Get ready to raise your glass tomorrow evening and kiss the guy or gal who's standing next to you. (So plan accordingly.) Champagne season is here. While nearly every bar, restaurant and party will toast the new year with a glass of bubbly, some places break out the champagne year-round. Here's a handful of places that spotlight the sparkling stuff on a regular basis, embracing the notion that any occasion is special enough for champagne.
Susan Thurston, Times staff writer
Champagne Lounge at the Venue
Choose from more than 25 sparkling wines in the club's champagne room, a.k.a. the "champagne pit.'' Steps from the dance floor and outdoor Cabana Deck, the pit attracts birthdays and bachelor/bachelorette parties. Guests can get table service or order from the VIP bar. Champagne comes by the glass, mini bottles and magnums big enough to christen a ship. 2675 Ulmerton Road, St. Petersburg; (727) 571-2222; thevenueclub.com.
Champagne Wars at Drynk
This SoHo bar declares war with fluted glasses and bottles of champagne delivered by a parade of servers with sparklers. The victor? The person who buys the most bottles. The winner gets a cool prize, usually a magnum of something special. No word yet on the next champagne war, but you can check out a recent one on YouTube. 302 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 251-5552; thedrynksoho.com.
Pirate Champagne Sunset Cruise
Toast the good life with some sparkling wine aboard a Captain Memo cruise. The cruises run from 5 to 7 p.m. and include your fill of champagne, beer and wine. For the kiddies, there's face painting, games and water gun fights. The ship sails daily. Tickets are $39 for adults, $31 for teens and seniors, and $26 for children ages 3 to 12. Leaves from the Clearwater Marina, 25 Causeway Blvd.; (727) 446-2587; captainmemo.com.
Sunday Champagne Brunch at Shephard's Beach Resort
Sure, most Sunday brunch spots serve champagne, but not all of them include champagne in the name. Shephard's gives each diner a glass of champagne with the $22.95 brunch. The spread includes omelets, prime rib, crab legs, eggs Benedict, oysters, sushi and all the typical breakfast and lunch fare. Served 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. 601 S Gulfview Blvd., Clearwater; (727) 441-6875; shephards.com.
Ultimate Ladies Night at Aja Wiregrass
Ladies get the royal treatment on Thursdays with free champagne from 10 p.m. to midnight. Admission is free all night, and cocktails are $1 from 9 to 11 p.m. Birthday or bachelorette/bachelor parties get a free bottle of champagne with the purchase of any bottle of liquor. The Shops at Wiregrass, 28211 Paseo Drive, Wesley Chapel; (813) 994-0002; ajawiregrass.com.