Editor's pick Award winner
601 S Harbour Island Blvd., Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 277-0112 Reserve now
Awards: Wine Spectator
Cost range: 20.01-100.0
Payment options: Credit cards accepted
Alcohol: Full bar
Lounge, patio, sushi bar and waterfront dining room of steaks and seafood all spill over this busy station on the downtown cruising scene. It's got an extensive wine list, plus good views of other people's boats and condos. The bar scene: On any night of the week, Jackson's is a fine place to sip something top-shelf, immerse yourself in swank and possibly spot an athlete. The waterfront venue also has possibly the best vantage point of anywhere for the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion. And when celebs come to town, they're sure to drop by. Paris Hilton, Pete Wentz, Ashlee Simpson, Benji Madden and various Playmates have been spotted there. But on Friday nights, Tampa's sexiest bistro transforms into something more: a pulsating nightclub. Fantasy Fridays offer something for everyone: Top 40 music on the patio; '70s, '80s and '90s tunes in the lounge; and house music in the restaurant. Then there are the professional dancers, stilt walkers, flame throwers and magician. And yet it doesn't come off like a carny family reunion. The vibe is sleek, sexy — and packed. Mike Piper, president of Pied Piper Productions, which organizes the weekly bash, puts the Friday crowd at 1,600 to 1,800, depending on the weather. Jackson's is especially popular for birthdays and bachelor parties, with many folks opting for bottle service at a table or cabana. "We give the people the ability to have a party within a party," Piper says. On holidays, Jackson's pulls out even more stops. Check out Jackson's Third of July fireworks display, and don't miss the annual Hell-O-ween party on the last Friday in October. At least 2,000 guys and ghouls flock there for the $2,000 costume contest.