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  1. Mekenita Mexican Grille

    Editor's pick

    Lutz : 17623 N Dale Mabry Highway, Lutz, 33548

    Rand Packer, the celebrated former chef at Roy's in Tampa, chucked the fancy world of Hawaiian-style misoyaki butterfish for something new and different, aiming to fill a gap in the culinary landscape near his home in Lutz. It's a funky and affordable outpost of regional Mexican cuisine, cooking …

  2. The Birchwood

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 340 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, 33701

    One of St. Pete's swankiest spots, this renovated hotel opened in the summer of 2013 to large crowds waiting to schmooze on its rooftop bar overlooking St. Petersburg.The place on Beach Drive consists of a 225-seat fine-dining restaurant called Birch & Vine on the hotel's first floor, and th …

  3. Empouria, the Art of Beer

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 29 Third St. N, St. Petersburg, 33701

    Formerly the Independent, John Vellines' new venture emphasizes high end Belgian, German, and other European varieties including Polish and Czech, plus rare and vintage beers. Cork-finished beers and international beers from around the globe showcased different days of the week.Hours: open 4 p.m …

  4. Mermaid Tavern

    Editor's pick

    Seminole Heights : 6719 N Nebraska Ave., Tampa, 33604

    If there's one neighborhood in the Tampa Bay area that struck it rich last year, it's Seminole Heights. On the heels of cult faves like Ella's and the Refinery, Domani Bistro Lounge opened, the Capdevilla family (La Teresita) launched Sabroso and Mermaid Tavern became a go-to neighborhood water …

  5. Habibi Cafe & Hookah Bar

    Editor's pick

    St. Petersburg : 1632 E Seventh Ave., St. Petersburg, 33605

  6. Abbey Road

    Editor's pick

    Tyrone : 974 58th St. N, St. Petersburg, 33710

    There is feisty energy and rock 'n' roll all around you: the memorabilia and personal touches are everywhere. Beatles pictures, Howling Wolf and Janis Joplin concert posters are everywhere, and a wall dedicated to boxing champions. Full liquor bar and clean taps; Bollocks, Guinness, Boddington's …

  7. Stroker's

    Editor's pick

    Town 'n' Country : 11236 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, 33635

    Either Stroker's bar is a more than worthy destination to rack 'em up. Leagues meet here. Pros play here. With some 40 tables between the Tampa and Palm Harbor locations, this is no place to try to hustle the regulars, if you know what we mean. Not into pool? Try darts, shuffleboard, foosball an …

  8. Osceola Tavern

    Editor's pick

    East Pasco : 13941 Seventh St., Dade City, 33525

    The Osceola Tavern has only been around since 1999, but the building it's in has been a Dade City fixture since the 1890s, and was a saloon at least as far back as 1910. Classic rock jukeboxes, live music on weekends and a whole mess of folks who don't feel like heading to Hillsborough for a goo …

  9. Ka'Tiki

    Editor's pick

    South Pinellas beaches : 8803 W Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island, 33706

    When Jimmy Buffett sang of lost salt shakers and days lost to tequila, he was probably thinking of the Ka'Tiki, where being a beach bum is still considered a respectable profession. Strong, $3 cocktails, awesome tiki setting, great live music (provided you have a strong tolerance for Margaritavi …

  10. The Castle

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 2004 N 16th St., Tampa, 33605

    It's a Tampa landmark for a reason. Dark, twisted and pierced, it opened in 1992, and it kept going even as shiny new Centro Ybor opened across the street. Today, with all its spiderwebs and candles and curtains, the Castle is Tampa Bay's most popular goth club, by a wide, wide margin. But it's  …

  11. Four Green Fields

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 205 W Platt St., Tampa, 33606

    The oldest Irish pub of South Tampa's big three and the most prestigious in all of Tampa Bay, perhaps all of Florida, Four Green Fields proudly advertises itself as "America's only authentic thatched roof pub." There are also two wooden decks and a bar in the rear outside area. It's go …

  12. O'Keefe's Family Tavern and Grille

    Editor's pick

    Downtown Clearwater : 1219 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater, 33756

    The best Irish bars have a legend. Here's O'Keefe's: In 1972 or 1973, a car crashed through the bar, destroying much of an addition known as the Cedar Room. Among the casualties was a painting of a naked lady, which (as the story goes) is rumored to be the wife of late founder Bill O'Keefe. The  …

  13. Kahuna's Bar and Grill

    Editor's pick

    Gateway : 10515 Gandy Blvd. N, St. Petersburg, 33702

    It may not be the only place where Parrotheads and bikers can mingle in peace, but it's certainly the only place that also has a Lord of the Rings pinball machine. Even as a housing development is being built all around it, Kahuna's is still kicking in its spot across from Derby Lane, with games …

  14. Studio Inc.

    Editor's pick

    Tampa : 3603 W Waters Ave., Tampa, 33614

    The popular club mixes it up with the Best of Both Worlds Thursdays (that's hip-hop and reggaeton), hip-hop Fridays, Latin Saturdays and Sunday teen nights through the summer. Latin artists occasionally drop by for a live set. On the urban front, Ne-Yo and Ray J have performed there. And let's n …

  15. Green Iguana (S West Shore)

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 4029 S West Shore Blvd., Tampa, 33611

    The first Green Iguana emerged in a quiet neighborhood off South West Shore Boulevard. It's the smallest, funkiest and for the majority of South Tampa residents, the most beloved. The air-conditioned tiki bar out front is where rock bands and solo acoustic play every night. It's also where one o …

  16. Mirage

    Editor's pick

    Tampa : 3605 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa, 33614

    A lot of places offer salsa lessons, but this swanky spot is where people who already know how to dance come to get their groove on. Wednesdays and Fridays are officially Latin nights, with DJ Speedy Jr. spinning the hottest salsa, bachata, reggaeton and more from his sky box while couples dance …

  17. The Reservoir

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 1518 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 33605

    Quick, dirty and no-nonsense, the Reservoir is the best place to get a drink early in Ybor. Jager ($4 a shot) is the specialty, and you can easily walk in and stumble out 30 minutes later. Tip o' the cap to everyone's favorite barkeep, Mama, a finalist in tbt*'s 2009 Ultimate Bartender Contest.

  18. The Veranda at the Renaissance Vinoy

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 501 Fifth Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, 33701

    Walk up the stairs to the grand porch at the historic Vinoy Renaissance Resort and you might feel as if you're walking into The Great Gatsby. Old-school wicker benches and lounge chairs, outdoor fans, a view of the Vinoy Marina and the water ... on a cool spring evening, it's bliss. With its new …

  19. Zone Lounge

    Editor's pick

    Tarpon Springs : 121 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs, 34689

    Located in one of Tarpon Springs' oldest and most historic buildings, the Zone feels anything but dusty. With funky artwork covering exposed brick walls; antique copper ceilings; cabanas both indoors and out; a cool and relaxing patio; and plenty of bars and nooks in which to listen to live musi …

  20. Hammer Heads Billiard Lounge

    Editor's pick

    Holiday : 1916 U.S. 19 N, Holiday, 34667

    Hands down, the best pool bar in Tampa Bay. With 24 tables (including specialty tables for snooker and cushion billiards) and a slew of additional games, it's hosted exhibitions by pros like Hall of Famer Nick Varner and Jeanette "The Black Widow" Lee. At the same time, it's clean, cozy, classy  …

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