25 lounges, speakeasies and hidden bars in Tampa Bay, and how to find them all

From speakeasies where a password is always required, to laundromats that are actually great watering holes, and no-frills lounges that are way…

By Sofía García Vargas

Dirty Laundry
1742 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-493-0040
You better pick up the phone when it rings in this ordinary-looking laundromat. A voice will tell you a code to punch into the washing machine, unveiling a vibrant indoor space and a relaxing outdoor patio.
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Everything to see and eat during Mardi Gras at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

[image-4] Busch Gardens brought Big Easy cuisine and entertainment to Tampa a little early with Mardi Gras. But the beads and bites…

By Chelsea Zukowski

Beignets NOLA Creamery and Sweet Beignets both right next to the Garden Gate Café, is where to get sweet fried doughnuts that are a must at any Mardi Gras festival, and the options at Busch Gardens include traditional with powdered sugar, ones topped with Woodford Reserve bourbon chocolate drizzle and banana’s foster beignets. The Busch Gardens beignets also stand out for their flaky, croissant-like texture.
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Tampa Bay's 50 best restaurants of 2021

[image-51] In spite of the last two years taking so many beloved restaurants away, some local chefs and restaurateurs have found ways…

By Ray Roa, Kyla Fields, Jon Palmer Claridge, Daniel Guess, Alexandria Jones, Colin Wolf

Tampa Bay's 50 best restaurants of 2021
51 slides

The Tampa Bay restaurants and bars that have closed since the beginning of the pandemic

The past two years have been incredibly tough for local restaurants and bars, and while many have survived, adapted, or even completely…

By CL Staff

Cafe Ponte  
    13505 Icot Blvd., Clearwater
    After 18 years of serving the Tampa Bay community with its modern Italian cuisine and fine dining atmosphere, Cafe Ponte closed down for good following complications stemming from the pandemic. However, last year the owners opened a new Italian restaurant, OLIVIA, in Tampa.
    
    Photo via Cafe Ponte/Facebook
30 slides

The 20 most-anticipated new restaurants coming to Tampa Bay in 2022

Well, 2021 was a great year for new eats in Tampa Bay, and it looks like 2022 might top it.  From more…

By Stephanie Powers

Portillo’s
St. Petersburg
 Chicagoland favorite Portillo’s is opening its third Tampa Bay location near Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg in the first half of next year. The Chicago-style weiner and steak sandwich slinging, fast casual concept already has locations in Tampa (2102 E Fowler Ave.) and Brandon (1748 Brandon Blvd.), but this is the restaurant's first foray into the ‘Burg.
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Tampa Bay's best new restaurants of 2021

It goes without saying that dining has changed quite a bit in Tampa Bay over the last couple years, and despite all…

By CL Staff

Brisket Shoppe  
4004 Henderson Blvd., Tampa
Barbeque supply emporium Grill & Provisions opened a second shop with The Brisket Shoppe restaurant attached and ready to sell smoked meats and accompaniments three days a week. Located where Holy Hog’s old Palma Ceia West location used to be, the menu focuses on three types of brisket: prime, USDA prime, and Wagyu. In addition, there are Texas hot links, smoked beef sausage, stuffed poblano peppers, and nachos. Of course all good barbeque comes with sides—at the shoppe, they’re collard greens, brisket and beans, mac and cheese, and potato wedges.
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Here are the Tampa Bay restaurants and bars that closed in 2021

The restaurant industry has never been easy, but the last couple years created a whole new host of challenges. While plenty of…

By CL Staff

Coney Island Sandwich Shop
    250 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg
    We’re still holding on to hope that this iconic restaurant will reopen at some point. It’s hard to imagine a St. Pete without the family-owned hot dog spot run by 85-year-old Hank Barlas—whose father opened what was then-called Coney Island Grill back in 1926.
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20 Tampa Bay Filipino restaurants and eateries everyone should try at least once

Filipino American History month was in October, but we’d like to highlight businesses throughout Tampa Bay that specialize in Filipino cuisine whether…

By CL Staff

Manila Eats
    10621 Tucker Jones Rd., Riverview
    You can’t miss this stationary food truck decked out in tiki thatch and Philippine flag colors. Although Manila Eats just opened last summer, it often sells out of popular items like lechon kawali and bulalo soup, and has to close early, so make sure you check Facebook before heading out to the Brandon/Riverview area. Manila Eats also has a Christmas countdown in October, as it should.
    Photo via Manila Eats/Facebook
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All the burgers you can try during Tampa Bay Burger Week (11/4-11/14)

When life throws you a burger, eat it. From Thursday, November 4th, through Sunday, November 14th, 2021, we're teaming up with Tampa…

By CL Staff

The Avenue DTSP
    330 1st Ave. S., St. Petersburg
    (727) 851-9531
    theavenuedtsp.com
    
    The DTSP - $10
    8oz handmade burger with house made bourbon bacon, onion jam and yellow American cheese on a brioche bun
    
    Ask about adding a Tito’s Handmade Vodka cocktail!
    
    Takeout (call-in), Curbside pickup, Dine-in
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All the beer steins, lederhosen and people we saw at Tampa's Oktoberfest 2021

After taking a year off to keep folks safe from coronavirus, downtown Tampa's Oktoberfest returned to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park over the…

By CL Staff

All the beer steins, lederhosen and people we saw at Tampa's Oktoberfest 2021
30 slides

Photos from the 2021 Bolts Brew Fest at Tampa's Amalie Arena

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s big launch weekend just wrapped, and on Friday, the team welcomed fans back to its annual Bolts Brew…

By CL Staff

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Tampa Bay Lightning fans sample local craft beer during BrewFest on September 17, 2021 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Casey Brooke Lawson/Tampa Bay Lightning)
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23 essential Tampa Bay fish shacks everyone should visit at least once

Fish shacks are a classic staple of Florida, and with the Gulf at our feet, Tampa Bay has some of the best…

By CL Staff

Bait House
    45 Causeway Blvd., Clearwater Beach
    Yes, the Bait House does sell bait along with fresh fish. The dockside fish stop and tackle shop opened in the 1940s and is located in the Marina on Clearwater Beach. The menu includes locally caught seafood, with the famous drunken shrimp, smoked fish spread, tuna tacos and locally-crafted beer. Some of the highest quality tackle and gear is offered there.
    Bait House/Google
23 slides

Tampa Bay's 25 small town restaurants everyone should try at least once

When it comes to Tampa Bay's best restaurants, it's not uncommon for the big metro eateries in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater…

By CL Staff

Detroit Coney Island
    32922 U.S. Hwy-19, Palm Harbor
    Right off of U.S.-19, Detroit Coney Island is a breakfast, lunch and dinner stop. The diner serves classics like hamburgers and hot dogs, including the Coney Island hot dog. Detroit Coney Island also offers Polish dishes like two eggs with grilled Polish kielbasa and a Polish platter with pierogi, potato and cheese, sauerkraut and holiday-style kielbasa for dinner. 
    Photo via Detroit Coney Island/Facebook
25 slides

25 iconic Tampa Bay dive bars everyone should visit at least once

Tampa Bay is home to dozens of hole-in-the-wall watering holes (we’re not kidding, most of these places don’t have their own websites),…

By CL Staff

The Hub
    719 N Franklin St., Tampa
    The Hub is one of the oldest bars in Tampa, founded in 1949. The classic dive bar is casual and easygoing, with a jukebox and graffiti etched on the walls. The pours are famously heavy, and you really never know who will pop in here on any given night. 
    Photo via Brian Mahar
25 slides

28 classic Tampa Bay restaurants that've been around for more than 35 years

They say some things get better with age. Case in point, these Tampa Bay restaurants that have been dishing out everything from…

By CL Staff

Munch’s Sundries & Restaurant
    3920 6th St., St. Petersburg
    Munch’s Sundries & Restaurant was founded in 1952, and according to the website is home of the biggest breakfast in town. Back then though, Dean and Clariece started it as a store and post office, and they sold sandwiches out of their car to construction workers while Lewis Island was built. Once they added hamburgers and hot dogs to the menu, they also added Munch’s to the name. The place is still famous for its fried chicken, fried green tomatoes and Munchburgers—even Guy Fieri tasted them on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."
    Photo via Munch’s Sundries & Restaurant/Website
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The 25 best Tampa Bay restaurants when you have $15 or less

Great food doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. From delicious empanadas and sub sandwiches to burgers, tacos and even…

By CL Staff

Brocato’s Sandwich Shop
    5021 E Columbus Dr., Tampa
    In 1948, Brocato’s began as a grocery store, then it was a meat market, and finally, a sandwich shop. According to the website, the stop is home of the best devil crabs in town. A big crab is $13.95, as are the 15-inch subs and sandwiches.
    Photo via Google Maps
26 slides

The 20 hottest new restaurants in St. Pete right now

While you were in, the Tampa Bay restaurant scene made some big moves, and St. Petersburg arguably had some of the most-anticipated…

By CL Staff

Caddy’s on Madeira Beach
    14080 Gulf Blvd., Madeira Beach
    Caddy’s on Madeira Beach is literally right on the beach, with a two-story bar, waterfront views and outdoor seating with picnic tables. The main restaurant is upstairs and opened in March. It's got barside classics like wings and lots of drinks.
    Photo via Caddy’s on Madeira Beach/Facebook
20 slides

All the restaurants you can visit during Tampa Bay Restaurant Week (Now-June 27)

Creative Loafing’s annual Food Issue is officially online and on stands and, to celebrate, we're hosting our 15th annual Tampa Bay Restaurant Week now through…

By CL Staff

Red Mesa Restaurant
    4912 4th St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33703
    (727) 527-8728
    redmesarestaurant.com
45 slides

Tampa Bay’s best Asian restaurants and markets, according to local chefs and foodies

On April 30 during a private “Meet the Chefs” event at Mise en Place, more than a dozen of Tampa Bay’s brightest…

By CL Staff

A-Green Oriental Market
    1321 E Fletcher Ave., Tampa.  813-971-3287
    With selections for even the pickiest of noodle aficionados, this Korean grocery next to Ho Ho Choy Chinese restaurant (famous for its all day dim sum, seven days a week) is a staple of the USF area scene.
    Photo via A-Green Oriental Market-??????/Facebook
56 slides

The most-anticipated new restaurants coming to Tampa Bay

This spring already saw a slew of new eateries debut in Tampa Bay, and the rest of 2021 is looking just as…

By CL Staff

Jay & Luigi
    3201 4th St. North, St. Petersburg  
     Set to open in July,  the Italian trattoria-style pizzeria will offer modern and traditional fare with pastas, salads, small plates, cauliflower rice bowls, and two types of pizza–New York and Roman-style aka pizza al taglio.
21 slides

Tampa Bay LGBTQ-owned restaurants and bars you should've tried by now

In honor of Pride month, we wanted to shine some light on Tampa Bay's thriving LGBTQ-owned bars, restaurants and clubs. Since pretty…

By CL Staff

The Cider Press Cafe   
    601 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 727-914-7222
    Apparently, this place has some star power, recently serving Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista. The Cider Press Cafe takes a health-conscious spin on the fine dining experience with their all-vegan menu. From the cafe’s “Schrimp” & Grits to its Beach Burger, The Cider Press Cafe offers a variety of plant-based, Florida-inspired dishes. Apparently, this place has some star power, recently serving Guardians of the Galaxy actor Dave Bautista.
    
    Photo via The Cider Press Cafe/Facebook
19 slides

The 30 hottest new restaurants in Tampa Bay right now

Now that you're fully-vaxxed, eating at restaurants is back, and a lot less scary. But Tampa Bay's dining scene has changed considerably…

By CL Staff

Gangchu
    6618 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa, (813) 723-4264
     Korean fried chicken and beer complete each other in this Seminole Heights former garage space. There’s also beef bulgogi cheesesteak, enough said.
30 slides

All the deals you can try during Tampa Bay Taco Takeover (Now-5/4)

Live every day like it's Taco Tuesday! Now through May the 4th, enjoy two full weeks of takeout and dine-in taco and…

By CL Staff

Haven
    2208 W. Morrison Ave, Tampa
    (813) 258-2233
    haventampa.com
    
    
    Buy three $5 tacos, get one free
    
    Enjoy three shaved beef tacos with coal roasted onions, danger sauce, cabbage, and smoked paprika to get a 4th taco free (yes, our duck fat tortillas are handmade to order)!
    
    Add on a Corona beer for $3 from 5 to 7 p.m. daily
    
    Takeout (call-in)
    Online ordering (pickup)
    Curbside pickup
    Dine-in
    
    Please note: Haven is closed on Sundays and will be closed for Bern’s Winefest private events on April 22nd, 23rd, and 24th.
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Everyone we saw at St. Pete's ‘VegFeast’ vegan food festival at Brick Street Farms

I had a very St. Petersburg Saturday last weekend, and it started with a quick trip to Brick Street Farms which hosted…

By CL Staff

Everyone we saw at St. Pete's ‘VegFeast’ vegan food festival at Brick Street Farms
65 slides

The 25 best Chinese food restaurants in Tampa Bay, according to Yelp

Here you'll find a few of the best local spots for Chinese cuisine, and to help come up with this list, Creative…

By CL Staff

11. Yummy House South 
    302 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, (813) 513-4788
     “Yummy House is my favorite Chinese place in South Tampa. You can't go wrong with anything you order!" - Anna M.
    Photo via Jonathan C./Yelp
25 slides

The 20 most-anticipated new Tampa Bay restaurants opening this spring

Last year was tough for local restaurants, and Tampa Bay said goodbye to plenty of iconic spots. The good news, spring is…

By CL Staff

Twisted Indian  
    
    2641 Central Ave., St. Petersburg 
    St. Pete Rising says the popular food truck is shooting for a spring opening for a brick and mortar location in St. Petersburg’s Grand Central neighborhood.  The menu will include some of the Indian food truck’s popular dishes like tikka masala naanwiches in addition to new items.
20 slides

20 Tampa Bay rooftop bars with incredibly scenic views

Tampa Bay actually has plenty of rooftop bars, but not all of them are paired with a scenic view. Here are a…

By CL Staff

SIX at JW Marriott   
    510 Water St., Tampa 
    Overlooking the hotel’s gorgeous rooftop pool and bay views, SIX creates an IG-worthy backdrop for visitors and hotel guests. Open for lunch and dinner reservations, the menu is an eclectic mix of chef crafted specialties from cocktails to hearty entrees. 
    
    Photo via EDGE’s website
20 slides

All the deals you can try for $10 or less during Tampa Bay Pizza Week (2/18-2/28)

Life happens, pizza helps. Tampa Bay Pizza Week is back! Now through February 28th, enjoy 10 days of pizza specials $10 and…

By CL Staff

Fabrica Pizza
    Multiple locations
    fabricapizza.com  
    $10 - Margherita pizza.
    Takeout (call-in), Dine-in
27 slides

Tampa Bay's 25 most romantic restaurants for dine-in or takeout

Here you'll find a few of the best local spots for Valentine dishes, and to help come up with this list, Creative…

By CL Staff

 6. Oak and Ola 
    1910 N Ola Ave., Tampa, (813) 773-1901
     “What an amazing experience, my friends and I enjoyed some libations and appetizers, about 20 of us all together. Service was prompt and Sal was a great server, I recommend him to any new comers because of his knowledge of the menu and his attentiveness. I will be back for sure, and can't wait to try more menu items!!" - Taylor S. 
    Photo via Jim C./Yelp
25 slides

Tampa Bay restaurants that closed their doors in 2020

The restaurant industry is a tough one to begin with, even in the best of times. 2020 has presented a whole bunch…

By CL Staff

Hall on Franklin  
    701 N. Franklin St., Tampa
    Tampa’s Hall on Franklin, the area's first food hall, closed in mid December following a lawsuit with the landlord. “As great as the original Franklin Street site was, there are certain things we were not able to do there, such as outside dining, adding a private dining room and other amenities that are especially important amid COVID-19,” founder Jamal Wilson told CL. Wilson's next concept, Hall at Midtown, is expected to open in 2021. 
    Photo via Colin Wolf
34 slides