Make us your home page
Instagram

Club Enigma a cocktail bar and nightclub St. Pete can be proud of

A gay friend recently lamented that he was doomed to be represented by a rainbow for the rest of his life. I suppose it's pretty easy to feel trivialized in a society where sexual orientation is still a source of regular frustration on both extremes — patronization on one end, and intolerance on the other.

But a trip to downtown St. Pete — where rainbow flags hang from lampposts on parts of Central Avenue — made him happy to be living in an area and time where we all have a lot to be proud of. Heck, we have a whole weekend in St. Pete devoted to promoting LGBT equality: St. Pete Pride, a celebration filled with music, parades and other festivities.

The bulk of St. Pete Pride takes place in and around St. Pete's Grand Central and Edge districts, the latter having recently added a new LGBT hotspot called Enigma. Enigma is essentially a gay bar, but to that term tells you about as much about the place as a rainbow does about the personality of a gay friend.

Enigma is the creation of owner Ed Gonzalez, formerly of the immensely popular Georgie's Alibi. With a staff comprised mostly of fellow Georgie's alumni, Gonzalez opened Enigma last month, and judging by the always-crowded sidewalk in front of Enigma, it's a hit.

Enigma is interesting — no, I'm not going to invoke the club's name — in that it seems equally popular in the afternoon and early evening as it is late at night, when it's transformed into full club mode. I think the reason why is twofold: It has an airy openness resulting from the large cutaway opening at the entrance; and the happy hour is really long and really cheap.

On the first part: Enigma's interior is comprised of a few separate areas that have distinct functions but that all kind of blend together into one cohesive environment. There are café tables out front, which extend to the street-side bar seating at the entrance. Inside, there's a game area with blue-felted pool tables, opposite a large, winding bar that seats a couple dozen. It's cool inside, even in full sun, when the interior is bathed in natural light.

In the back resides an auxiliary bar and a DJ loft perched above a modest-sized dance floor. The arrangement is such that a full-on dance party can coexist with a group shooting pool, despite being only a few feet away from each other.

On the second point: The drinks at Enigma are not really nightclub-priced. Even on the weekends, a well drink will cost you $4 and a top-shelf cocktail won't go above $9. But on weekdays, all the way up to 9 p.m., everything — everything — is 2-for-1.

The selection is also relatively solid for a nightclub. There are eight beers on draft, including Cigar City Jai Alai, as well as a few of the bigger craft and crafty brands: Sam Adams Summer Ale, Blue Moon, Magic Hat #9, and Angry Orchard cider. There are only a few house wines. The liquor selection is very vodka-heavy, but gin fans will find a few options to work with here (hello, Hendrick's!), and there are a few good whiskies as well, including single malt scotches like Glenfiddich and small-batch bourbons like Woodford Reserve. If you find yourself drawn to the chilled Fireball whiskey dispensers, try a new twist: mix it in with a glass of Angry Orchard. It's better than you think.

Enigma puts a lot of emphasis on its nightclub gear, which includes cool LED lighting and a high-end sound system. It's a gay bar, but it's also a serious, professional club, which is something the Edge district was previously lacking.

This year's Pride is shaping up to be a big one, and I expect that Enigma is going to be a must-hit spot during the festivities. I think Enigma gives downtown St. Pete something to be proud of, too — another quality destination in an up-and-coming part of town, in the form of a friendly, spruced-up bar and club that's fun to be in, regardless of who you are.

— jg@saintbeat.com

Enigma

1110 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (954) 599-4085, enigmastpete.com

The vibe: Breezy, sunny cocktail bar by day; slick, modern dance club by night.

Booze: Beer, $4-$5; wine, $6.50; liquor, $4-$9. Happy hour is noon to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, featuring 2-for-1 on everything.

Specialty: As with most nightclubs, you'll find an impressive stock of novelty flavored vodkas. But unlike many nightclubs, you'll also find bartenders with a few chops and a willingness to make something a bit more imaginative than the typical vodka + mixer order. If you don't mind rolling the dice, just ask your bartender for their specialty. That's what I did, and I ended up with a Melon Martini, which was a vaguely candy-like but extremely delicious melon sipper. It probably wouldn't fare well on the dance floor, but it was a big cut above what I would usually expect from a go-for-it order at a standard club bar.

Hours: Open noon to 3 a.m. daily.

Club Enigma a cocktail bar and nightclub St. Pete can be proud of 06/24/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 5:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland

    Travel

    DUBLIN

    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.
  2. Great trailers for great movies: 1982's 'The Thing'

    Blogs

    John Carpenter knows how to make a movie. And even way back 35 years ago in 1982, Hollywood knew how to make great trailers for them. Keep in mind this was a rare moment of serendipity during a time when movie trailers were - frankly - just wince-worthy.

  3. Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)

    Attractions

    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

    BABY KOALA IS NOW OUT OF POCKET

    By Amber Grimes

    Times staff …

    Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother Adele's pouch since his birth.

TIMES | Tony Lopez
  4. Taste of Tampa Bay: Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Pam Prasad, who is originally from Guyana, runs Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market on 38th Avenue N in St. Petersburg with her two sons. Prasad loves to educate her customers about her food, customs and culture. The place is known for its variety of roti combinations, goat dishes and spices.

    Pam Prasad makes roti at Pam's Roti Shop at 2800 38th Ave N. in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Plan your weekend: June 30-July 2: Vans Warped Tour, fireworks, corgi races, Guardian Con, Dan TDM

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Vans Warped Tour: The shirtless and inked-up masses will once again descend upon St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park on Saturday to mosh and thrash to dozens of bands across seven stages. This year brings the likes of Gwar, thrash group Municipal Waste, Southern metal band Valient Thorr, …

    Corgi in the grass; Dog playing the the grass; iStockphoto.com