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. If you'd like to retrace their hedonistic steps, here's a guide.
Sadly, the fictional male strip club Xquisite doesn't exist in real life. The closest we've got is Wilson's Sports Lounge, an unmistakably odd-looking dive on Fourth Street in St. Petersburg that doubled as the club's exterior. Inside, it's no-frills and smoky, with lots of darts, karaoke, NASCAR and sub-$2 Happy Hour drinks. (There's also a coin-push machine with a handwritten note: "Warning do not molest coin machine!" One wonders how they arrived at that precise wording.) While no scenes were shot inside, Tatum did shoot pool there while waiting for the cameras to roll.
Tatum and Alex Pettyfer filmed scenes inside and outside the Amphitheatre, a pumping nightclub on the Ybor City strip where Tatum actually worked during his Tampa years. The film portrays the Amp as a happening nightspot, but it doesn't do justice to the club's EDM pedigree. It's one of the top DJ destinations in town, having hosted performances by the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Flux Pavilion, Krewella, Ferry Corsten and — why not? — R. Kelly.
Pettyfer, Cody Horn and Reid Carolin filmed an awkward dinner date scene at The Bricks, which is funny, because The Bricks is about as easygoing a first-date spot as you're going to find in Ybor City. Opened by the folks from the Skatepark of Tampa, it's a hip, artsy joint that's far from hifalutin, serving new couture cocktails each week and hosting whimsical art and music parties.
Finally, there is Caddy's on the Beach on Sunset Beach in Treasure Island, another genuine weekend party destination. Here, Tatum and Pettyfer engage in some real talk over a couple of cold ones — a scene that you could probably find just about any weekend at Caddy's. But the party's not as wild as it once was — while the Caddy's portion of Sunset Beach is one of the few places you can legally drink on the beach, the hours to do so have been restricted by local ordinances.
At least one sleazy bar featured in Spring Breakers, the Ninth Street Pool Hall in St. Petersburg, is closed, as is St. Pete Beach's Coral Reef Motel, the gang's top party hangout. But a few of the film's drinking destinations still exist.
The Undertow in St. Pete Beach is where we first find James Franco's Alien, performing with local rapper Dangeruss at a beach concert. But this has been one of Tampa Bay's top beach-bar compounds since long before Spring Breakers, with a slew of rum-based cocktails and an impressive bottled craft beer selection, not to mention the mini-river built into its main bar. Good luck finding cheap parking nearby, but once you're there, you're set for the day.
For a taste of true Spring Breakers NSFW-ness, head to Hollywood Nites, a strip club in Tampa where Alien, Gucci Mane and the girls get into a tiff. On the DVD commentary for Spring Breakers, director Harmony Korine professes his love for this "shake joint," comparing the nudie club to a cockfighting pen.
Somehow, we don't think that'll appeal to the writers of Dolphin Tale 2.
Contributing: tbt* files