It’s been a momentous year for LGBT history, and this weekend’s Pride parade will be one hell of a party. Get down with your bad self at one of Tampa Bay’s great LGBT spots. From diners to dives, this list is a rainbow of food, fun, and folly. —Arielle Stevenson/Julie Garisto/David Warner
2606 2606 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa, 813-875-6993, 2606.com. Have some burly fun at leather/Levi bar, Tampa. Temptation Tuesdays feature $1.50 wells all night long.
BAXTER’S LOUNGE 1519 S. Dale Mabry, Tampa, 813-258-8830, baxterslounge.com. A pleasantly dim-lit club with generous drinks and generously endowed gentlemen (at least on the video screens).
BLUR NIGHTCLUB 325 Main St., Dunedin, 727-736-0206, kellyschicaboom.com. Fun drag show and dance night wakes up the modest little main street of Downtown Dunedin at 11:15 p.m. and 12:15 a.m. on Fridays — some of the campiest ladies around.
BRADLEY’S ON 7TH 1510 E. Seventh Ave, Ybor City, 813-241-2723. Rustic, fabulous and friendly all at once, with decor centered on a tree trunk and entertainment centered on gigantically talented drag divas.
BROKEN TUSK 4685 28th St. N, St. Petersburg, 727-521-9514. Badass bartending duo Levi and Judah Love opened the Broken Tusk last year in a former biker bar. While Judah acknowledges that it’s scary to be an owner, “on the other hand it’s exhilarating. You have an idea, you can just do it” — ideas like pool tournaments, karaoke and a convivial patio.
THE CASTLE 2004 N. 16th St., Tampa, 813-247-7547, castleybor.com. A venerable Ybor City temple to polymorphous perversity.
CITYSIDE 3703 Henderson Blvd., Tampa, 813-350-0600, clubcityside.com. A video/ dance/ karaoke/ sports bar/ all-around South Tampa neighborhood hangout. Don’t miss the outdoor patio in back.
G. BAR 1401 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-247-1016, yborclubs.com. See and taste the rainbow at this GaYBOR mainstay. Cages, male dancers, female dancers and debauchery. Need we say more?
GARAGE 2729 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-258-4850, grandcentralgarage.com. A relaxed, friendly dive with enthusiastic karaoke and a colorful tribe of regulars.
FLAMINGO RESORT 4601 34th St. S, St. Petersburg, 727-321-5000, flamingofla.com. Fab drag shows, good food, 120 rooms, six bars and a surprisingly resort-like feeling, given the place is on 34th St. South next to a McDonald’s.
GEORGIE’S ALIBI 3100 Third Ave. N, St. Petersburg, 727-321-2112, georgiesalibi.com. Be sure to try the Thursday night $3.50 Long Island Iced Tea, served in a giant Mason jar. The food is fantastically deep-fried and cheap. We recommend the fried green beans and Buffalo wings.
HAMBURGER MARY’S 1600 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-241-6279, hamburgermarys.com/tampa. Hail Holy Hamburger Mary’s. Nothing pairs with a burger quite like a drag show. Try the Sunday brunch buffet for $12.95 and bottomless mimosas.
HAYMARKET PUB 8308 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, 727-577-9621. Billed as the “oldest all men’s bar in St. Petersburg” (they opened in 1991), the Haymarket Pub is the original St. Petersburg gay bar.
HIDEAWAY 8302 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, thehideawaygirls.com. Next door to the Haymarket is the all-girl club and bar the Hideaway. It first opened 35 years ago as Marilyn’s Closet and touts the distinction of being one of the oldest “womyns” bars in the country.
HONEY POT 1507 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, 813-247-4663, yborclubs.com. Boys, girls, girl-boys, and boy-girls, this is a smoldering party spot for the LGBTQ community. Great dance music and strong drinks.
L-TRAIN 900 Central Ave. Suite 25B, St. Petersburg, 813-995-5063, theltrain.com. An adorable girl bar located close to downtown St. Petersburg. It’s cozy, with just a couple tables and couches. Beer only in this lesbian alcove, but who said girls don’t like beer?
LIQUID TAMPA 1502 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa, facebook.com/liquidtampa. Latin nights, laser shows, drag contests and a multi-tiered room that’s great for cruising the dance floor.
LUCKY STAR LOUNGE 2760 Central Ave., St Petersburg. A cozy spot tucked in behind a liquor store, it’s got a sweet patio, a small dance floor, and an all-around neighborly feel. Customers brought in the decorative stars, a design motif carried through on the doors of the men’s and women’s johns, labeled “Elton’s” and “Olivia-Newton’s.”
PRO SHOP PUB 840 Cleveland St., Clearwater, 727-447-4259, proshoppub.us. For nearly 40 years, the Pro Shop has given a drink and home to the gay community. The straight family that started it all made it a sanctuary for locals to gather and celebrate.
THE QUEENS HEAD RESTAURANT AND EUROBAR 2501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-498-8584, thequeensheadbar.com. A Best of the Bay-winning spot owned by the dynamic Brits Darren and Paul. Go on Wednesdays for Tranny Trivia with Trixie, and don’t miss the fried chickpeas in paprika.
QUENCH LOUNGE 13284 66th St. N, Largo, 727-754-5900. One of the newest bars in the area, Quench opened in January in a Largo strip mall and has attracted an enthusiastic following for its slick decor, no-smoking policy (except on the outdoor breezeway) and hilarious drag shows (often featuring audience participation).
STELLA’S 3119 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, 727-498-8950, stellasingulfport.com. Delicious breakfasts are served at this Gulfport restaurant owned by City Councilmember Barbara Banno and her partner Jeanne Kunkle.
THE OAR HOUSE 4807 22nd Ave. S, St. Petersburg, 727-327-1691. The half liquor store and half bar have a pool table and one heck of a jukebox. The adjacent barbecue place packs a crowd into the bar on the weekends.
YBOR CITY SOCIAL CLUB 1909 N. 15th St., Tampa, yborclubs.com. Located in the heart of GaYbor is a laid-back club and bar that attracts LGBT folks from all walks of life. Downstairs in the “dungeon” party goers can hear dubstep and smoke hookah.