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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
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.