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Tampa's Fly Bar and Restaurant will move locations

Late night customers at Fly Bar and Restaurant.   [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR., Times]
Late night customers at Fly Bar and Restaurant. [WILLIE J. ALLEN JR., Times]
Published Sep. 7, 2018

TAMPA — Restaurant announcements for Sparkman Wharf and Strategic Property Partners' 50-acre Water Street Tampa project have come fast and furious the past couple weeks. With a price tag of more than $3 billion and reading like a who's who of Tampa Bay's notable chefs and restaurateurs, it's not surprising that the development is prompting restaurants are taking a fresh look at downtown Tampa, the Channel district and what was formerly known as Channelside.

You could say it's almost like fly paper: On Wednesday, Fly Bar & Restaurant announced it will close its 1202 N Franklin St. location with plans to relocate to the growing Downtown Tampa/Channel district. The location on Franklin Street will close at the end of service on Sept. 28.

A property deal between Fly Bar & Restaurant owner Leslie Shirah and the downtown development company that is behind The Franklin Manor, Osteria Bar + Kitchen, Mole y Abuela and a fourth venue to be disclosed soon, provided Fly an opportunity to relocate to Tampa's burgeoning Downtown Tampa/Channel district.

The soon-to-be-announced new location is a slightly more intimate space that will maintain the integrity of the original Fly brand. The current management team including Fly's chef, beverage director and general manager will remain with the company.

Shirah (who also owns Tampa's Hotel Bar) was really a pioneer in Tampa's urban bar scene, debuting Fly Bar & Restaurant 12 years ago, a sister property to a restaurant of the same name she owned in San Francisco. Shirah and her team created a hip, industrial atmosphere and Fly became a go-to haven for unique craft cocktails, inventive small plates and local Tampa arts and culture. Fly's vibrant art (much by local artist Sean Spoto), local music and friendly staff all contribute to its funky vibe.

For its final weeks of service, Fly Bar is hosting a retro month to celebrate its long run in the North Franklin Historic District. Fly will feature cult favorite dishes such as the panko-crusted goat cheese and ropa vieja in addition to past favorite signature cocktails until the closure date.

Contact Laura Reiley at or (727) 892-2293. Follow @lreiley.