Labor Day, end of summer. Sad, right? But if you want to keep the summer fun alive, the Summer of Rum Festival is this weekend. Held at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa with more than 30 brands on offer, it runs noon to 11 p.m. Saturday (sweetener: musical offerings feature Sugar Ray and the Wailers) and 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday. $27 two days general admission, $22 Saturday only, $20 Sunday only. Need even more rum in your life? There's an Island Rum Tasting Party from 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Vault (611 N Franklin St., Tampa), which showcases the basics to the ultra-premiums (and geographically from the Caribbean to St. Pete). $19-$85, includes a souvenir tasting glass, five rum tastings and light island-themed snacks within the island Rum Tasting Party. summerofrumfest.com.
We earlier reported that Splitsville was going splitsville from Channelside before Sparkman Wharf comes in. Well, turns out in its place Splitsville Southern + Social will open this fall at Sparkman Wharf with a menu inspired by two-time James Beard award-winner Art Smith.
"The new look, new bar and the new menu have an old Florida meetinghouse vibe," co-owner Guy Revelle says. "We have worked with Chef Art Smith, a six-generation Floridian, on other projects. When we decided to re-create our concept for a one-of-a-kind experience in downtown Tampa, Art was our immediate choice to add a slice of Southern hospitality to Splitsville."
Drawing from his North Florida roots, Smith is bringing fried chicken, his spin on poutine, from-scratch cheddar biscuits, short rib sliders and flatbreads to the menu.
Smith will join local culinary stars like BT Nguyen of Restaurant BT, Maryann Ferenc and Marty Blitz of Mise en Place, Ferrell Alvarez and Ty Rodriguez of Rooster & the Till, and Jeannie Pierola of Edison with dining outposts at Sparkman Wharf.
The Crafty Squirrel plans to open its doors to the public at the end of this week in downtown St. Petersburg in the old Fortunato's Italian Kitchen space on Central Avenue. The newly constructed, high-energy pub will serve crafty teapot cocktails, more than 60 beers and artisan pizzas in a group-friendly atmosphere. To begin, the pub will feature a limited menu with a full menu rollout planned for September, and a grand opening Sept. 17. Of note: The wall that separates the Crafty Squirrel from its neighboring Oyster Bar was stripped away to reveal the 120-year-old brick, including the Palace Ice Cream Parlor mural painted 105 years ago.