I don't believe in luck, at least not the way the average person does, and I certainly don't hold much stock in astrology. I realize how boring and terribly un-romantic that may seem, so perhaps we'll call it sheer good fortune that my editor insisted I visit a "lucky" bar for this issue.
Occasionally a bar flies below my radar for a while before I'm tipped off, and I wonder how I hadn't heard of it earlier. Such was the case with Mr. Sun's Lucky Star Lounge, located behind the liquor store that shares its name on St. Pete's Central Avenue. I wasn't keeping track of the alignment of the stars, but I did feel fortunate to discover this bar, a pleasant and cheerful place that happens to be pretty light on the wallet as well.
The Lucky Star is a gay bar, a niche that is well-filled in the Grand Central district. It's small, with a three-sided bar, a pool table and video bowling machine, and little else. The minimalist space puts the emphasis entirely on the bar, which is accentuated with backlit bottles of many varieties, especially flavored spirits, such as the now-ubiquitous Pinnacle vodkas and the less-common Fireball cinnamon-flavored whiskey.
Although most patrons had a beer at hand, the selection is limited to the standards, with a few basic major-label craft beers rounding out the lineup. No problem here, as the beers were only chasers to the various mixed drinks being sipped. Cocktails and shots are the name of the game here, from fruity concoctions made up of brightly colored well liquors and mixers, to classics mixed just stiff enough to make you think about it.
I've been told that the policy here is to pour a 2-ounce shot rather than the standard 1.5-ounce, which seemed to be true and then some during my visit. A bartender who's slightly heavy-handed is always welcome, and when the prices are what they are at the Lucky Star, it's somewhat of a lock bet.
Our bartender was also exceedingly friendly, a trait that extended to the rest of the patrons, who were all quite amicable themselves. The music was set at a level conducive to conversation, allowing the whole bar to be part of the same discussion, an advantage of the small, intimate setting. Sometimes I like to be left to my own business in a bar, and sometimes I enjoy agreeable company and conversation. This bar is well-suited for the latter.
With leisure time such a valuable commodity in many people's busy schedules, visiting new places tends to fall by the wayside, with folks often sticking to their usual haunts. As a general rule, I would challenge these people to always be trying something new, increasing the chance that they'll stumble upon a place that they really enjoy, as I did at the Lucky Star. If it helps, you can consult your actual lucky star or even a talisman of some sort; with a little luck, you might find a good time at a place you didn't even know existed until now.