Ultimate Bar Awards
Ultimate Bar Awards

Anchor Bar

Davis Islands is packed with locals' joints, and the Anchor Bar is a good one, with a nice selection of craft beer and scotch behind the bar. Their cocktail menu is still in flux, but the Mai Tai, made with Captain and Malibu, is cool and coconutty, with a satisfying mouthfeel. No wonder they're already planning to expand, with a site on Franklin St. downtown coming soon. 304 E Davis Boulevard, Tampa; (813) 483-4573, anchorbartampa.com.



The Stein & Vine

Wedged between a gun shop and a Family Dollar in southeast Brandon is the Stein and Vine, a cool and cozy wine, craft beer and tater tot bar. That's right: their burgers come with tots, which you can top with chili, cheese, jalapeños, onions, sour cream, bacon and/or a fried egg. As good as the food, beer and wine menus are, the chic atmosphere and friendly conversation is the real draw. Just keep your hands off our tots. 827 Bloomingdale Ave., Brandon; (813) 655-4786, thesteinandvine.com.



Peabody's Billiards

By day, it's one of Tampa Bay's biggest sports bars, with more than 70 TVs and giant screens, not to mention plenty of pool and foosball tables, poker and pool tournaments and other games. At night and on weekends, USF students flock here for the late-night party scene and jaw-dropping specials. Nickel-beer Tuesdays, $2 Burger Mondays, $7 liquor pitchers, $12.49 all-you-can-drink calls and wells at select happy hours ... the deals go on and on. 15333 Amberly Drive, Tampa; (813) 972-1725, peabodysbilliards.com.



James Joyce Irish Pub

In its new location away from the Seventh Avenue strip, Ybor City's James Joyce has a lot going for it. In addition to the 50 taps behind the bar, there's a stellar selection of Irish Whiskey and a popular loyalty club (or, as they call it, a "drinking team"). Bonus: From 5 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday, get a 2-pound lobster for just $9.99. 1724 E Eighth Ave., Ybor City; (813) 247-1896, jamesjoyceybor.com



Hula Bay Club

It's practically hidden in a marina, but once you find it, you may not want to leave. Fine Hawaiian fare, shady dockside drinking and live parties at night — it's unique among South Tampa bars. 5210 W Tyson Ave., Tampa; (813) 837-4852, hulabayclub.com



Bilmar Station

This longtime Tampa sports bar is a great one, with games galore (darts, foosball, video golf/bowling/hunting and way more lived-in character than you tend to see in today's cookie-cutter sports bars. If you drink 90 beers in 90 days, you earn a spot on the Bilmar Station Wall of Foam. With a growing craft beer menu, including 20 rotating taps, it's a tempting challenge. 8501 W Hillsborough Ave., Tampa; (813) 496-8898, bilmarstation.com



Linksters Tap Room

This Central Florida chain (which also has a spot in Tampa) has many flat-screen TVs, a pair of Golden Tee machines and a popular text-based discount: Text a certain phrase to a certain number and you get 2-4-1 drinks. 1911 W Brandon Blvd., Brandon; (813) 654-3333, linksterstaproom.com



Brass Tap Brandon

The sleek and sophisticated World of Beer may rule Tampa Bay's urban interiors. But the outskirts belong to the Brass Tap. Its six locations are scattered mostly in Tampa Bay's suburbs, commercial drags and shopping districts, where its massive craft beer menu is intensely appreciated. 775 Brandon Town Center, Brandon, (813) 654-4712, brasstapbeerbar.com



Fly

Led by ace mixologist Danny Guess, the bar staff is second to none (see Page 28 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide). But good food and a rooftop deck with its own distinct flavor make it a popular downtown happy hour destination. 1202 N Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 275-5000, flybarandrestaurant.com

 



The Lodge

It's a friendly and SoHo happy hour and late-night favorite with a homey vibe and cheeky sense of humor. Don't miss WTF Wednesdays, featuring $5 burgers, pizza, sushi, wings and select draft liters. For more, see Page 50 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide. 516 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 241-5634, cicciorestaurantgroup.com



MacDinton's SoHo

It's the big swingin' shillelagh of South Tampa party destinations, with an unkillable happy hour and Friday night vibe. The $10 open bar from 6 to 8 p.m. helps. A sister location in St. Petersburg also has proven successful. 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 251-8999, macdintons.com

MacDinton's SoHo where you find live music, using a mixture of bands and solo acts. Food is “traditional Irish fare with a twist.”

MacDinton's is also Tampa's exclusive spot for The Six Nation's Rugby, FA Cup, EPL and Champions League soccer. MacDinton's. "Tampa's home for everything soccer".

- See more at: http://www.macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa#sthash.GVjXDALh.dpuf

MacDinton's SoHo where you find live music, using a mixture of bands and solo acts. Food is “traditional Irish fare with a twist.”

MacDinton's is also Tampa's exclusive spot for The Six Nation's Rugby, FA Cup, EPL and Champions League soccer. MacDinton's. "Tampa's home for everything soccer".

- See more at: http://www.macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa#sthash.GVjXDALh.dpuf

MacDinton's SoHo where you find live music, using a mixture of bands and solo acts. Food is “traditional Irish fare with a twist.”

MacDinton's is also Tampa's exclusive spot for The Six Nation's Rugby, FA Cup, EPL and Champions League soccer. MacDinton's. "Tampa's home for everything soccer".

- See more at: http://www.macdintons.com/SoHo-Tampa#sthash.GVjXDALh.dpuf


Cigar City Brewing

Tampa's premier brewery has a top-notch tasting room, with a big selection of taps — including some exclusive to the brewery and some from outside the region — plus pinball, tabletop shuffleboard and, on Friday evenings, food trucks in the parking lot. 3924 W Spruce St., Tampa; (813) 348-6363, cigarcitybrewing.com



Sunset Grill

Bartender Jamie Johnson won tbt*'s 2011 Ultimate Bartender contest, but the Sunset Grill remains a popular SouthShore destination to this day, thanks to a tiki bar and waterside location that offers some of the best sunset views in Hillsborough County. (Oh, so that's where the name came from!) Located at the Little Harbor Resort and Club, 611 Destiny Drive, Ruskin; (813) 645-7739, sunsetgrillfl.com



Dubliner

One of SoHo's most easygoing pubs, the original Dubliner remains one of Tampa's favorite Irish bars, serving a variety of Irish beers (go on Wednesday nights, when 32-ounce drafts are just $6) and wines, plus live music Wednesday through Saturday. A second location in Citrus Park also serves liquor and has become a quality soccer-watching hangout. 2307 W Azeele St., Tampa; (813) 258-2257, thedublineririshpub.com



Tiny Tap Tavern

It's comical to think that this ancient, smoky dive — which housed tbt*'s 2010 Ultimate Bartender, Kasey Mitchell — sits right across the street from SideBern's, maybe the swankiest cocktail joint in town. But trust us, plenty of penny-pinching locals prefer the Tiny Tap. 2105 W Morrison Ave., Tampa; (813) 254-3872.



Irish 31

The interior of this Hyde Park pub is slick and sleek, but it feels like a neighborhood pub (as one of our own writers discovered — see Page 33 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide). There's frequent live music, and it's the home base of an eponymous running club. 1611 W Swann Ave., Tampa; (813) 250-0031, irish31.com



O'Brien's Irish Pub

Brandon's premier Irish pub is actually much more than that. There's a family-restaurant feel to the place, especially on Thursdays, when kids eat free from 4 to 10 p.m. and, once a month, there's a kids' karaoke session. The rest of the week, it's a party-hard atmosphere, with live music, beer pong and tons of specials on shots, martinis and vodka drinks. 701 W Lumsden Road, Brandon; (813) 661-9688, obrienspubsbrandon.com



Tampa Tap Room

The strip-mall hangout formerly known as Tank's still has a really nice craft beer selection — on a recent visit, we found Gentlemen's Club, the new collaboration between Cigar City Brewing and Widmer Brothers that's meant to evoke an Old Fashioned. There's also a nice menu of Cajun fare. Blue Crab Beignets, anyone? 13150 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa; (813) 961-2337.



CHEAP

Cheap is more down-to-earth than its boisterous sister nightclubs Hyde Park Cafe and The Kennedy, and while some of its mojitos, martinis and cocktails may be questionably named (Mojito on Steroids? The Cougar?), they taste just fine. To help you soak it all up, the kitchen's open until 3 a.m. from Wednesday to Sunday for sushi, pizza and burgers. 309 S Howard Ave., Tampa; (813) 258-5878, cheapinsoho.com



Hattricks

What Ferg's is to the Rays, Hattricks is to the Lightning. Located in a historic brick building, Tampa's top downtown sports bar is full of jerseys and memorabilia, with great pre- and post-game noshing and drink specials. 107 S Franklin St., Tampa; (813) 225-4288, sportsbartampa.com



Mr. Dunderbak's

Even before the craft beer boom, this German restaurant and biergarten was where true hopheads gathered for beer club meetings and to find ultra-rare imports like the Belgian lambic Cantillon's Rosé de Gambrinus (see Pages 46-47 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide) and even Westvleteren XII, often dubbed the world's best beer. 14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa; (813) 977-4104, dunderbaks.com



Dallas Bull

Not only is the Bull Tampa Bay's biggest country nightclub (see Page 38 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide), it's possibly Tampa Bay's largest club, period. On Thursdays, upwards of 4,000 boot-scooters pile in for bull-ridin' fun. Past live concerts have included Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line. 3322 U.S. 301, Tampa; (813) 987-2855, dallasbull.com



Brass Tap Wesley Chapel

Like everything else at the Shops at Wiregrass, the Brass Tap has become a magnet for Wesley Chapel commuters. Not a lot of wine, but with more that 40 beers on tap and another 300 domestics, imports and crafts in a bottle, there's so much else to choose from that even Tampa beer lovers sometimes make the trip. 2000 Piazza Ave., Wesley Chapel, (813) 991-4343, brasstapbeerbar.com



Brass Tap Trinity

The sleek and sophisticated World of Beer may rule Tampa Bay's urban interiors. But the outskirts belong to the Brass Tap. Its six locations are scattered mostly in Tampa Bay's suburbs, commercial drags and shopping districts, where its massive craft beer menu is intensely appreciated. 10700 State Road 54, New Port Richey, (727) 376-2467, brasstapbeerbar.com



Brass Tap Dade City

Five separate Brass Tap locations (Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Trinity, Dade City and Lakeland) earned enough reader votes to rank in the top 50; add them all up and the Brass Tap would take the overall crown. 37916 Pasco Ave., Dade City, (352) 437-4887, brasstapbeerbar.com



Boots N Buckles

Tampa Bay's got some fine country bars (see Page 38 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide). Polk County's answer to them all is Boots N Buckles, a hotspot for pool, line dancing and concerts by artists like Easton Corbin, Thompson Square and Tracy Lawrence. 4951 U.S. Highway 98 N, Lakeland; (863) 815-2668, bootsnbucklessaloon.com