Raise your hand if you’re finding it increasingly difficult to dine out without putting a strain on your wallet. Between general inflation and a trendy restaurant scene that rebounded heartily after the pandemic, Tampa Bay food and drink prices are higher than ever. But you can still enjoy local restaurants affordably — if you know where, and when, to look. Beyond the $16 cocktails and small plates are some solid happy hour deals, usually offered during a restaurant’s slower times of day.
We’re focusing mostly on places that have food and drink deals, places where you could make a full meal of it if you want. We know this is not an exhaustive list. There are tons of places in the area to go for a cheap drink or a food deal. Have one you love? Send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And keep in mind: Happy hour offerings change often, so make sure you check before you go to confirm the exact deals offered.
TAMPA HAPPY HOURS
From 5-7 p.m. Monday-Friday in the bar and lounge area, this South Tampa Italian restaurant offers its signature 8-inch pizzas for just $8. We love the La Bestia, with spicy sausage, San Marzano tomatoes, arugula and ricotta, and the Basilico Pesto, with pesto, goat cheese, ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes. There are also $8 cocktails and discounted appetizers ($5 house salad) and other drinks ($6 glasses of wine). Mangia!
718 S Howard Ave., Tampa; 813-512-3030; avatampa.com.
From 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, this spot right in the middle of Ybor City offers $5 glasses of wine, $7 cocktails and $6 bar bites. The restaurant is currently doing seasonal popups that switch up the decor and food and drink menus, so expect the offerings to change every couple of months.
1811 N 15th St., Tampa; barterhouseybor.com.
This sprawling tapas spot on South Howard Avenue boasts a large bar that gets crowded even on weekdays. It might be because of the generous happy hour: From 3-7 p.m. every day of the week, there are happy hour bites and drinks. (The discounted food is only offered at the bar.) The menu is large, with a $7 Potato Tortilla (a traditional Spanish omelet with caramelized onions and garlic aioli), $6 Ham Croquettes (served with a fig jelly) and a $7 Chorizo Cheese Dip. On the drink side, there are specialty cocktails and martinis for $7, or the house sangria for $6.
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930 S Howard Ave., Tampa; 813-773-8626; bullagastrobar.com.
Tampa’s Hyde Park is a fun place for a happy hour, because afterward you can bop to another nearby restaurant or bar. Start the evening at Forbici, a modern Italian spot that specializes in Roman-style pizza. From 3-6 p.m. every day, you’ll find $8 cocktails, $5 house wines and discounted beer, and snacks that range from $4-$10.
1633 W Snow Ave., Tampa; 813-251-8001; eatforbici.com.
This South Tampa spot that’s part of the Bern’s Steak House family has a very solid happy hour food and drink menu. For one thing, it runs during the week and on Friday and Saturday. And it offers a top-tier burger and a cheese plate for just $10 each. Otherwise, you can choose from other snacks and cocktails, all under $10. Note that happy hour is available at the bar, on the patio and at dining room tables during the week, and just at the bar and on the patio Friday and Saturday. (Haven is closed Sunday and Monday.) We definitely recommend making a reservation, and opting for the lovely and tranquil (partially covered) outdoor patio if the weather is nice. Inside, you can’t beat a seat at the lively bar.
2208 W Morrison Ave., Tampa; 813-258-2233; haventampa.com.
From 3-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday at this all-day spot in the North Hyde Park neighborhood, you can get $2 off all zero-proof drinks, house wines and select cocktails including a rose sangria and a strawberry Aperol spritz. Plus, there’s an $8 house daiquiri and $9 martinis. For food, all snacks and appetizers are also $2 off, which includes items like the restaurant’s Rosemary Focaccia with whipped garlic confit butter and Pork Belly Disco Fries with cheddar, Mornay sauce, scallions and pickled chiles.
1700 W Fig St., Tampa; 813-519-4552; willastampa.com.
ST. PETERSBURG HAPPY HOURS
The ramen-centric restaurant on Central Avenue has some strong happy hour deals, 3-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday: $5 well drinks, $5 glasses of wine, $4 beer and sake selections, and $5 snacks including pork belly, short rib and mushroom buns; grilled edamame; and shishito peppers.
911 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; 727-202-7010.
Post up at this Beach Drive mainstay from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday (and until 11 p.m. Tuesday) for $2.50 select house wines and well liquors, $3.50 beers and $4.50 martinis and select sparkling wines. And from 4-11 p.m. Thursdays, you can get $5 Sazeracs and Old Fashioneds at the bar.
170 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg; 727-827-2927; cassisstpete.com.
Hawkers Asian Street Fare
The happy hour at this casual spot in the Grand Central District (right near Tropicana Field, if you’re looking for a spot before or after Tampa Bay Rays games) skews early, but there are good deals to be had. From 3-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, Hawkers offers half off all bao buns and beers. Plus, $3 off all spirits and $5 select small plates like spring rolls, edamame and two kinds of fried chicken.
1235 Central Ave., St Petersburg; 727-521-7253.
Intermezzo Coffee & Cocktails
There’s no food menu offered at this coffee and cocktail spot, but we had to include them for the cocktails, which are a deal at $7 each. The happy hour runs 5-7 p.m. every day of the week and includes drinks such as the Rum Punch #1, a gin-based Bees Knees, Tommy’s Margarita, the bourbon-heavy Branca Brew and a classic Old Fashioned. There’s also $7 red, white and sparkling wine, and discounted beer.
1111 Central Ave., St Petersburg; 727-873-6664.
In addition to a standard happy hour, Noble Crust’s three Tampa Bay locations (St. Petersburg, Wesley Chapel and Carrollwood) also offer drink specials on different days of the week, starting at 4 p.m. On Mondays, look for $5 craft cocktails. Tuesdays bring a handful of $7 tequila drinks, and on Wednesdays you can get the restaurant’s barrel-fresh wines for half-price. For Saturday brunch, there are $2 mimosas, $4 Bloody Marys and $4 sangrias until 2:30 p.m. The spot also offers a weekday happy hour from 4-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 4-6 p.m. Friday, with $2 off beer and wine, $5 spirits and $6 martinis, sangria and frozen cocktails.
St. Petersburg: 8300 Fourth St. N; 727-329-6041. Carrollwood: 11618 N Dale Mabry Highway; 813-463-0193. Wesley Chapel: 28330 Paseo Drive; 813-703-2602. noble-crust.com.
Sauvignon Wine Locker & American Trattoria
St. Petersburg’s Sauvignon Wine Locker & American Trattoria is a bit of a hidden gem, tucked away on the second floor of a bustling part of Central Avenue. If you can get a seat outside on the patio overlooking the street, definitely do so. But the space indoors is charming, too, and the happy hour deals are solid. From 4-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, all glasses of wine except dessert wines are 50% off. And wine is the thing to get here: The list is vast and varied, and the servers are knowledgeable and willing to steer you toward one you might like. Pair your glass of wine with a discounted happy hour food menu that on a recent visit included a wedge-like salad with blue cheese and bacon, a large serving of house-made focaccia, meatballs and more.
241 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; 727-827-7896; sauvignonstpete.com.