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Ultimate Bar Awards
Ultimate Bar Awards

The Brown Boxer Pub & Grille

When tbt* asked our Facebook fans to nominate their favorite bar in Tampa Bay as part of this year's Ultimate Bar Guide, the Brown Boxer was the runaway winner. Visit Clearwater Beach's Brown Boxer on a Friday afternoon, and you might grab a burger, play some darts, talk a little Rays and Phillies with the locals. Visit again a few hours later, and you might end up doing shots, dancing to live music and hollering over the joyous din. 483 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach. (727) 441-6000,

Nolan's Pub

They've got 22 tasty beers on tap at Nolan's Pub in Safety Harbor. Try them all and you get a free T-shirt. Do it five times and you get your name on the wall. Ten times and you get your name on a plaque on the bar. It's an incredibly welcoming place, family-run and named for the owners' 2-1/2-year-old son. They're starting a softball league with some other joints in Safety Harbor, so stop by if you're looking for a game. 230 Main St., Safety Harbor; (727) 400-6998,

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:

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:

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:

The Broken Tusk

Call it St. Pete's most inclusive dive. Opened by longtime Emerald bartenders Judah and Levi Love, the Broken Tusk is an LGBT-friendly bar located far from St. Pete's LGBT-friendly Grand Central District. You can always find darts and pinball, and occasionally drag shows and bingo nights. Check out the Saturday night "Power Hour" (10 to 11 p.m.), when everything behind the bar is only $3. 4685 28th Street N, St. Petersburg; (727) 521-9514,

Tarpon Tavern

Modestly decorated but immensely popular among locals, this nautically themed bar has a huge patio and some 30 beers on tap and more in bottles. It's highly rated on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, not only for its casual seafood and pub grub, but for its beer selection, one of the biggest in town. 20 N Safford Ave., Tarpon Springs; (727) 945-1000,

Harry's Beach Bar

When names your bar one of the top 10 beach bars in the Sunshine State, you must be doing something right. Located poolside at the Sirata Beach Resort, it's a laid-back margarita fuel-up joint on hot summer days and a rocking beach party when the fire pit warms up at night. Frozen drinks like the Lava Flow are the specialty, but try the Sirata Punch — pineapple, cranberry and orange juices; grenadine; and your choice of rum, vodka and tequila. 5300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach; (855) 344-5999,

Blowfish Bar & Grill

Darius Rucker himself showed up to play at the opening of this Seminole bar and grill. And why wouldn't he? His Hootie and the Blowfish bandmate Dean Felber is a part owner. The former bassist nods to his '90s alt-rock past on the cocktail menu, which features drinks with grunge-era names like the Come As You Are, (raspberry vodka, Sprite and lime juice), Self Esteem (Wild Turkey, amaretto, cranberry juice and Apple Pucker) and Man in the Box (Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea, peach schnapps and orange juice). The '90s will never die! 8305 Bay Pines Blvd. N, Seminole; (727) 547-2100;

Palm Harbor House of Beer

In addition to 50 beers on tap and many more in bottles, the Palm Harbor location has carved out a niche as a fun place for live music, trivia and bar games — everything from cornhole and tabletop shuffleboard to oversized Connect 4 and Jenga. Stop by on Sunday, when they usually have a Randall up and running — that's a high-tech device that infuses beer with flavors like cinnamon, vanilla and fruit. Mmmm. 34970 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor; (727) 784-2337,

Crabby Bill's

The original home of this local seafood chain makes our list thanks to the Loading Dock, an outdoor bar and cafe that opens at 7 a.m. In addition to a full menu of beachy fare, this beach bum's paradise has picnic tables, a pet cleanup station and monthly specials, like August's Blueberry Lemonade Smash, with Smirnoff Blueberry and blue curacao. "I like making it cause it smells good," said our bartender. And it's only $4.50. 401 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach; (727) 595-4825,

Mandalay Grill

Located just off Clearwater Beach's main drag, it's close to Pier 60 and plenty of parking, making its indoor-outdoor bar a convenient spot to beat the heat with a bite to eat and a cool local brew (Cigar City Jai Alai and Florida Avenue Ale, to name a couple) on draft. For some shade, try to grab one of the seats in a cozy alley nook. 395 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater; (727) 441-3424,

Nickel City

In many ways, it's the perfect Pinellas Park dive — and that's not a bad thing. Smoky, sure, but the drinks are cheap, the dartboards are plentiful and the classic rock is always flowing. For more, see Page 62 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide. 7658 Park Blvd. N, Pinellas Park. (727) 545-9325,

Willard's Tap House

A true beer lovers' bar, Willard's Tap House has a frequently rotating selection of taps that includes a nice selection of IPAs (see Page 59 of tbt*'s Ultimate Bar Guide) and American pale ales. 12500 Starkey Road, Largo. (727) 581-8600,

Tryst Gastro Lounge

tbt*'s 2012 Ultimate Bartender, creative mixologist Logan Owens, still tends the bar at this snazzy downtown St. Pete cocktail joint. The address says Beach Drive, but the sleek interior and open indoor-outdoor bar scream South Beach. 240 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg; (727) 821-4567,

PCI Bar & Grill

Inside or out, you can't go wrong at the Postcard Inn at the Beach. Inside, there's the PCI Bar and Grill, offering barbecue, entrees, sophisticated cocktails and a nice bourbon selection. Outside, situated between the pool and the beach, is the PCI Beach Bar, a shacklike shed full of fun surfside specialties like the Endless Summer (Red Stag black cherry bourbon, vanilla ice cream and a strawberry swirl). There are cabanas, hammocks, pool and ping-pong tables and more. 6300 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach; (727) 367-2711,


Still new enough to be considered below the radar, this friendly and inventive gastropub has an exciting cocktail menu (try the AnTEAque — black tea-infused Hendrick's, vermouth, St. Germain, peach bitters and a twist of lemon peel) and a craft beer list with a strong focus on a diverse mix of local brews. 5226 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg; (727) 525-4589,

Capitol Beer House

When Clearwater's historic Capitol Theatre reopens in December, expect this new beer bar, with 32 taps and many more in bottles, to be a prime watering hole before and after shows. 422 Cleveland St., Clearwater; (727) 449-1900,

CJ's on the Island

CJ's bills itself as the "karaoke capital of Treasure Island," but that might not go far enough, as it offers karaoke starting at 9 p.m. every Tuesday through Saturday. There's also plenty of live music, drink specials, pool and — get this — free hot dogs, starting at 11 a.m. daily. 115 107th Ave., Treasure Island; (727) 360-1760,

The Ale and The Witch

One of the 'Burg's most beloved bars, it has a fresh and rotating tap selection picked out by some true beer lovers, often with live music resonating in the courtyard. For more, see Page 59. 111 Second Ave NE, St. Petersburg, (727) 821-2533,

Copperheads Tap House

The bar that brought the craft beer craze to Safety Harbor offers more than 30 taps plus bottles and wine, not to mention pool, live music and trivia on the first Thursday of every month. The most amazing aspect might be the bar's loyalty program, which offers awards for various tiers. Drink 1,000 beers, and you get a plaque on the wall and 20 percent off for life. 640 Main St., Safety Harbor; (727) 400-4721,

Freaki Tiki Bar

Don't be fooled by the name — this is no beach bar, sitting as it does on U.S. 19 in Clearwater. It's more of a shots 'n' specials party joint, one that would fit right in on the Ybor strip. Here, you'll find sweet, silly shots like the Birthday Cake: Smirnoff Iced Cake vodka, white creme de cacao, lemon and a sugar rim. There's pool, darts, pop-a-shot hoops and a punching machine, plus a nice outdoor patio. 28778 U.S. 19, Clearwater; (727) 329-6160,


Dark, crusty and a whole lot of fun, Fubar is a hub of activity in the St. Pete punk, EDM and indie scenes. Turbo Tuesdays helped establish a dubstep scene in Tampa Bay, and they also have a quality craft beer menu and fun events like the Church of Nintendo, when everyone can get their old-school game on. 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727) 424-1809,


The inviting indoor-outdoor layout and copious TV screens make this one of the area's top sports bars. Its location across from Tropicana Field makes it, hands down, the best Tampa Bay Rays bar in the world. 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; (727), 822-4562,