1. Bars & Breweries

Ultimate Bar Guide: 100 reasons to drink on the wall...

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Published Aug. 15, 2014

All summer, I've watched friends and colleagues on Instagram participate in a hashtag challenge called #100happydays. The idea is to post a photo every day of something that makes you feel great about life. And in racking your brain to find something new to post, you end up finding elements of joy just about everywhere.

Meanwhile, I've been hashtagging most of my photos #tampabaydrinks while researching this year's tbt* Ultimate Bar Guide. That means visiting brewpubs, bistros and dive bars from Plant City to St. Pete Beach, Tarpon Springs to South Tampa. Some of these places are far-flung, sure, but you're almost always glad you made the trip. Every bar in Tampa Bay offers at least one good reason to check it out.

We decided it was high time to tally up some of those reasons — 100 of them, to be precise. Cocktails, camaraderie, bar games, beach bodies, cheap eats, ladies' night, line dancing, live music, sophistication, shots — there's no end to the things bars offer that you can't get anywhere else. Maybe it's for a pint of craft beer served straight from the source. Maybe it's to watch the Rays or Bucs surrounded by like-minded fans. Maybe it's a three-day weekend. Maybe we're down in the dumps. Maybe, as Pharrell once sang, we're up all night to get lucky.

Tbt*'s Robbyn Mitchell, Justin Grant, Luis Santana and I spent the summer coming up with reasons we love going to bars, and finding bars that fill that specific coaster-sized hole in our liver. We also thought of our favorite bars and the reasons we love going to them. And we asked tbt* readers to name their favorite bars — you'll find those sprinkled throughout this year's Ultimate Bar Guide, too.

Releasing this year's celebration of Tampa Bay bar culture into the wild is definitely a good reason to knock back some #tampabaydrinks. Follow us to all of this year's top bars, and your next #100happydays will be all planned out.