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Ultimate Bar Awards
Ultimate Bar Awards

Anchor Bar

A couple of years ago, the Associated Press reported that Davis Islands resident Derek Jeter had been spotted at the Anchor Bar, a narrow outpost for darts, craft beer, pub grub and beachy drinks. It is, ironically, one of Davis Islands’ only bars with an actual island theme, which may be what led Jeets there in the first place. With the sun setting on his career, the Captain could probably use a nice Rum Punch or South of the Border Mojito now and then. 304 E Davis Blvd., Tampa; (813) 483-4573, anchorbartampa.com.

Bilmar Station

Isn’t every Tampa sports bar a Bucs bar? Yeah, pretty much. But the old-school Bilmar Station is different. It's been around for years, and has a very solid craft beer selection, plus fun games like Sopranos pinball and a Skee-ball-like game called “Beer Ball.” There’s a Wall of Foam full of plaques honoring dedicated drinkers. This place may not have 100 giant flat-screens or an army of servers in tight-fitting referee tops, but it’s got a ton of lived-in character. 8501 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa; (813) 496-8898.

The Brass Tap

Sign up for the Brass Tap’s Brew Crew, and get ready to reap the rewards. Drink 50 different beers and you get a $10 gift card and a T-shirt. The gift card value goes up if you try 100 beers ($25), 200 ($50) and 300 ($200). And what if you get up to 2,000? At least one drinker at the Brass Tap in Brandon has reached that rarefied territory. For their most devoted customers, the Brass Tap comes up with new perks, like polo and brewer shirts or tickets to a beer festival. The Brass Tap has locations across Tampa Bay; see brasstapbeerbar.com.

Cigar City Brewing

There are plentiful options when it comes to fresh beer to go, and nowhere is this more true than at Cigar City Brewing. Every Tuesday, the brewery releases a new, limited release at noon, and a 32-oz. growler fill is only $8 (no gallons, unfortunately). Recent releases include White Oak Dragon Fruit IPA, French Oak Black Cherry Porter and Right Side Up Pineapple Cake lager. Forget your growler? An extra $1 gets you a “crowler” — a 32-oz. can, filled on site, that lasts longer than a traditional glass growler. 3924 W Spruce St., Tampa. (813)348-6363, cigarcitybrewing.com.

The Dubliner

Whenever you feel like things might be getting a little too turnt up in SoHo, that’s when you duck into the Dubliner, with its relaxing, inviting patio and dark, lived-in nooks and crannies. Most of the time, there’s at least a chance you’ll be able to hear yourself think while noshing on a Guinness-marinated burger. 2307 W Azeele St., Tampa; (813) 258-2257, thedublineririshpub.com.

The Stein & Vine

Wedged between a gun shop and a Family Dollar in southeast Brandon is the Stein and Vine, a cool and cozy wine, craft beer and tater tot bar. That's right: their burgers come with tots, which you can top with chili, cheese, jalapeños, onions, sour cream, bacon and/or a fried egg. As good as the food, beer and wine menus are, the chic atmosphere and friendly conversation is the real draw. Just keep your hands off our tots. 827 Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon; (813) 655-4786, thesteinandvine.com.

Peabody's Billiards

By day, it's one of Tampa Bay's biggest sports bars, with more than 70 TVs and giant screens, not to mention plenty of pool and foosball tables, poker and pool tournaments and other games. At night and on weekends, USF students flock here for the late-night party scene and jaw-dropping specials. Nickel-beer Tuesdays, $2 Burger Mondays, $7 liquor pitchers, $12.49 all-you-can-drink calls and wells at select happy hours ... the deals go on and on. 15333 Amberly Drive, Tampa; (813) 972-1725, peabodysbilliards.com.



James Joyce Irish Pub

In its new location away from the Seventh Avenue strip, Ybor City's James Joyce has a lot going for it. In addition to the 50 taps behind the bar, there's a stellar selection of Irish Whiskey and a popular loyalty club (or, as they call it, a "drinking team"). Bonus: From 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, get a 2-pound lobster for just $9.99. 1724 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City; (813) 247-1896, jamesjoyceybor.com



Hula Bay Club

It's practically hidden in a marina, but once you find it, you may not want to leave. Fine Hawaiian fare, shady dockside drinking and live parties at night — it's unique among South Tampa bars. 5210 W Tyson Ave., Tampa; (813) 837-4852, hulabayclub.com



Linksters Tap Room

This Central Florida chain (which also has a spot in Tampa) has many flat-screen TVs, a pair of Golden Tee machines and a popular text-based discount: Text a certain phrase to a certain number and you get 2-4-1 drinks. 1911 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon; (813) 654-3333, linksterstaproom.com



Fly

Led by ace mixologist Danny Guess, the bar staff is second to none (see Page 28 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide). But good food and a rooftop deck with its own distinct flavor make it a popular downtown happy hour destination. 1202 N Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 275-5000, flybarandrestaurant.com

 



The Lodge

It's a friendly and SoHo happy hour and late-night favorite with a homey vibe and cheeky sense of humor. Don't miss WTF Wednesdays, featuring $5 burgers, pizza, sushi, wings and select draft liters. For more, see Page 50 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide. 516 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 241-5634, cicciorestaurantgroup.com



MacDinton's SoHo

It's the big swingin' shillelagh of South Tampa party destinations, with an unkillable happy hour and Friday night vibe. The $10 open bar from 6 to 8 p.m. helps. A sister location in St. Petersburg also has proven successful. 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 251-8999, macdintons.com

MacDinton's SoHo where you find live music, using a mixture of bands and solo acts. Food is “traditional Irish fare with a twist.”

MacDinton's is also Tampa's exclusive spot for The Six Nation's Rugby, FA Cup, EPL and Champions League soccer. MacDinton's. "Tampa's home for everything soccer".

- See more at: http://www.macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa#sthash.GVjXDALh.dpuf

MacDinton's SoHo where you find live music, using a mixture of bands and solo acts. Food is “traditional Irish fare with a twist.”

MacDinton's is also Tampa's exclusive spot for The Six Nation's Rugby, FA Cup, EPL and Champions League soccer. MacDinton's. "Tampa's home for everything soccer".

- See more at: http://www.macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa#sthash.GVjXDALh.dpuf

MacDinton's SoHo where you find live music, using a mixture of bands and solo acts. Food is “traditional Irish fare with a twist.”

MacDinton's is also Tampa's exclusive spot for The Six Nation's Rugby, FA Cup, EPL and Champions League soccer. MacDinton's. "Tampa's home for everything soccer".

- See more at: http://www.macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa#sthash.GVjXDALh.dpuf


Sunset Grill

Bartender Jamie Johnson won tbt*'s 2011 Ultimate Bartender contest, but the Sunset Grill remains a popular SouthShore destination to this day, thanks to a tiki bar and waterside location that offers some of the best sunset views in Hillsborough County. (Oh, so that's where the name came from!) Located at the Little Harbor Resort and Club, 611 Destiny Drive, Ruskin; (813) 645-7739, sunsetgrillfl.com



Tiny Tap Tavern

It's comical to think that this ancient, smoky dive — which housed tbt*'s 2010 Ultimate Bartender, Kasey Mitchell — sits right across the street from SideBern's, maybe the swankiest cocktail joint in town. But trust us, plenty of penny-pinching locals prefer the Tiny Tap. 2105 W Morrison Ave., Tampa; (813) 254-3872.



Irish 31

The interior of this Hyde Park pub is slick and sleek, but it feels like a neighborhood pub (as one of our own writers discovered — see Page 33 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide). There's frequent live music, and it's the home base of an eponymous running club. 1611 W Swann Ave., Tampa; (813) 250-0031, irish31.com



O'Brien's Irish Pub

Brandon's premier Irish pub is actually much more than that. There's a family-restaurant feel to the place, especially on Thursdays, when kids eat free from 4 to 10 p.m. and, once a month, there's a kids' karaoke session. The rest of the week, it's a party-hard atmosphere, with live music, beer pong and tons of specials on shots, martinis and vodka drinks. 701 W Lumsden Road, Brandon; (813) 661-9688, obrienspubsbrandon.com



Tampa Tap Room

The strip-mall hangout formerly known as Tank's still has a really nice craft beer selection — on a recent visit, we found Gentlemen's Club, the new collaboration between Cigar City Brewing and Widmer Brothers that's meant to evoke an Old Fashioned. There's also a nice menu of Cajun fare. Blue Crab Beignets, anyone? 13150 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa; (813) 961-2337.



CHEAP

Cheap is more down-to-earth than its boisterous sister nightclubs Hyde Park Cafe and The Kennedy, and while some of its mojitos, martinis and cocktails may be questionably named (Mojito on Steroids? The Cougar?), they taste just fine. To help you soak it all up, the kitchen's open until 3 a.m. from Wednesday to Sunday for sushi, pizza and burgers. 309 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 258-5878, cheapinsoho.com



Hattricks

What Ferg's is to the Rays, Hattricks is to the Lightning. Located in a historic brick building, Tampa's top downtown sports bar is full of jerseys and memorabilia, with great pre- and post-game noshing and drink specials. 107 S Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 225-4288, sportsbartampa.com



Mr. Dunderbak's

Even before the craft beer boom, this German restaurant and biergarten was where true hopheads gathered for beer club meetings and to find ultra-rare imports like the Belgian lambic Cantillon's Rosé de Gambrinus (see Pages 46-47 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide) and even Westvleteren XII, often dubbed the world's best beer. 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa; (813) 977-4104, dunderbaks.com



Dallas Bull

Not only is the Bull Tampa Bay's biggest country nightclub (see Page 38 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide), it's possibly Tampa Bay's largest club, period. On Thursdays, upwards of 4,000 boot-scooters pile in for bull-ridin' fun. Past live concerts have included Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line. 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa; (813) 987-2855, dallasbull.com



Brass Tap Wesley Chapel

Like everything else at the Shops at Wiregrass, the Brass Tap has become a magnet for Wesley Chapel commuters. Not a lot of wine, but with more that 40 beers on tap and another 300 domestics, imports and crafts in a bottle, there's so much else to choose from that even Tampa beer lovers sometimes make the trip. 2000 Piazza Ave., Wesley Chapel, (813) 991-4343, brasstapbeerbar.com



Brass Tap Trinity

The sleek and sophisticated World of Beer may rule Tampa Bay's urban interiors. But the outskirts belong to the Brass Tap. Its six locations are scattered mostly in Tampa Bay's suburbs, commercial drags and shopping districts, where its massive craft beer menu is intensely appreciated. 10700 State Road 54, New Port Richey, (727) 376-2467, brasstapbeerbar.com



Brass Tap Dade City

Five separate Brass Tap locations (Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Trinity, Dade City and Lakeland) earned enough reader votes to rank in the top 50; add them all up and the Brass Tap would take the overall crown. 37916 Pasco Ave., Dade City, (352) 437-4887, brasstapbeerbar.com



Boots N Buckles

Tampa Bay's got some fine country bars (see Page 38 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide). Polk County's answer to them all is Boots N Buckles, a hotspot for pool, line dancing and concerts by artists like Easton Corbin, Thompson Square and Tracy Lawrence. 4951 U.S. Highway 98 N, Lakeland; (863) 815-2668, bootsnbucklessaloon.com