Bring blankets and chairs for two nights of a Labor Day salute and family fun with carnival rides, games, live music and fireworks (9:30 p.m. both nights). Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase.
Price:Free (rides additional).
This casual family-friendly restaurant makes all the right moves to be a sports bar, too: NFL Ticket, NHL Center ICE, ESPN college packet, Big 10 net and all the UFC fights. It touts its homemade food, including daily fresh soups, and is known for its wings and baby back ribs.
Combined with adjacent Rumba (also Baystar Restaurant Group), Salt Rock Tavern is making Oldsmar something of a party scene. You'll want to focus on the beer list, a jubilant paean to Tampa Bay's thriving suds scene with Cigar City, Tampa Bay Brewing and most of the other big names represented. A short list of house cocktails precludes any easy choices — a blackberry bourbon lemonade is a real charmer with its slight cardamom infusion. The menu hits some contemporary notes: a kale salad heavy on sweet peanut butter flavor; and French onion soup dumplings, a dish borrowed from Baystar's Marlin Darlin, is like a richly flavored soupless soup. Still, simple is good, like the brined, smoked rotisserie chicken with buttery garlic mashed potatoes, or a hot, open-faced filet mignon sandwich smothered in peppers and onions and given a luscious drizzle of Maytag blue aioli.
Hours: 4-10:30 p.m. mon.-Thur., 4-11:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. brunch, then 2-9 p.m. dinner on Sun.
Read a review here.
FlameStone is lovely, with a masculine, clubby design that includes dark wood floors, fieldstone walls and a sleek stainless-steel open kitchen, tiny glass pendant lamps warming the space with golden light. The menu consists of mid-priced steaks, rotisserie meats and an appealing lineup of froufrou-topped flatbreads. Servers and bartenders are breezy but professional, apt to strike up merry conversation with those ensconced at the long, glamorous bar. In an upscale American idiom like Bonefish Grill or Stonewood Grill and Tavern, FlameStone is a good value: A golden-skinned half chicken gets a lively dry rub and is paired with a generous scoop of red-skinned mashed potatoes, super buttery, and a jumble of grilled asparagus stalks and tender-crisp julienned carrots for about $15.
This boot-scootin' stalwart was once nominated for the Academy of Country Music's Nightclub of the Year Award (a distinction on which it's been coasting for maybe a little too long, but whatever). There's not as much live music as there used to be - Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith played here - but there are still loads of drink specials and a huge line-dancing floor, with regular lessons.