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Raise a lighter to Tampa Bay's best live music bars




Some of you may have been following tbt*'s countdown of Tampa Bay's 100 best bars over on our cousin site, Wingman.

Our choice for Tampa's "Ultimate Live Music Bar" was no surprise: Skipper's Smokehouse (No. 14, shown here with Sarge and the Aeromen at a recent Cure tribute concert), which has kept aging hippies full of conch fritters for decades. Here's what we wrote:

Is it a stretch to call Skipper's a "drinking destination?" Not if you've ever sat beneath the Skipperdome listening to the Black Keys, or Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, or Ralph Stanley, or Alejandro Escovedo, or the Red Elvises, or Damon Fowler, or ... look, we could obviously carry this on all day. Skipper's is one of the 5 to 10 things Tampa music fans love most about living here, a ramshackle roots-blues-hippie barbecue joint whose giant, sandy, picnic-tabled open-air arena incorporates a giant live oak tree. Raining? Head inside and grab a seat at the cozy Oyster Bar, where the walls are covered in band stickers and the conversation is free-flowing and friendly. Old Florida at its finest, it's like our own little corner of Austin's fabled Sixth Street.

Other notable music bars and clubs on the list, divided by genre:

DJs: Hyde Park Cafe (No. 1), Czar (2), Jackson's Bistro (8), Floyd's at the Hard Rock (9), Push Ultra Lounge (18), AJA Channelside (27), the Kennedy (59),

Hip-hop/Latin: Club Skye (31), Prana (32), Mirage (70), Studio Inc. (74), Empire (89)

Rock/indie: The Hub (12), New World Brewery (37), Bourbon Street (39), the Castle (40), Yeoman's Road Pub (42), Market on 7th (55), Crowbar (78),

Blues/rockabilly: Dave's Aqua Lounge (15), Ringside Cafe (35), the Garage (98)

Punk/metal: Dunedin Brewery (3), The Emerald (17), the Brass Mug (88), Neptune Lounge (90), Pegasus Lounge (95)

Karaoke/piano: O'Maddy's (54), Friendly Tavern (67), Howl at the Moon (96)

Country: Dallas Bull (4)

And let's not forget the Green Iguana. Various locations are known for rock, blues and world-class DJs. All six Green Iguanas (Iguanae?)  came in at No. 45, with a bullet.

We've already had one person tell us Orpheum should have been on the list. (Craig Finn probably thinks so, too.) What else are we missing? And what do you think of our chioce for No. 1?

-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*. Photo by Leigh Armstrong.

[Last modified: Monday, June 29, 2009 2:00pm]


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