Six Tampa bars where you can escape Gasparilla

Pirate-free peace awaits.

click to enlarge Six Tampa bars where you can escape Gasparilla
Photo by Ray Roa
Tampa’s annual Gasparilla parade arrives on Saturday, Jan. 28, and the raucous parties that surround it are certainly not for the faint of heart. If you’ve had your costume ready since last year and are already planning your Drizzly order, then this list probably isn’t for you. Here are the best Tampa bars if you need to escape the nautical madness and don’t have the option to get out of town for the weekend.

New World Brewery Begin your afternoon in Sulphur Springs with a classic car show and swap meet with vendors starting at 3 p.m. This free event also features “surf noir/spy-fi music” from Sam Williams. Grab a pint and pizza in the biergarten and stick around for the Rockabilly Battle Royale in the Music Hall. According to New World’s Facebook, this ticketed concert features “impromptu fake bands made up of Tampa Bay’s finest Rock n” Rollers.” Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, with the show kicking off at 7 p.m. 810 E Skagway Ave., Tampa.

Corner Club Located a safe distance from the end of the parade route, this Old Seminole Heights bar and cafe should be a good place to find pirate-free peace. Whether you’re looking for coffee and quiche to start the day, or a glass of wine and charcuterie to finish it, Corner Club has you covered. The day after Gasparilla, CC hosts a chili cook-off from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.. Buy-in is $5 a head and vegan options will be available as well. Make sure you say hi to Skele, the resident giant skeleton, who will likely be the only one dressed up for the occasion. 1502 E Sligh Ave., Tampa. @cornerclubtampa on Facebook

Independent Bar & Cafe This neighborhood haunt has been a favorite of beer enthusiasts and local music lovers for over a decade. Indie hosts a variety of monthly events, including singer-songwriter nights, DJ sets, jazz, bluegrass afternoons, “Meet the Brewery,” and even the occasional drag show. There’s also a well-curated menu that includes breakfast until 3 p.m. as well as lunch and dinner fare. Indie doesn't have events scheduled for the day of Gasparilla so you can enjoy its dog-friendly patio and watch the world go by on this Seminole Heights stretch of Florida Avenue. 5016 N Florida Ave., Tampa. @independentseminoleheights on Facebook

C. 1949 Florida Beer Garden Located just outside the northern Edge of Riverbend, Circa is another neighborhood hangout with a roomy patio and an extensive craft beer list, as well as wine and non-alcoholic options. One thing that makes this bar standout is the daily happy hour from 4 p.m.-7 p.m., even on weekends. Check out Circa’s Facebook (@c1949) for monthly events and notifications of rotating food trucks. 6905 N Orleans Ave., Tampa.

Shuffle It’s a bar. It’s a restaurant. It’s an entertainment venue. It’s Shuffle! There’s never a shortage of good vibes and good company at this Tampa Heights staple, and the recently renovated backyard is a great place to relax on a nice day. The food menu has something for everyone, from tots and tacos to the surprisingly yummy spaghetti sandwich. If you’ve never tried your hand at the game of shuffle before, the staff will be more than happy to show you how it’s done. 2612 N Tampa St., Tampa.

Skipper’s Smokehouse This long-running music venue gave us all a scare when it closed for around eight months due to pandemic related issues, but has since come back with welcomed improvements. Skipper’s 2.0 features everything you loved about the former spot, with the addition of longer hours Thursday-Sunday and a brunch menu on the weekends. While you’re here, be sure to try the famous blackened grouper sandwich, smoked gator ribs and oysters on the half shell. 910 Skipper Rd., Tampa.
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