Make us your home page

Taps & Tequilas II a worthy successor to its St. Petersburg namesake

One downside to this gig is discovering new and interesting places, then watching them fail and close up shop. It's just part of business — weak location, high overhead, too small of a niche and other variables can all spell doom for even the most charming watering holes.

Fortunately, not many truly memorable bars go under so quickly. Even fewer go on to reappear a year or so down the road.

Taps & Tequila II (note the II) is one of these rare instances.

I was downright bummed when the old location went dark. It was an unusual spot, to say the least — a slick, neo-rustic tequila bar and taproom with a footprint that, quite honestly, was a bit too large for downtown St. Pete's interest in premium and house-infused tequilas could realistically sustain.

Its location was great — a short walk from Tropicana Field, and in an up-and-coming area of downtown that has been on the verge of making it big for a couple of years now — but the premise was a little out there for most. An outdoor beer garden and roomy, wood-rich lounge is great, but if you can't fill it with people, it doesn't mean much.

I'm not sure why the original spot closed, but I suspect it was a classic case of too much going out and not enough coming in. All I know for sure is that Taps & Tequila is back, and despite a surprising new twist, it's still got a lot of what made the original pretty cool.

Taps & Tequila II is now located even closer to the stadium than before, which may bode well for its success (post-gaming with a cold draft or top-shelf tequila sounds good to me). But if stadium proximity implies a built-in audience, then the fact that it's also located on the ground floor of the Urban Style Flats apartment complex means that a Taps & Tequila III may never be necessary. I'm glad I don't live there — my tequila bill would be through the roof.

The new Taps & Tequila takes a lot of the natural, wood-stained rustic look of the original and tosses it in with a funky, retro clubhouse look filled with plush swivel chairs that look like outtakes from the set of A Clockwork Orange; wood cutout room dividers; flickering skylights that are either severely malfunctioning or are intentionally programmed that way to mimic the inconsistent output of old-timey oil lamps; and about as many decorative wall mirrors as a well-stocked Bed, Bath and Beyond.

It's a nice place for residents to stop into for a nightcap, or before heading out for a night on the town, but it's also the kind of place you could spend all day at if you wanted to. Video games, pool and shuffleboard tables, a bookshelf filled with books and board games, an outdoor patio out front and another in back overlooking the pool, and a full-service kitchen give guests plenty of options, and that's not even saying anything about the drinks.

The old spot definitely had an edge in the taps department. This one is a little light on the beer, though there are a few decent options. Truthfully, though, it's always been about the tequila here, and nothing has changed in that regard. The cocktail list features a handful of tequila-based concoctions, there's a tequila list long and varied enough to interest even the most serious connoisseur, and the big draw from the start — a selection of house-infused tequilas available as flights or in cocktails — is still front and center behind the bar.

It's not necessary to look at Taps & Tequila II solely in the context of its predecessor, but it sure does retain a lot of the qualities that made it a repeat-visit destination for me a couple years ago. Even better, it gives me the chance to say something that I rarely get to do in this business: Welcome back. —

Taps & Tequila II

300 10th St. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 347-3408,

The vibe: A hip, eclectic bar and lounge specializing in house-infused tequila.

Food: Sides and appetizers, $2.95-$9.95; soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrées, $5.95-$11.95.

Booze: Beer, $3-$6; wine, $4-$7; liquor, $4-$9, with premium tequilas ranging from $10-$70.

Specialty: With nearly 40 tequilas on the menu, you can sample an impressive range of flavors (and prices) with little more than a glass and a table. But if you want to experiment, try one of the house cocktails (the High Maintenance, for example, is a vanilla Black Russian mixed with espresso-infused tequila) or the house-infused tequilas that many of them contain. Some, like the raspberry-lemonade and sweet-pepper versions, are intriguing in flight form (from single pours for $5, all the way up to the "retirement" flight of 8 for $30), while others, like the lime-sweet mint and cucumber-cilantro infusions, are more well-suited to cocktails.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday-Saturday.

Taps & Tequilas II a worthy successor to its St. Petersburg namesake 08/07/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2014 3:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bar review: The Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    I've spent many evenings in St. Pete's Jannus Live courtyard, enjoying one of the best open-air venues in the Tampa Bay area. It's where I saw my first concert in Florida: Toadies, on the Rubberneck tour sometime in the mid '90s.

    The drinks at the Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg are about as cheap as you’ll find at any other regular downtown bar, a nice surprise.
  2. Local craft beer of the week: Two Henrys Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

    Bars & Spirits

    Two Henrys Brewing Company is a unique entity in the Tampa Bay brewing scene, due to both its status as the only brewery in Plant City, as well as its location on a 27-acre working farm, which also includes a winery.

    Photo by Justin Grant
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 26


    Train: One of the most engaging frontmen in rock, Pat Monahan, brings along O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield for their annual trip through Tampa. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $21.50-$191. (813) 740-2446.

    LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 12:  Singer Pat Monahan of Train performs as the band kicks off the Play That Song Tour in support of the album "A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat" at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 12, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) 700034174
  4. Interview: Todd Rundgren comes to St. Petersburg looking to reach a new generation

    Music & Concerts

    They're teaching Todd Rundgren in college now.

    Todd Rundgren will perform at the Mahaffey Theater on May 27. Credit: Lynn Goldsmith
  5. Volcano Bay, with waterproof wristbands that eliminate lines, now open at Universal Orlando


    ORLANDO — Universal Orlando opened its third park on Thursday, this one a resort-style water attraction called Volcano Bay that features a waterproof wristband that promises to eliminate lines.

    Universal Orlando opened its third park, on May 25, 2017, this one a resort-style water attraction called Volcano Bay that features the first waterproof wristband that promises to eliminates lines. [Willie J. Allen Jr. | for Universal Studios]