unseasoned palates of thought-they-were-brave foodies, the restaurant’s bar offerings plus video games and pool table have made it a pretty great spot to kick it into the late night. 5910 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, 813-234-3710,

Best Bagel Shop
Shanna Gillette

Runners Up: Einstein Bros Bagels, Clearwater Bagels

Best Bahn Mi

Runners-Up: Green Mint Asian, Grill Saigon Deli

Best Bakery (Bread)
20 Shekels Bread via Facebook

Runners Up: Alessi Bakery, Bake‘n Babes 

Best Bakery (Pastries)
Chip Weiner

Runners Up: Alessi Bakery, Mazzaro’s Italian Market

Best Bar Food

Runners Up: The Stein & Vine, Engine No. 9

Best Bar When You Need a Break from Local Beer

Hey, sometimes you’re just not in the mood for another hoppy IPA or citrus-smoked bacon whatever. Cigar City’s getting the jump on the burgeoning cider and mead markets the same way it got ahead of the Bay area craft beer curve, and is putting out the area’s best stuff as a result. From sweet summery ciders to more subtle, textured concoctions and a fearless attitude toward experimenting with the ancient (and misnamed, really) “honey wine” known as mead, the staff at this casual Ybor City brewery and tasting room is friendly, skilled and schooled. If you’re willing to be curious and more than a little fearless yourself when it comes to new flavors, they’ll help you find a new obsession in something you’ve never tasted before. 1812 N. 15th St., Ybor City. 813-242-6600,

Best Barbecue Restaurant
Holy Hog Barbecue via Facebook

Runners Up: Urban Brew & BBQ, 4 Rivers Smokehouse