“What’s that line all about?” I asked my wife as we ate dinner at Ybor’s Stone Soup Company before heading to a show next door at the Orpheum.
Across the street, a line had formed around the corner of a large green building that I’d never noticed before. Over the course of our meal, the line repeatedly dissipated and filled up again, with a steady stream of folks coming in and out of the place.
I jotted down the name — 7th + Grove — and its tagline of Eat. Vibe. Flourish. I had to know what all the commotion was about.
I learned that 7th + Grove is a brand new entry on 7th Avenue, created by three friends and business partners — Dr. Vondalyn Crawford, Dr. Jamaris Glenn and Khalilaa McDuffie — who teamed up with Washington, D.C., bartender Kelvin Williams-Bacon to create a cocktail menu to accompany its kitchen’s modern Southern fare.
On the day I first noticed it, 7th + Grove was buzzing in the midst of one of its Sunday “day parties,” a 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. event featuring DJs and food and drink specials in a sunlit club filled with colorful murals, hanging ivy and private tables with bottle service (and, most importantly, bottomless mimosas).
Ybor isn’t starved for club environments or cocktail lounges, but once I returned and saw 7th + Grove from the inside, I found a truly fresh entry: a bright, vibrant space that didn’t feel overtly clubby, despite the big sound system and second-level DJ balcony.
7th + Grove is split into two discrete spaces. The corner space is a bright and upbeat restaurant, focusing on a menu of modern Southern cuisine created by Chef James Roberts. Next door is the club: an open space with a long bar, sofas and tables, huge murals from Carlos Pon Paz and a wall of padded booths nestled underneath a second-level balcony overlooking the main seating area.
I dove straight into the cocktail list, six entries made up of fresh-squeezed juices, house-made syrups and colorful garnishes.
I went with the Jungle Wildflower, a heady concoction containing dark rum; orange and cherry liqueurs; ginger, pineapple, lime and lemon juices; and Kool-Aid grenadine, of all things. It’s served in a mason jar with thick orange and lime wheels, as well as a little purple flower.
I dabbled some more, sampling the Solidago (a simple but fantastic bourbon drink that also employs Kool-Aid grenadine) as well as an off-menu beer cocktail, containing Corona, tequila and a few splashes of fresh juices and syrups.
The menu’s promise of “boozy, hand crafted and fresh” cocktails held up. These drinks are strong.
While 7th + Grove is a great spot for cocktails at night, it really shines as a late-afternoon destination, as demonstrated by the popularity of its GRNHAUS Sunday day parties. That’s where you’ll be in unlimited mimosa territory: $20, but the catch is that it’s only good for 90 minutes.
The good news is that there are plenty of other cheap drink specials, and there’s no cover. Throw in a DJ spinning old school hip hop and R&B and you’ve got a clear explanation for those Sunday lines. Ybor has been missing a place like this, and 7th + Grove truly delivers.
— firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @WordsWithJG.
7th + Grove
1930 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City, 33605. (813) 602-0960. 7thandgrove.com
The vibe: An ivy- and flower-filled club and lounge with an upbeat Southern kitchen.
Food: Small plates, sides and salads, $5-$12; entrées, $15–$23; desserts, $7.
Booze: Beer, wine and liquor. Beer, $5–7; wine, $7 by the glass; signature cocktails: $9-12. Happy hour: 2-for-1 house margaritas. Wine Down Wednesday: $17 Endless Wine and Sangrias.
Specialty: The cocktails are “boozy, hand crafted and fresh,” according to the menu, and that’s not just ad copy. Everything but the booze itself is made in-house, from the orgeat and cinnamon-grilled pineapple syrup used in the Drunken Marigold, to the Kool-Aid grenadine used in the Solidago and the Jungle Wildflower.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday.