Baby, it may not be cold outside, but a strong cocktail mixed by a master mixologist (like Bob Wagner, master bartender of Ciro's Speakeasy, above) is always welcome during the holidays. Look through our Food & Drink section and you'll find plenty more to be thankful for, including cocktail classes, private chef's dinners, one-on-ones with culinary masters and an alcohol collection to take you through all 12 days of Christmas. To place your bids, click on individual items below or go to cltampa.com/auction.
Mise en Place Cocktail Engineer Nate DeWitt shows what a good bartender can do the first Thursday of every month at the Cocktail Club, and with this special offer you can watch and learn from him all year long. As a member of the Cocktail Club you'll be able to drink up his knowledge and his well-crafted cocktails, plus enjoy great apps from Chef Marty Blitz, every month for a year. And if you're not in an imbibing mood some month, you can invite a friend to drink in your place. Cheers! Bidding starts at: $25. Value: $300.
A modern Mediterranean feast for four at a renowned SoHo culinary destination, served in the restaurant's exclusive Chef Suite (which usually has a $1,000 food and beverage minimum). Executive Chef Chad Johnson, named Best Chef in CL's Best of the Bay 2011, will create an extraordinary six-course meal, with wine pairings chosen by SideBern's Wine Director & Sommelier William Lucius. Some restrictions apply. Bidding starts at: $75. Value: $420.
Release your inner mixologist with this class and tasting for up to 10 people in one of downtown Tampa's most dramatic settings: the rooftop bar at Fly. The bar's expert mixmasters will provide an introduction to "creative cocktailing," including education on ingredients and liquors; tastings of Fly's signature cocktails (CL recommends Wrong End of a Gun), accompanied by complementary foods from the restaurant's tasty Small Plate menu. Bidding starts at: $35. Value: $350.
Ever want to sit down one-on-one with a local scribe and a) tell him how much his writing means to you; b) lovingly harangue him about how wrong-headed he is; c) share a hot story tip; or d) just generally shoot the shit? Well, here's your chance. Be one of the top five bidders for this auction item, and you'll get to select one member of CL's editorial team for a luncheon tête à tête — anyone from the editor in chief to your favorite columnist. We'll bring the gift certificate (to JJ's Cafe & Bar, Centro Cantina, Fresh Mouth or Panera Bread restaurants); you bring the conversation. Bidding starts at: $25. Value: Indeterminate. Limited to one person per lunch date.
Critically acclaimed for its seafood and for its sweeping bay views, Oystercatchers in the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is a primo spot for celebratory occasions. And what better reason to celebrate than making a winning bid in the CL Holiday Auction? Oystercatchers' champagne brunch includes seafood, breakfast and lunch selections, pasta and omelet stations, limitless Champagne, mimosas and bloody marys, and a dessert room. Bidding starts at: $25. Value: $180. Brunch is served every Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Offer not valid for holiday brunches. Gratuity not included.
If Dunedin Brewery isn't already a place where everyone knows your name, it will be next year if you win this auction item. Think of it: Once a week when you say to yourself, "Hey, I could use a beer," you'll be able to get a free one — a pint at Dunedin, chosen from any of the Brewery's standard ales. It'll be like having a good bar buddy all year long. Bidding starts at: $50. Value: $300.
The legendary steakhouse has only gotten better in its posh home in the Rivergate Tower (aka The Beercan Building), and with this auction item you and three guests get to enjoy the Malio’s experience to the fullest: a seasonal six-course dinner and wine pairing for four people, featuring wines from the Chateau St. Michelle collection. This item is good to use Jan.-Dec. 2012. Call Malio's to reserve a date; depending on when you book your dinner, this will determine the menu and wine pairing season for the tasting. Bidding starts at: $75. Value: $500.
Sono is Italian for "be," and this package gives you six superior reasons to "be" happy at Sono Café at the Tampa Museum of Art. Come for weekend brunch and soak up the beauty of the terrace, with its expansive view of the Hillsborough River and Curtis Hixon Park; grab a drink on Friday after work and see the latest TMA exhibition; stop in for a coffee to keep you going in the afternoon; impress your new boss at lunch; treat your niece to a gelato on Saturday afternoon in the park; impress your date with dinner on Friday under the stars. Package includes: brunch for two; cocktail and appetizer combo for two; coffee drink for one; lunch for two; gelato for two; Friday night dinner for two. Bidding starts at: $25. Value: $125.