Five Courses: Baytenders makes a splash along St. Pete's Fourth Street and more

Steelbach also opened at Armature Works, and there's another Flirt reunion going down.

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click to enlarge The laid-back Baytenders features indoor and outdoor seating in St. Pete, plus a seafood-heavy menu. - Meaghan Habuda
Meaghan Habuda
The laid-back Baytenders features indoor and outdoor seating in St. Pete, plus a seafood-heavy menu.

In St. Petersburg, diners can start diving into the seafood-heavy menu of Fourth Street newcomer Baytenders. The oyster bar and steamer slinger launched Feb. 9 where Champions BBQ previously operated at 4400 Fourth St. N.

Baytenders features a nice selection of appetizers, soups and salads, and raw bar offerings that include steamed king crab, mussels and freshly shucked gulf oysters. There aren’t any entrees (in the traditional sense), but sandwiches are meals in their own right — especially when this laid-back eatery does varieties like blackened grouper and mojo pulled pork.

Those who’ve worked up a sweat while chowing down inside or out can count on cold beer and Rum Runners, among other sippers.

Steelbach recently opened inside the historic Armature Works building in Tampa Heights. The Southern-inspired kitchen and chophouse is the first full-service sit-down restaurant to open at Armature., where vendors of the Heights Public Market started serving their goods earlier this month.

A member of the BE-1 Concepts family and led by seasoned chef-partner Nathan Hardin, Steelbach emphasizes ingredients sourced from Florida producers, including grass-fed Kenansville cattle; the beef is aged four to seven weeks and cooked over a 1,000-degree, open-fire grill.

Accompanying the innovative eats is an extensive whiskey list and wines stored in the restaurant’s 100-year-old brick vault. A waterfront patio that provides a lovely view of the sunset and valet parking round out the highlights.

St. Pete’s Right Around the Corner has announced plans to become the latest brewery in the Grand Central District — and the first “arcade brewery” in the Sunshine State.

Founded in 2016 as a craft beer game room, the popular hangout released its first beer — Sleeping Monkey, a Belgian blonde ale made in collaboration with St. Pete Brewing Co. — last summer. A number of house brews have debuted since, including Blow the Cartridge IPA and a strawberry blonde dubbed Strawberry Ms. Pacman.

A grand opening bash on April 7 and 8 celebrates the bar’s transition into a brewery.

“Our focus will be quality, unique, and classic style beers with you occasional dank/delicious small batches,” writes Right Around the Corner in the description of the Facebook event.

Speaking of beer, Pair O’ Dice Brewing Company brewed a gose with honeybell, the rare cross between a tangerine and a grapefruit — a mighty fine reason to hit up Clearwater and snag a pint as early as 3 p.m. Friday.

Even better? In addition to those treasured orbs of goodness grown by Ruskin-based Dooley Groves (where regionites are welcome to pick their own honeybells), the brewery’s latest Fresh From Florida release also incorporates Savory Spice Shop coriander. Yuuum.

• Last but not least: A two-level Ybor City dance club best known for its soundtrack — Top 40/dance/remix up top and hip-hop down below — is set to make a comeback over the weekend.

In the past, two reunions have been hosted for locals and out-of-towners who used to frequent owner Darlene Herrick’s late Flirt Night Club (which nabbed a shout-out in CL’s Cocktail Issue), and both drew approximately 1,000 guests. However, the upcoming Flirt Night Club Reunion scheduled for 9 p.m. Saturday stands out because it’s going down at 1909 N. 15th St. — the club’s original location that Cheezy’s, for better or worse, now occupies.

An over-the-top live entertainment lineup (DJs included) and a good variety of drinks (reminiscent of what Flirt carried in its heyday) don’t hurt, either. Expect 11:30 p.m. and 1 a.m. shows featuring Farrah Moan from Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race, as well as performers Jasmine International, Esme Russell, Katrina Devastation (aka Kurt King) and Desiree Demornay. Tickets are up online.

For the uninitiated, Flirt — a gathering place of sorts where many friendships formed — shuttered in June 2009 after an eight-year run. The entertainment was getting expensive, which played a role in Herrick’s decision, but she also wanted to return to her love of cooking; she now serves as executive chef for Hamburger Mary’s.

Clearly, the closure hasn’t stopped the loyal fan base of the high-energy club from calling for the doors to be reopened, which is what keeps this series of reunions going in the first place.

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