Robbyn Mitchell, Times Staff Writer

Robbyn Mitchell

Robbyn Mitchell covers pop culture, entertainment, night life, local events and arts for tbt* and the Times. She is a native of Washington, D.C., and a 2007 graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee.

Phone: (813) 226-3373

Email: rmitchell@tampabay.com

Twitter: @RMitchellTimes

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  1. Exotic flavors shake up Tampa Bay margarita menus

    Bars & Spirits

    Tequila, the drink of champions, can be presented in many forms to get you to your desired state of inebriation. There's the shot — clean and to the point — or a variety of mixed concoctions to tamp down the acidity, but increase the quantity that crosses the lips.

    The most celebrated tequila cocktail is the simple margarita, a nighttime ninja that uses smooth, refreshing flavors to confuse a drinker into thinking more than two will do. Flavored margaritas are growing more inventive in the craft cocktail industry. Flavors previously relegated to middle-shelf vodka are making their way into the sweet margarita canon, and it is good. ...

    The Apple Pie margarita at Tequilas in Ybor City tastes like a McDonald’s apple pie, but don’t be fooled: It’s mostly tequila.
  2. Local designers will debut full collections at Tampa Bay Fashion Week

    Events

    Alexandra Lin

    44, Bradenton, AlexandraLinDesigns.com

    Lin, who came to Florida with her husband and children after being a home-school teacher for USA Gymnastics, got into fashion after witnessing the joy she brought her daughter from making her junior prom dress.

    "My son plays tennis and so his friends are from around the world and they all said Mrs. Lin, you should do this," she recalls. ...

  3. In Tampa Bay's tattoo mecca, Ybor City, skin is always in

    Consumer

    Bloodline Tattoo

    Esben Lincoln Rey, 35, said it's been years since Tampa had a major, national tattoo convention and he worked with organizer Villain Arts to change that. "The other convention relocated to Bradenton but kept the Tampa name," Rey said. "We think there is market for it here." Rey, who has been tattooing for 17 years, opened Bloodline one year ago, in the location of the first tattoo shop in Ybor City. His partner is Aaron "Is" Michalowski, who will be tattooing at the convention and currently is featured on Season 5 of Spike TV's Ink Masters. Four artists take appointments and walk-ins and primarily focus on custom pieces. "It's awkward enough wearing the same shirt as someone else. Imagine being at the beach and someone has the same tattoo, which you can't take off," Rey said. 1411 E Seventh Ave. (813) 242-4666, facebook.com/bloodlineybor....

    Esben Lincoln Rey of Bloodline Tattoo works on Ann Marie Barlow’s arm sleeve.
  4. The Bricks celebrating four years in Ybor City with huge street party, concert

    Bars & Spirits

    Big changes can happen over four years. Babies become Kindergartners. High schoolers become collegians. Collegians become taxpayers.

    For the Bricks and SPoT Ybor, businesses owned by the Skatepark of Tampa's Brian Schaefer, the past four years have been marked with growth but blessed with relatively little change.

    "I wouldn't say that there are any major differences from when we opened the doors in July 2010 until now," said the 43-year-old Tampan. "We've just become more a part of the community."...

    Johnny Ciani is operating partner at Bricks Ybor.
  5. Review: Drake defeats Lil Wayne, but both rappers shine at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

    Blog

    “There’s a big difference between a hit and a classic,” Lil Wayne quipped just before DJ 4our 5ive dropped Go DJ, from his now-seminal album Tha Carter.

    The veteran rapper stepped back and let the crowd do the work Thursday night at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater, proving his point without spitting a single bar from the track....

    Drake performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Sept. 4, 2014.
  6. Local tattoo artist Aaron 'Is' Michalowski competing on Spike TV's 'Ink Masters'

    Aaron "Is" Michalowski does not aspire to tattoo world domination. He joined the Season 5 cast of Spike TV's reality competition Ink Master to advertise his skill and challenge himself — but even he admits his star has been on the rise since filming wrapped more than a month ago.

    "I am crazy busy right now, ever since the cast announcements were made, because old clients have been calling trying to get in before the show airs and things really get tight," said Michalowski, 37, of Holiday. ...

    Publicity photo
  7. St. Petersburg's Anime Fix a magnet for manga fans

    Consumer

    It had only been one week since Erika Strahle had made the journey from MacDill Air Force Base to Tampa Bay's only all-anime store, but she had to come back.

    "I'm so glad you held it for us," said Strahle, 22, who moved to Tampa from Seattle two months ago with her husband, David, an airman. "We just have to have it."

    Booby Koonce, owner of Anime Fix in St. Petersburg, pulled a box off the wall behind the counter and opened it to reveal a finely crafted music box with a 10 inch figure of The Baron, a cat-headed character wearing a white suite from the 1995 Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart, written by Hayao Miziyaki. ...

    A wide selection of new and hard to find items for sale at Anime Fix in St. Petersburg. Owner Bobby Koonce talks about a vintage G.I. Joe toy. Photos by Luis Santana/tbt*
  8. From This Day: One wedding leads to another, and a father is remembered

    Relationships

    TAMPA — Jonathan Girwar-Nath was turned around in his chair chatting up the table of women behind him at a wedding in 2009.

    "There was nothing to talk about with a table full of dudes," said Jonathan, 29, of Tampa, a software engineer at Wintec Arrowmaker.

    His posture forced Sangeeta Bhagwandeen into action.

    "I asked him if he wanted to just come and sit at our table," said the 28-year-old first-grade teacher at Mort Elementary School. ...

    Jonathan Girwar-Nath, 29, and Sangeeta Bhagwandeen, 28, changed into traditional Indian attire for their reception to honor Sangeeta’s late father. The clothes were a holiday gift from her dad, Kimchand Raj Bhagwandeen.
  9. Ultimate Bar Guide: 12 Tampa Bay bars perfect for when you're feeling down and out

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Sometimes, of course, you go to bars when you're not feeling your best. Here are 12 local watering holes that'll cheer you up when you're feeling down, depressed or like you just want to get away from it all.

    We have a hangover: O'Maddy's Bar and Grill

    Hear us out: Sometimes to recover after a night of devilish drinking, you require the hair of the dog that bit you — and a big, hearty breakfast (or lunch) to go along with it. Plenty of bars that cause hangovers at night also serve remedies in the morning. (What a business model!) Take O'Maddy's Bar and Grille in Gulfport, which serves "Dr. Randy Shuck's Hangover Burger" for $10.95. An 8-ounce patty topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onions, it's named for Dr. Randy A. Shuck, a professor of medicine at St. Petersburg General Hospital and friend of O'Maddy's owners. Shuck is also Bay News 9's resident medical-heath expert, and after doing a story on hangover cures, he suggested O'Maddy's add a hangover burger to its menu. The result is an 8-ounce patty topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato and onions — "hamburger for the fats and the protein, bacon for the vitamins in it, eggs for the cysteine and then the carbs," Shuck said. Sure, but does it really do the trick? Shuck believes so. "I'm blessed not getting hangovers," he said. "My wife is not blessed, and she says it works well." 5405 Shore Blvd. S, Gulfport; (727) 323-8643, omaddys.com....

    Got a hangover? Dr Randy Shuck's Hangover Burger at O'Maddys in Gulfport should do the trick. The 8-ounce burger is topped with a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, double cheddar, crisp lettuce, fresh tomato and onion. [Luis Santana | Times]
  10. Ultimate Bar Guide: 14 Tampa Bay bars that feel like communities (and a few where you might fall in love)

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. One big reason? A sense of community. Here are 14 bars that make us feel like we're embracing the community around us, bars that make us feel at home .. and a few bars where you might just fall in love.

    We're loyal customers: Nolan's Pub

    Lots of bars like to claim that they're like the bar from Cheers. Nolan's Pub does this by placing a physical copy of Cheers' Season 1 DVD on display behind the bar. The thing is, Nolan's is a place where everyone might actually know your name. It's a friendly little pub in downtown Safety Harbor, and if you pop in on any given day, there's a good chance that you'll find owner Craig Davide working behind the bar. This is the kind of place that efficiently turns locals into regulars, but such loyalty pays both ways. The bar's loyalty card — the "McGillicuddy Wheel" — rewards patrons with a Nolan's T-shirt after the first completion, a name on the wall for the second, and an engraved plaque on the bar for the 10th. There are quite a few plaques on the bar, if that tells you anything. 230 Main St., Safety Harbor. (727) 400-6998, nolanspub.com....

    Husband and Wife Alex Cusick and Amy O'Hara lead the Trivia at Finley's Irish Pub in Largo. [Luis Santana | Times]
  11. Ultimate Bar Guide: 8 Tampa Bay bars to indulge your hedonistic desires

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Here are eight bars, clubs and even a winery where you can cut loose on the weekends and indulge your wildest party instincts.

    The DJ is sick, bro: The Amphitheatre

    Just about every Friday and Saturday night, the Amphitheatre is jammed with college-aged kids in LED gloves, pony beads and GoPro cameras packing the dance floor and hugging the speakers to wring as much bass as possible out of their weekend revelry. It's like a scaled-down version of Tampa's Sunset Music Festival, which is co-organized by the Amphitheatre's owners, and which drew nearly 50,000 people to Raymond James Stadium over Memorial Day weekend. And when the Amp brings in big-name DJs like Armin Van Buuren, Krewella or Porter Robinson, the party doesn't stop until last call. Ybor City ain't Miami, but the Amphitheatre is Tampa's best EDM club, period, and Ground Zero for the city's emergence on the national EDM scene. 1609 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. (813) 873-8368, amptampa.com....

    Keel and Curley Winery offers a Wino and Dino package.
  12. Ultimate Bar Guide: 6 Tampa Bay bars with great nights, specials

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Here are six bars with deals and specials that make us want to get out and drink.

    Happy Hour: Bernini

    They say it's Tampa's best Happy Hour, and it's hard to disagree. "Home of the $2 Finlandia Martini" may as well be Bernini's motto, given how popular the restaurant's bar is from 11:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. — especially from 4 to 7, when select pastas and entrees are also half off. If martinis aren't your thing, get a vodka cranberry or vodka and soda — same price. Bernini is suitable for a nice date night, but even the $2 drinks are pretty stiff. One for the night might do you, in which case your wallet will barely feel a thing. 1702 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. (813) 248-0099, italiancuisinetampa.com. ...

    Luis Santana  |   Times (8/19/2013, Tampa, FL)   Photo for the 2013 tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide featuring the $9.99 whole Maine lobster at the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City. In this photograph the lobster is paired with a Guinness priced at $6.50. [Luis Santana | Times]
  13. Ultimate Bar Guide: 14 sports bars for cheering, bar games and (maybe) meeting athletes

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Here are 14 of our favorite Tampa Bay sports bars, from places to cheer on local pro and college teams to bars where you can play a few games yourself.

    Soccer is religion: MacDinton's Irish Pub

    All Tampa English Premier League fans respect the truism that most good soccer happens far away. Important games begin anywhere from early morning to 3 p.m., which can put hooligans at the real disadvantage of having to eat breakfast, drink and cheer all at the same time. MacDinton's Irish Pub understands that you need a beer with your game and has adjusted its schedule accordingly, to accommodate even this Saturday's Manchester United versus Swansea match at 7:45 a.m. MacDinton's always has a beer special or two to accompany a particular match, and the bar's big screen is such a great way to witness the beautiful game that almost every EPL supporters' club can be counted on to bring a few bodies in during the season. You don't even have to travel across the bridge since there are two locations: 242 First Ave. N, St. Pete; and 405 S Howard Ave., Tampa. macdintons.com....

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria plays Duck Pin Bowling during the special VIP Party at Ducky's. Longoria is part-owner in the new Ducky's Sport Lounge in Tampa.
  14. Ultimate Bar Guide: 17 Tampa Bay breweries and beer bars worth a toast

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Craft beer is everywhere here, and plenty of bars and breweries serve it up right. Here are 17 of our favorite places to grab a cool local brew.

    We like our beer barrel-aged: 7venth Sun Brewery

    Aging beer in barrels is a technique ripe for experimentation. The reactions that occur when beer spends extended time in used spirit and wine barrels can add flavor due to residual liquids and wood character, mellow heavy beers out via oxidation and even cause beers to become sour if the barrel has been inoculated with beer-souring bacteria and other microflora. Dunedin's 7venth Sun Brewery is one of the more prolific local barrel-agers, to the point where it used to host Barrel-Aged Wednesdays, featuring a different barrel-aged beer on tap each week. These days, the selection of these complex brews is dictated by availability, although there's some form of barrel-aged beer on tap around 40 percent of the time. Previous releases have featured sour blond ales aged in wine barrels, imperial porters aged in rum barrels and, recently, a gin barrel-aged IPA fermented with brettanomyces wild yeast. 1012 Broadway, Dunedin. (727) 733-3013, 7venthsun.com....

    Luis Santana  |   Times (8/13/2014, Tampa, FL)    Examples of Tampa Bay Brewing Co. Mug Club members decorated mugs.[Luis Santana | Times]
  15. Ultimate Bar Guide: 8 Tampa Bay beach bars worth their shaker of salt

    Bars & Spirits

    For this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide, we tallied up more than 100 reasons we love going to bars in Tampa Bay. Here are eight beach bars on both sides of the bay that are more than worth their shaker of salt.

    Three-day weekend!: Hogan's Beach

    It's only been open a year and a half, but Hogan's Beach has already muscled its way to the top of Tampa Bay's party-bar scene. Thanks to some smart partnerships with in-the-know promoters, Hulk Hogan's waterfront bar and grill has become a mecca for bikini-clad revelers on the Hillsborough side of the bay. In particular, it's carving out a niche as a holiday-weekend hangout, scheduling multiple nights of parties around Memorial Day (when they brought in Lil Jon), the Fourth of July (DJ Carnage and the country band Love and Theft) and Labor Day (with DJ Laidback Luke). The fact that it's connected to the Best Western Bay Harbor Hotel doesn't hurt — you can drink as much as you want and not worry about driving back. We'll see you there soon, brother. 7700 W Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa. (813) 281-8900, hogansbeachtampa.com....

    This is a file photo of partners Wasim Nabulsi, from left, Jeff Brown and Jay Thomas, owners of the Brown Boxer Pub and Grill when it opened.