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  1. Columbia Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 2117 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 33605

    The granddaddy of them all, Columbia Restaurant bears the distinction of being the oldest restaurant in Florida as well as the nation's largest Spanish/Cuban restaurant, with 13 rooms extending one full city block. Some of these waiters have been here a lifetime, there are stirring flamenco show …

  2. Dunedin Brewery

    Editor's pick

    Dunedin : 937 Douglas Ave., Dunedin, 34698

    The Scottish regalia is fitting, since the stone-walled Dunedin Brewery looks a bit like a highlander's castle. Equally breathtaking are the ginormous brewing vats inside, which are known for producing nine phenomenal, award-winning beers like the Redhed Red Ale, as well as a swimming selection  …

  3. Tampa Bay Brewing Co.

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 1600 E Eighth Ave., Suite 123, Tampa, 33605

    They brew their own beer, and it's damn good. They make their own pizza dough with that beer, and it's damn good, too. Beer-infused menu items like the Iron Rat Stout crab cakes and jalapeno beer cheese soup - well, they're also pretty damn delightful. But if you've lived your entire life in Tam …

  4. Bern's Steak House

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 1208 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    Naysayers can grouse, but there's no denying the fine meat and one of the world's best and cheapest wine lists. You can drink back through 20 years in Spanish, Italians, Rhones and zins for $75 or less. Lighten up and relax; just exploring the menu's new additions takes time. Dessert takes more. …

  5. New World Brewery

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 1313 E Eighth Ave., Tampa, 33605

    Beloved by the Chucks-and-hornrims set for hosting early concerts by artists like My Morning Jacket, Animal Collective and Okkervil River, New World is a fixture for any local band that hopes to make a name for itself in Central Florida. The shedlike outdoor stage is still as intimate a setting  …

  6. Ceviche St. Pete

    Editor's pick

    Downtown St. Petersburg : 95 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, 33701

    That cocktail of marinated fish is only one item on the biggest spread of hot and cold tapas laid out on both sides of the bay. The Tampa location is dark and cozy, St. Pete's open to the embarcadero. Crowds and food are fast and fun: olives, quail, sherried chicken livers and albondigas. The ba …

  7. Mangroves SOHO Restaurant and Bar

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 208 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    Established in 1996, Mangroves has been a key player in making SoHo one of the region's top dining and drinking districts. The two-story restaurant and bar, which also features a deck with private cabanas, doubles as a nightclub on the weekends. Superior service makes this an excellent place to  …

  8. Lodge Restaurant & Bar

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 516 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    A ton of failed restaurants have called this address home in the past. But at the Lodge, the fun doesn't seem to be stopping - especially on the menu. Tater tots! Beans 'n' franks! A Twinkie-tiramisu hybrid called the Twinkimisu! A Key Lime Pie martini that smokes like a volcano! The thing is, a …

  9. Fly Bar & Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    Downtown Tampa : 1202 N Franklin St., Tampa, 33602

    The brainchild of Tampa native Leslie Shirah, this bastion of hip has since gained a devoted following among Tampa foodies and revelers. Shirah honed the concept during a 15-year stint in San Francisco. And the concept is this: an all-day menu until late, late; a share-it-with-friends approach t …

  10. The Rack

    South Tampa : 1809 W Platt St., Tampa, 33606

    Eightball and tekka maki are a combo made in yuppie heaven. A poolroom sushi hall, The Rack opened to an enthusiastic audience in 2002 at the site of the Blue Gardenia restaurant. No one's bringing their own spiffy Schon or Predator cues, but there's decent play at most of the tables in the fun, …

  11. MacDinton's Irish Pub

    Editor's pick

    South Tampa : 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa, 33606

    MacDinton's opened in 2002, same year as its chief competitor, The Dubliner. Unlike The Dubliner, MacDinton's has a liquor license, which it uses to make an assortment of mind-blowing "bombs" that are very popular with drinkers in their early 20s. An expansive booze emporium, MacDinton …

  12. Blue Martini

    International Plaza District : Bay Street at International Plaza, 2223 N West Shore Blvd., Tampa, 33607

    Blue Martini calls its fare heavy appetizers, but there's not a chicken wing or onion ring in sight. Instead, the short menu features contemporary Asian-Mediterranean fusion: sesame-seared tuna, sliced beef tenderloin, hummus, calamari salad. And don't miss the killer 6-inch-tall chocolate cake. …

  13. Yeoman's Road Restaurant

    Editor's pick

    Davis Islands : 236 E Davis Blvd., Tampa, 33606

    It's hard to miss the red (nonworking) British telephone booth outside Yeoman's Pub on Davis Islands. The story told around the bar is that original British owners got it as a gift in the '80s from Def Leppard, the English rock band, when it was on tour in Tampa. The new owners have no British c …

  14. O'Brien's Irish Pub of Brandon

    Editor's pick

    Brandon : 701 W Lumsden Road, Brandon, 33511

    It also has locations in Riverview and Plant City. But this is one of our favorites. Tucked into the dark streets of suburban Brandon, the neon green shamrock that tops O'Brien's is a beacon of night life. The atmosphere is casual — Irish pub meets Applebee's — and it's perfectly acc …

  15. Green Iguana (Riverview)

    Editor's pick

    Riverview : 6264 Winthrop Town Centre Ave., Riverview, 33578

    The newest and busiest of the Green Iguana group, this spot opened in the Winthrop Town Center, on the site that formerly housed MJ Barleyhoppers. There's a signature Green Iguana tiki bar, front and back patios and the interior has a roomy, clean feel. There are DJs late at night but mostly you …

  16. Ringside Cafe

    Fourth Street Garden District : 2742 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg, 33704

    A converted house on Fourth Street that now ranks as the top blues bar in the 'Burg, Ringside Cafe has a tiny stage that has been rocked by national rockers. They include Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers) and local hero Damon Fowler, among others. On Friday and Saturday nights, the living-room …

  17. O'Maddy's

    Editor's pick

    Gulfport : 5405 Shore Blvd., Gulfport, 33701

    This full-liquor bar has tasty sandwiches with a kitschy, nautical interior and large wooden deck that overlooks the water. Karaoke starts at 9:30 every night and that's where you'll find Eckerd, Stetson and USF St. Pete students belting out tunes. During the afternoon, don't be surprised to fin …

  18. Peg's Cantina & Brew Pub

    Editor's pick

    Gulfport : 3038 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport, 33701

    Notice first the crazy-fabulous beer list: an array of Belgian ales and lambics, as well as all those American microbrews with the adolescent names (Butthead bock, anyone?). During the week, the menu is healthy, homey Mexican; on the weekend, they crank up the pizza oven and turn out unfussy, sa …

  19. Market on 7th

    Editor's pick

    Ybor City : 1816 E Seventh Ave., Tampa, 33605

    Located across the street from Gaspar's Grotto, Market on 7th is an understated haunt for night owls on the Ybor strip. It's got brick walls, a pool table, a few chairs on the sidewalk and a great stage for live music (stop by on Thursdays for a sample). You can get cheap pizzas that are greasy  …

  20. Gators Cafe & Saloon

    Editor's pick

    South Pinellas beaches : 12754 Kingfish Drive, Treasure Island, 33706

    Depending on when you visit Gators, it's either (A) one of the best sports bars in Tampa Bay (on Florida Gators game days), (B) one of the randier college-party scenes on the beach (on summer bikini-contest days), or (C) one of the bigger and better beachy-touristy bars on the beach (most of the …

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