Ultimate Bar Guide 2013

Video: #PlayTampaBay's ultimate bar guide picks

In this week's Play Tampa Bay, Michelle and Katie offer a taste of this year's Ultimate Bar Guide, from the ultimate happy hour to a place that does molecular mixology. For more things to do, head …

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'Beertails' bring beer, liquor together at Tampa Bay bars

By now, Tampa Bay is well-established as a craft beer hotbed. And it's got a respectable cocktail scene, too. So why not combine the two? Yeah, yeah, beer and liquor snobs may scoff (or gag) …

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Tampa Bay's best tiki bars deliver plenty of South Seas surprises

Beach bars are a dime a dozen here in Tampa Bay. Tiki bars? Totally different story. There is a difference, too. Here in Florida, beach bars are all about flip-flops, mojitos and Margaritav …

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  1. Ultimate quest takes tbt* to unique Tampa Bay bars

    Bars & Spirits

    Two years ago, I introduced tbt*'s annual Ultimate Bar Guide with a simple question: Why do we drink?

    The author’s quest for a tiki bar led him to his favorite local lounge, Zom Hee Chinese Restaurant in Seminole. This Instagram, like so many others, was tagged #tampabaydrinks.
  2. Molecular mixology hits Tampa Bay with creative, boundary-pushing cocktails

    Bars & Spirits

    Molecular gastronomy: A movement borne of kids who refused to choose between an Easy Bake Oven or a chemistry set. When I first heard about The Aviary in Chicago, I knew that this avant-garde approach to cooking would inevitably find a comfortable niche in the cocktail world.

    Edison Food + Drink Lab bartender Ryan Pines whips up a Southern Telegraph cocktail.
  3. Hunting for prized bourbon Pappy Van Winkle 23 in Tampa Bay bars

    Bars & Spirits

    It was another slow day at the office — the sun engaged in heated battle with the drawn vertical blinds, the desk fan shifting the temperature just barely back into the double-digits. The coffee in the pot was stale, which meant it was time to crack open the office bourbon, located in the filing cabinet under "B" …

  4. Searching South Tampa for my own personal Cheers

    Bars & Spirits

    Here it was, Sunday night again.

    In less than 24 hours, I'd be back in my rolling desk chair, banging away at a keyboard and watching the clock. It was my last chance to eat, drink and be merry before another week of work began.

    The Wine Exchange: Close, but not quite.
  5. Tampa Bay's best bar games: Table tennis, Skee-Ball, Connect Four and more

    Bars & Spirits

    Everyone loves bar games, but let's face it: There's not a lot a variety out there.

    That is, until you look for it.

    Travis Wilson and Stephany Owens play a game of Shut the Box at the Palm Harbor House of Beer.
  6. 'Magic Mike,' 'Spring Breakers' locations offer drinks, debauchery galore

    Bars & Spirits

    Two of the most buzzed-about, trash-tastic, guilty-pleasure movies of the past 14 months were filmed right here in Tampa Bay: Magic Mike and Spring Breakers. And wouldn't you know it — during filming, Channing Tatum, Selena Gomez, Matthew McConaughey and James Franco hit a few local watering holes. …

  7. Not a fan of India Pale Ale? These beer bars want to change your mind

    Bars & Spirits

    In the craft beer game, there's no room for snobbery.

    Terrapin’s Hopsecutioner IPA: A winner at World of Beer in St. Pete?
  1. Beer by the beach: Mad Pub in Madeira Beach may have Tampa Bay's best Florida beer selection

    Bars & Spirits

    Someone recently asked me if I knew any places with a good beer selection on St. Pete Beach. I've heard the Undertow has a pretty solid list, but I haven't been there in years and couldn't confirm. Any others? House brews at R Bar in Treasure Island, and, well, nothing else came to mind.

     MadPub, a beach bum bar in John’s Pass, has possibly the best beer selection in the area.
  2. BellaBrava owners hire Top Chef's Jeffrey Jew for new restaurant project

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — After a short turn on Bravo's Top Chef at the end of 2012, Washington, D.C., rising star Jeffrey Jew found himself relocating to St. Petersburg's Old Northeast neighborhood. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who had cooked in Florence, London and New York, he was, he said, …

    Jeffrey Jew
  3. Make-ahead Easter brunch of creme brulee casserole, sliders, quiche

    Cooking

    Brunch is my favorite meal these days, and I know I'm not alone.

    The options are endless when you have brunch at home, but I often focus my spread around quiche. It’s a classic choice and a good one to serve to friends because it’s instantly a step up from the everyday breakfast.
  4. Taste test: blueberry pancake mixes

    Taste Test

    Blueberry pancakes make any breakfast seem special. Our tasters prefer to add their own berries, but when they don't have a chance to get fresh fruit, a boxed mix will do the trick. We sampled seven brands of blueberry pancake mix and prepared them according to package directions. All seven were cooked on a stovetop …

    iStockphoto.com
  5. Wine of the Week: 2011 Mettler Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon

    Bars & Spirits

    When we last wrote about California's Mettler Family Vineyards it was to extol the considerable charms of the winemaker's '09 "Epicenter" Lodi Zinfandel. We've recently tasted the '11 and it is likewise a very fine zin. Today, though, we're heaping praise on the 2011 Mettler Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon, which goes …