‘Zola’: All the Tampa Bay filming sites we saw in the Florida-based film

The many corners of Tampa Bay are the backdrop of "Zola," the new film inspired by the viral Twitter thread from A’Ziah “Zola” King in 2015.

The movie is not only based on a true story that happened over an intense, wacky 48-hour period in Tampa Bay, it was also filmed here in the last months of 2018.

King, who spoke to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay ahead of the movie’s release, said she and director Janicza Bravo had the same goal in mind: to make the movie authentic to Tampa, to Florida, to 2015 and to her life at the time.

Bravo also said filming in the Tampa Bay area was essential to telling #TheStory through film.

Through roughly 90 minutes, there are about 19 recognizable Tampa Bay area landmarks. The following filming sites were featured in the film but don’t necessarily show where King’s 2015 trip took place.—Chelsea Zukowski

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Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club
Three local adult entertainment clubs are featured prominently in the film, as Zola (Taylour Paige) and Stefani make their way around the area to dance for cash. Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club in Largo notably is the setting for a scene showing Zola’s skill with the pole on a mirror-backdropped stage. Scores Tampa and Players Club Tampa also have quick scenes of women dancing on their stages.
Photo via A24

Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club

Three local adult entertainment clubs are featured prominently in the film, as Zola (Taylour Paige) and Stefani make their way around the area to dance for cash. Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club in Largo notably is the setting for a scene showing Zola’s skill with the pole on a mirror-backdropped stage. Scores Tampa and Players Club Tampa also have quick scenes of women dancing on their stages.
Photo via A24
The Ranch House Grill
Keep an eye out in the early scenes of the film when Zola and Stefani first meet and exchange numbers while Zola is working at a ranch-themed restaurant. Unfortunately, The Ranch House Grill on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa permanently closed in 2019.
Photo via Google Maps

The Ranch House Grill

Keep an eye out in the early scenes of the film when Zola and Stefani first meet and exchange numbers while Zola is working at a ranch-themed restaurant. Unfortunately, The Ranch House Grill on Gandy Boulevard in Tampa permanently closed in 2019.
Photo via Google Maps
Publix at Dolphin Village Shopping Center
No, Zola and the rest don’t go inside Publix to grab Pub Subs, but the bright green sign of Florida’s favorite grocery store chain makes a cameo in the film. Specifically, the Publix and shopping plaza across from the St. Pete Beach access and the Dolphin Beach Resort. One hilarious shot shows Derek running through the Publix parking lot.
Photo via A24/Twitter

Publix at Dolphin Village Shopping Center

No, Zola and the rest don’t go inside Publix to grab Pub Subs, but the bright green sign of Florida’s favorite grocery store chain makes a cameo in the film. Specifically, the Publix and shopping plaza across from the St. Pete Beach access and the Dolphin Beach Resort. One hilarious shot shows Derek running through the Publix parking lot.
Photo via A24/Twitter
Players Club Tampa
Three local adult entertainment clubs are featured prominently in the film, as Zola (Taylour Paige) and Stefani make their way around the area to dance for cash. Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club in Largo notably is the setting for a scene showing Zola’s skill with the pole on a mirror-backdropped stage. Scores Tampa and Players Club Tampa also have quick scenes of women dancing on their stages.
Photo via A24

Players Club Tampa

Three local adult entertainment clubs are featured prominently in the film, as Zola (Taylour Paige) and Stefani make their way around the area to dance for cash. Atlantis Gentlemen’s Club in Largo notably is the setting for a scene showing Zola’s skill with the pole on a mirror-backdropped stage. Scores Tampa and Players Club Tampa also have quick scenes of women dancing on their stages.
Photo via A24
Westshore Grand TampaThe Westshore Grand Tampa’s tropical atrium and one of its suites are also stars of Zola. The hotel on Kennedy Boulevard is the first luxury stop for Zola and Stefani after X puts them both on Backpage, a classified ad website that was shut down in 2018 after authorities said it was promoting sex trafficking. In the film, Zola starts to piece together who X really is (Stefani’s pimp) and convinces Stefani to start charging more if she’s going to have sex for cash.
Photo via A24

Westshore Grand Tampa

The Westshore Grand Tampa’s tropical atrium and one of its suites are also stars of Zola. The hotel on Kennedy Boulevard is the first luxury stop for Zola and Stefani after X puts them both on Backpage, a classified ad website that was shut down in 2018 after authorities said it was promoting sex trafficking. In the film, Zola starts to piece together who X really is (Stefani’s pimp) and convinces Stefani to start charging more if she’s going to have sex for cash.
Photo via A24

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