It's ironic that Tampa Bay WaVE — an entrepreneur incubator with an eye on growing Tampa's tech startups — keeps its offices in a century-old building originally used as an auditorium for the adjacent Masonic Lodge.
The juxtaposition of historic Tampa and modern tech is even more pronounced one elevator stop above WaVE, now home to the Attic Cafe & Bar, a fourth-floor coffee shop, bar and restaurant that's now a popular lunch destination and meeting spot for local professionals.
On the modern side, you have power strips under the bar, web-based ordering via WaVE startup Torchfi and free Wi-Fi for getting some work done as you sip afternoon coffee from Tampa's Buddy Brew.
Then there's the history, including a painting from Ferdie Pacheco, a self-taught artist who grew up in Ybor City and famously went on to act as Muhammad Ali's personal physician and cornerman throughout most of the '60s and '70s. The Attic also keeps a rotating display of vintage Sports Illustrated magazines from a local collector who has issues dating back to the mid '50s.
The key feature of the Attic is its narrow patio and balcony, which overlooks City Hall and a handful of other downtown Tampa landmarks. It's not a bad place for a morning cup of coffee, and it's a great option to kick off an evening downtown.
You won't be able to spend an entire evening at the Attic, though, as it's only open until 8 p.m. on weekdays, and it's closed on Saturdays! There's Sunday brunch, but after 2 p.m. you'll need to relocate. The quirky hours make sense when you consider the original purpose of the Attic, which was to serve as a breakfast, lunch and after-work drink spot for its building mates.
There's a concise drink menu, featuring 10 rotating beers on tap (mostly local breweries like Cigar City, 3 Daughters, Coppertail and Yuengling) as well as a handful of big-name brews and some additional craft options in bottles. There are just over a half-dozen wine selections available by the glass, as well as locally brewed kombucha from Kombucha Tampa.
Although small, the Attic features the usual beer bar amenities, like four-sample flights ($8) and growler fills (also available for kombucha). The daily lunch special from Chef Rosa is posted above the bar.
If you find yourself in downtown, you'd do well to pop into the Attic. It may be nothing fancy, but it's a smart use of an old space in an increasingly modern environment — plus the great view. It's no surprise that word has spread well outside the building, bringing in folks from downtown and beyond for some food, brews and views.
Contact Justin Grant at [email protected] Follow @WordsWithJG.