Skipper’s Smokehouse, Tampa’s iconic restaurant and venue, has officially reopened

The venue was closed for nearly a year.

click to enlarge Last summer, Tampa's 40-year-old Skipper's Smokehouse closed in the wake of the pandemic. Eight months later Skipper’s surprised locals by announcing plans to reopen soon.
Last summer, Tampa's 40-year-old Skipper's Smokehouse closed in the wake of the pandemic. Eight months later Skipper’s surprised locals by announcing plans to reopen soon.

After being closed for nearly a year, iconic Tampa restaurant and music venue Skipper’s Smokehouse is officially reopened.

Former head of marketing and current “head bottle washer” Cricket Larson told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that Skipper’s Smokehouse—located at 910 Skipper Rd.—opened today at 3 p.m. after staging a soft opening last weekend.

What’s more is that the venue’s live music calendar is ramping back up, starting with a Thursday, July 22 performance from resident Grateful Dead tribute act Uncle John’s Band, which has played more than 1,000 shows under the Skipperdome.

Notable additions to the new Skipper’s Smokehouse live music calendar include a New Year’s Eve show with Donna the Buffalo, the return of Southern Culture on the Skids (Jan. 15), a Tom Petty 75th birthday party (Oct. 16), Selwyn Birchwood (Aug. 28) and Nashville Pussy opening for Reverend Horton Heat on Halloween.

Last summer, the 40-year-old institution closed in the wake of the pandemic. Eight months later—after entertaining several offers that just weren’t the right fit—Skipper’s surprised locals by announcing plans to reopen soon.

As previously reported by CL, the menu looks a little different at Skipper’s, but the changes are all part of an effort to not only make the restaurant as much of a destination as the venue, but to also ensure survival should another pandemic shut live music down again.

“What we’re doing right now is to ensure survivability. Not just for the next three months, but for the next five years,” Larson recently told CL. “We want another four decades of Skipper’s.”

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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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