The Gasparilla Parade of Pirates and surrounding events will take over a large swath of South Tampa on Saturday.
Driving in the area will, as always during the festival, be a nightmare, and a quick escape after the parade via Uber will be impossible with all the traffic. You'll probably be ready to keep the party going, but you'll also be on foot.
With all that in mind, here are a few of our favorite bars — all within walking distance of the parade — for hanging out after (or before, or during) Gasparilla. Note that many of them have special hours and entertainment for the occasion.
Four Green Fields, 205 W. Platt St., 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.: This old-school Irish pub featuring soccer memorabilia and "America's only authentic thatched roof" is a stone's throw away if you're watching the parade or floatilla from the prime viewing area along the Hillsborough River near the Platt Street bridge. They're opening early to host a huge party with live music.
Irish 31, 1611 W. Swann Ave., 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.: Another Irish pub, but a much newer one with more of a modern vibe, lots of hardwood, and a lot more of an open feel with big windows to let in sunlight and a pretty big courtyard with seating on the edge of the Hyde Park Village shopping complex. The food is good, although they will have an abbreviated menu that day.
Bartaco, 1601 W. Snow Ave., open 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.: Want tequila? This place has almost 40 varieties of the stuff, plus a good variety of mezcal, and it's all available in flights or in one of their Latin-inspired cocktails. Plus there's cheap tacos with your choice of 12 different fillings, and a novel ordering system for quick service. They'll have the place decked out in pirate decor and be serving a special, off-the-menu taco that day.
Bella's Italian Cafe, 1413 S. Howard Ave., open 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.: Strictly speaking, Bella's isn't a bar, but a comfy, mid-range Italian restaurant that happens to have a large bar with plenty of wines, plus tasty pizzas and big portions of pasta. It also happens to be the shortest walk from the parade route to any of the Soho spots on this list.
Edge, 1207 S. Howard Ave., open 9 p.m. (5 p.m. for hotel guests) until midnight: The high-end cocktail bar on the roof of the Epicurean hotel (the only rooftop bar in the area) offers a great view of South Tampa and the party central South Howard Avenue, which should be especially interesting during Gasparilla). It's also just a short walk if you're watching the parade on Bayshore.
Dubliner, 2307 W. Azeele St., open 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.: If you're on Bayshore, you'll have to make your way a little further north on South Howard Avenue to get to this one, and that will be an adventure during Gasparilla, but when you arrive you'll be rewarded with a great Irish pub with live music on the patio and a dozen kinds of beer at the bar. There will be a cover (depending on crowd size), and no backpacks are allowed.
Yeoman's Cask and Lion, 11 a.m to 1 a.m., 202 N. Morgan St., open 11 a.m. to midnight: This 4,800-square-foot English bar and restaurant serves up a range of pub grub, has a full liquor bar and a covered patio. The wood slats that cover the interior, and the artwork of British icons such as David Bowie make it one of the most coolest-looking bars in Tampa, and they'll have specials, including $5 Captain Morgan drinks all day, and $4 Rock Brothers beers after 8 p.m., plus live music.
Franklin Manor, 912 N Franklin St., open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.: This new, downtown hot spot features a slick indoor lounge area with bumping music, plus a large outdoor patio area with another bar, a stage and more (sometimes live) bumping music. They have some interesting small bites, and they're planning an all-day brunch party, with lots of frosé, which is frozen rosé, during Gasparilla.
Fly, 1202 N. Franklin St., 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. (kitchen closes midnight): Great food that's perfect for sharing (try the truffle mac and cheese), a beautifully hip atmosphere (brick, wood, and minimal), rooftop patio, and well-stocked bar with knowledgeable bartenders add up to one of downtown Tampa's best spots for any occasion. It's also only four blocks from where the parade ends.
Hidden Springs Ale Works, 1631 N. Franklin St., open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m., 1631 N. Franklin St.: This craft brewery definitely feels "hidden" in a nondescript building in the up-and-coming neighborhood, but it's comfy inside and there's always a unique selection of about 20 brews on the board. Take the Riverwalk north to Waterworks Park. From there it's a short stroll. Come dressed in pirate gear and get B.O.G.O. core drafts from open to close during Gasparilla.