Downtown Tampa's Fly bar and restaurant is closed

The pioneering nightspot first opened in 2006, then relocated in 2020.

click to enlarge Fly Bar in Tampa, Florida. - Photo via Fly Bar/Instagram
Photo via Fly Bar/Instagram
Fly Bar in Tampa, Florida.
A staple of the Tampa cocktail scene is no more. Pioneering Fly Bar & Restaurant, located at 442 W Kennedy Blvd. near the University of Tampa has closed.

A call and text message to Fly ownership has yet to be returned, so it's unclear when the longtime local hotspot shuttered, but an overnight security guard outside the concept told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay workers have been moving furniture out for the last couple days. Fly's website and social media pages are also no more.

Originally opened in 2006 on the corner of N Franklin and Royal Streets, Fly Bar & Restaurant arguably taught downtown Tampa how to drink. It did craft cocktails before they were hip and pumped exciting tapas-style plates out of its kitchen on the ground floor of a rehabbed old 1923 bunker. It was a beacon of nightlife when downtown Tampa's now bustling social scene was still in its finding its way. In 2018, Fly announced plans to close its original location after 13 years on the block. The ill-fated Mole y Abuela soon took its place, but remains shuttered to this day. Fly's new location opened near UT in the summer of 2020 in the historic Lafayette Arcade, the same block as Mise en Place, Oxford Exchange and The Retreat.

It's unclear if Fly plans to give it a go elsewhere, so for now, denizens of the culture it built can still get something of a taste just a half-mile away inside Hotel Bar—also owned by Fly owner Leslie Shirah Culbreath, and located at 200 N Tampa St.—where bartenders still make some of the most exciting cocktails in Tampa Bay.

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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