910 Skipper Road, Tampa, 813-971-0666, skipperssmokehouse.com
The Skipper's motto is "we smoke everything," and the restaurant/venue has been the hippie hangout of Tampa Bay for the past 28 years. Founded by a couple ol' Air Force buddies, the wonderfully wacky live music destination has been lovingly described as the club "that washed ashore" thanks to an abundance of oversized, haphazardly placed bric-a-brac that suggest Key West, post-hurricane. The Skipperdome has a covered stage, audience overhang and a natural canopy of sprawling oaks that shield concertgoers from light rains and harsh sunshine. The sound is boss, thanks to a staff that knows its music. National roots acts regularly perform on the weekends with reggae courtesy of Impulse on Wednesdays and terrific Grateful Dead tribute act Uncle John's Band every Thursday.
Memories Shit, where do we start? Best known for its blues acts, especially in the 1980s, the venue has brought to town such legends as Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker and Albert Collins. • In recent years, indie blues rockers the Black Keys, Texican power trio Los Lonely Boys and Australian singer/songwriter sensation Kasey Chambers have all packed the venue, as have Zydeco champ Buckwheat Zydeco and Austin music hero Alejandro Escovedo, just to name a few.
Grub: Full kitchen with Old Florida flair (yes, they serve Gator tail)
Booze: Full liquor
Next big show: James McMurtry w/Ronny Elliott, Dec. 5.