Tampa Bay area recommendations (2019)

Discussion in 'South-Atlantic' started by MHorridge, Jan 1, 2019.

  1. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    1. The "Tampa Bay area" broadly includes Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater.
    2. There is a separate thread for Orlando curated by advocates who live over there.
    3. New BA rules dictate annual (vs. quarterly/semi-annual) editions of these types of threads so here we are.

    A preamble of sorts: This is designed to be a resource for travelers to the Tampa/St. Pete area (to avoid endless, oft-repetitive thread posts requesting locals' recommendations). These are the places folks most talk about and generally reflect currently preferred styles.

    , this thread is a great start for planning a trip to the Tampa Bay area. It's not designed to answer every.single.question you have about every.single.thing going on around here. Most breweries now have at least decent internet and social-media presence (including Untappd); check them out for what is pouring at this exact moment, the beer in their to-go coolers or for upcoming events. You’re an adult; look it up yourself. Seriously.

    , the point of the thread is this: Which handful of the more than 40(!!) Tampa Bay-area breweries would you want to hit up if you were here from out of town for a night or two? Listing every brewery is pointless.

    The Big Kahunas
    Cigar City Brewery (Tampa; offers crowlers)
    Coppertail Brewing (Tampa; now serving Stein & Vine food; offers crowlers)
    Angry Chair Brewing (Tampa; offers crowlers)
    7venth Sun Brewing (Dunedin and Tampa; offers crowlers)
    Hidden Springs Ale Works (Tampa)
    Arkane Aleworks (Largo; offers crowlers)
    Green Bench Brewing (St. Petersburg; also has an on-site sister brand making cider and mead)
    Cycle Brewing (St. Petersburg; offers crowlers)

    Other Highly Recommended Breweries & Brew Pubs
    Saint Somewhere Brewing (Tarpon Springs)
    Tampa Bay Brewing (two locations in Tampa; both are brewpubs)
    Rapp Brewing (Seminole)
    Late Start Brewing (inside Pour House at Grand Central; Tampa)
    Garagiste Meadery (Tampa)

    Highly Recommended Beer Bars

    The Independent (Tampa and St. Pete)
    Willard's (Largo)
    Hops and Props (St. Pete)
    The Ale and the Witch (St. Pete)

    Highly Recommended Bottle Shops
    Jug & Bottle (Tampa)
    Hawthorne Bottle Shop (St. Pete)
    Luekens (various locations)
    Total Wine (various locations)

    (A Few) Beer-centric Restaurants
    Stein & Vine (Brandon)
    Mr. Dunderbaks (they serve a handful of house-brewed beers; Tampa)
    Datz (Tampa)
    Cajun Cafe on Bayou (Pinellas Park)

    The Brewery Bay is a cool resource that allows users to sort breweries in creative ways (e.g., growlers, kid friendly, food).

    Tampa Bay Brew Bus does tours if you'd like someone to curate your local brewery experience. They also have a hop-on/hop-off brewery loop in Tampa on Sundays.
  2. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Here are some further, personal notes/answers to questions I answer a lot:

    1. For foodies, the Tampa Bay Times' Top 50 Restaurants is a good guide (but if you wanna rely on AngryDrunk rants via Yelp and what-not, have at it).
    * 1a. Visitors tend to ask where to get Cuban food and particularly the eponymous sandwich. Popular suggestions include La Teresita and West Tampa Sandwich Shop (Tampa) and Bodega (the OG in St. Pete; now also one in Tampa not too far down Florida Avenue from Angry Chair).
    * 1b. Mazzaro’s. Just go. (Pro tip: Call in your sandwich order. Save your line-waiting for the bakery. Or the cheese section. Or coffee ...)
    * 1c. The “food hall” (I call them upscale food courts) concept has arrived. There are two — Hall on Franklin and Armature Works — within walking distance of each other (as well as Hidden Springs and Garagiste) on the north end of downtown Tampa.
    * 1d. There are a couple of "pour-your-own" (using bracelets with RFID tech tied to a credit card) restaurants now in St Pete that may be more family-friendly than the traditional beer bar. You likely won't find any whalez but they are a solid way to see the breadth of the Florida brewing landscape.

    2. The Tampa Bay area is spread out and traffic often sucks. You'll leave more happy and less stressed if you package your stops in a smaller area (e.g., Tampa or Largo/Dunedin/Tarpon Springs or downtown St. Petersburg) rather than try to hit everything in an afternoon.
    * 2a. Dunedin offers the highest density of walkable breweries and it’s a cool little town anyway.
    * 2b. Cycle to Green Bench isn’t a long walk but it can be a HOT walk depending on the temps. However, you can now hit two really solid breweries (Inoculum and Overflow, both along First Avenue North) between them to break up the “hike.”
    * 2c. The addition of Zydeco Brew Werks (good beer, good food) makes Ybor City a more viable beer craft-beer afternoon (Zydeco plus Tampa Bay Brewing and Cigar City Cider & Mead … and Coppertail, of course, though I don’t recommend walking between Ybor proper and Coppertail).

    3. Cruise passengers: If you find yourself with some time on your hands, take the trolley north to the Port Authority station (or walk) and then head west a half-block to Pour House at Grand Central. Late Start Brewing is making a variety of killer beers there!

    4. Uber and Lyft are things here ... as is an extensive law-enforcement presence. Use the former to avoid the latter.
    * 4a. Viable public transportation is not a thing here; further, there is a dearth of parking at more than a few of the highly touted breweries.

    5. I try to avoid "mission creep" in this thread. That said ...
    * 5a. Calusa (Sarasota, about five minutes west of I-75) is killing it these days. I wouldn’t recommend it to a first-time Tampa visitor but it may make sense for old hands and those who are driving that way anyway.
    * 5b. I know a lot of folks visit this area to see relatives who live NORTH of the Tampa Bay area. Pasco County (the next one up) has two good breweries: Escape (toward the Gulf) and Zephyrhills Brewing (on the east side). Marker 48 is a cool place to hang out in Hernando County (the one above Pasco) and it’s not far from the Suncoast Parkway.

    6. It’s St. Pete. No one here says St. Petes.
  3. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    One other "food hall" is now the Sparkman wharf. Didn't get to eat while there but everything looked good and I believe each of the food stations are backed by top restaurants from around tampa. Plus they have a big beer bar there as well. This is especially good for cruise visitors(but still definitely agree with Pourhouse as well). Near the hockey arena as well for people attending events.
  4. MJS08

    MJS08 Disciple (318) Jul 29, 2014 Florida

    The beer bar at Sparkman is Fermented Reality, co-owned by Joel Bingham, the owner of Craft Beer Cellar in Brandon. He knows beer and how to treat customers. I haven't been there yet, but the tap list looks pretty good. His picture is on the site. Say hey to him and tell him what you think. He'll listen.

    DrOfGolf likes this.

    MTKATL Savant (923) Jun 9, 2015 Georgia
    Society Trader

    Great post, @MHorridge! You are an asset to the Tampa beer community and the epitome of a BA (beer advocate, bad ass, insert whatever you feel best). Cheers
  6. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Thanks for the kind words, friend!
    HeartofMiami likes this.
  7. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Initiate (154) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    Gonna be in Tampa in a few weeks with some friends (staying right near the airport) so this thread has been super valuable. Much appreciated!
    Viclovescourtney and MHorridge like this.
  8. Gsteele292

    Gsteele292 Initiate (64) May 25, 2016 Florida

    great list, always great information! I'll get around to the Jacksonville 2019 list here soonish. I need to confirm some data and get a little bit of input beforehand!
    MHorridge likes this.
  9. shand

    shand Meyvn (1,421) Jul 13, 2010 Florida

    Craft Beer Cellar in Brandon broke off of their franchise with CBC and is now known as FR Bottle Shop.
    MJS08 likes this.
  10. Djsaturn1

    Djsaturn1 Aspirant (220) Dec 12, 2012 Minnesota

    I am headed to Tampa next week and staying in Indian Shores. Wondering if anyone knows if I can still find morning wood on the shelf anywhere around there.
  11. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Most, if not all, of the stores mentioned under "Highly Recommended Bottle Shops" in the first post of this thread are verified venues on Untappd and generally keep up-to-date lists of what they have in stock. Your best bet may be checking the Tampa (close to the airport if you're flying in), Clearwater (a little north of your destination) or St Pete (a little south of your destination) Total Wine stores. I can't imagine (but certainly could be wrong) that you'd happen upon it at the beach.
    HeartofMiami and Bfairhurst74 like this.
  12. TomCat11

    TomCat11 Devotee (498) Jul 21, 2012 Virginia

    Going to be the St. Pete Beach / Belle Vista area on the Gulf next month and seeking direction on what's around. Did not see much when searching or in the very informative details above. A place called Mastry Brewing a couple miles away...... Is there anything brewery / bottle shop wise around there or is it a desert? Will be staying for a few days so really would like to at least be able to grab some bottles / cans from a local store to have handy. I see there is a Publix nearby. Would they have a decent selection to get me through? Not looking for anything specific. Anything that's good and local.

    If there is nothing worthwhile around there it looks like an option may be to take an Uber / Lyft (<$20 trip + tolls??) over to hit up Green Bench, Overflow, Inoculum and Cycle. Won't have a vehicle. I can carve out a 3-4 hour window to check these out one day on the trip. This time of year I assume those would be easily walkable so long as it's not rainy. Random question....I take Uber / Lyft quite a bit but never have through a toll. Would I just pay the toll when we approach it or does does the Uber / Lyft driver charge extra because he/she has to possibly cross the toll twice? And does anyone know what the toll cost might be?

    Thanks in advance!
    #12 TomCat11, Jan 9, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  13. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    The beach strip generally is a craft-beer desert, though you may happen upon some good stuff on tap. Mastry's is solid. Publix will have some craft, including locals (e.g., Cigar City's core lineup, Tampa Bay Brewing, 3 Daughters, Motorworks, etc.) and some regional/national brands.

    In re: Uber. My experience around here is that drivers take the quickest route, including when it involves a toll. Most have SunPasses. I've never had a driver do anything other than drive through the SunPass lane (without discussion of who's paying). I presume Uber/Lyft have some way of accounting for tolls. YMMV. (And, as always, Uber fare << DUI.)

    Hope this helps; cheers!
    HeartofMiami likes this.
  14. macrosmatic

    macrosmatic Poo-Bah (2,747) Mar 9, 2006 Florida
    Society Trader

    If you're going to be on St. Pete Beach, I'd suggest Norman's Liquor as a local bottle shop. It's hardly a craft beer destination, but it's likely to be close (right on Gulf Blvd), and they've had a perfectly reasonable selection the times I've been there. It's the place I found a bottle of SA Utopia a few years ago, and my regular stop when I'm driving over to friends' house on the island.
    TomCat11 likes this.
  15. TomCat11

    TomCat11 Devotee (498) Jul 21, 2012 Virginia

    Thanks for this! Looks like Norman's is about a mile from where I'm staying so should be able to easily get there.
    macrosmatic likes this.
  16. jwLgd

    jwLgd Initiate (124) Oct 9, 2011 Ohio

    any donut recommendations?

    also any place that sells 12 bottle shippers? tia!
  17. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    The better part of me is going to presume this isn't a how-much-minutiae-can-we-request troll ...

    In Tampa, I'd recommend Datz/Dough for full-size donuts and Little Donut House for eponymous treats. I'm sure there are solid options on the other side of the Bay but I don't know them.

    Not donuts but since you're in the South ... I'd recommend Hey Giant! Little Biscuits (two Tampa locations: Seminole Heights and South Tampa). They are KILLing it. Check their website for hours.

    Jug & Bottle (Seminole Heights) and Craft & Curd (South Tampa) both have been known to carry/sell 12-bottle shippers. Hope that helps; cheers!
  18. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    The Tampa Bay Times just released its 2019 Best Restaurants guide so I have updated the hyperlink below to go to the new version (vs. the 2018 edition linked in the original, second post of this thread).

    1. For foodies, the Tampa Bay Times' Best Restaurants is a good guide (but if you wanna rely on AngryDrunk rants via Yelp and what-not, have at it).
    HeartofMiami and Thirst_trappist like this.
  19. itracy63

    itracy63 Devotee (407) Apr 20, 2013 Washington

    @MHorridge Thanks for this thread. Headed to the Tampa area in June.
  20. macrosmatic

    macrosmatic Poo-Bah (2,747) Mar 9, 2006 Florida
    Society Trader

    On behalf of many of us in the SE forum and Tampa area in particular...thank you for finding this thread and reading it. Enjoy your trip!
  21. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    You’re welcome. Merely standing on the shoulders of a giant, my friend Brandon (@BKnarr) who originally put it together.

    And, as @macrosmatic said, thank YOU for reading the thread. Happy to buy you a beer when you’re in town!
  22. itracy63

    itracy63 Devotee (407) Apr 20, 2013 Washington

    We have similar threads up here for Portland and Seattle which I use even as a local, and a lot of visitors have said they wished more places had threads like this, so I was happy to find that Tampa did have one.
  23. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    I'm bumping this because I've already seen one "Are there bottle shops in Tampa?" post in the TBBW 2019 thread.
    HeartofMiami likes this.
  24. CanesHeatFins305

    CanesHeatFins305 Initiate (90) Nov 25, 2014 Florida

    Which breweries serve wine? Asking for my wife. THANKS
  25. darkwing1

    darkwing1 Initiate (136) May 13, 2013 Illinois

    Of the big guys, I believe only Cigar City. Not sure if she's into mead, but Green Bench seems to have 1 mead available most of the time lately and of course you could do Garagiste.
    CanesHeatFins305 likes this.
  26. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    Off the top of my head ...
    * Cigar City
    * Tampa Bay Brewing (which serves beer, wine and liquor)
    * Zydeco Brew Werks
    * Green Bench (I think ... maybe)

    The list obviously grows longer if your wife drinks mead (as @darkwing1 rightly suggests) and/or cider (which is almost always available at Cigar City, Green Bench, 7venth Sun and Coppertail and sometimes -- sometimes -- at Angry Chair).
  27. CanesHeatFins305

    CanesHeatFins305 Initiate (90) Nov 25, 2014 Florida

    well noted and thanks fellas. She's meh on mead and cider unfortunately haha
  28. Bburns87

    Bburns87 Initiate (129) Jun 11, 2013 Illinois

    Anyone here been to the wake up with wakefield tap takeover at Hawthorne? Haven't seen a lot of planned events I want to do on thursday/friday but this one looks nice. I am just curious if it is a overly crowded event and we would need to get there very early. Was hoping I could get breakfast and get there around 8:30 to get in line (it starts at 9)
  29. Bburns87

    Bburns87 Initiate (129) Jun 11, 2013 Illinois

    I'm fairly certain that green bench has wine but worst case they have ciders. Also it's basically a given that his wife will love that place because it's an amazing taproom/beer garden area.
    darkwing1 likes this.
  30. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    Saw that 7venth has wine as well now.
  31. NoMoreBeerBelly

    NoMoreBeerBelly Initiate (144) Dec 2, 2009 North Carolina

    We went last year and had a good time. Waited until it has been going for an hour as I didn't feel like standing around in line. Walked right up to get tickets, and zero wait to get a beer. I think some of the whales may have kicked by the time we got there but wasn't a problem for us. Beer tickets were pricey but not complaining. We then went over to Cycle for lunch and more beers. I plan to go back again this year if the weather is nice again.
  32. Bburns87

    Bburns87 Initiate (129) Jun 11, 2013 Illinois

    Yes we plan on hitting up cycle as well. Last year was pretty amazing with everything they tapped as well as the bottle shares.
  33. Mateo2699

    Mateo2699 Zealot (564) Jun 9, 2015 Texas

    Hey guys I'm flying to Tampa 3/7, and didn't know this was Tampa beer week (didn't know when I booked the flight) I planned on visiting Cigar City, Angry Chair, maybe Hidden Spring and make a few food stops (Ulele and Hall on Franklin seem cool), then will leave for Orlando Friday evening.

    Because it's Tampa Beer Week should I expect crazy lines and crowds at CCB, AC and most other breweries? I was also gonna check out this World of Beer since it's walking distance from my hotel. Just curious about the hype of Tampa Beer Week and how crazy it is...
  34. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    The short answer to all of that is, "Yes, it's going to be crazy and crowded -- and maybe impossibly so if you had your heart set on Angry Chair, for example -- at the places you mention Thursday evening and Friday day."

    You can, and should, read the Tampa Bay Beer Week thread for more details about the breweries you mentioned.

    If you're staying near Tampa International and are referring to the World of Beer there ... man. That place was so massively underwhelming (middling tap list, mediocre food and subpar service) the couple times we went that we've never been back. YMMV. (Now that I think about it, though, that WoB may be the least-crowded beer place during TBBW ... so it may have that going for it.)

    As it relates to food ... Hall on Franklin, Ulele and Armature Works are all cool. The counterintuitive play for Thursday night may be Sparkman's Wharf. It's the city's shiny, new thing but the crowds there may be "regular" size vs. the "super" size ones you'll find nearer more beer-centric locales. The Wharf has "outposts" of a bunch of the area's best restaurants; further, Fermented Reality Biergarten generally has a local-centric tap list and likely will turn that up further during beer week.
    HeartofMiami likes this.
  35. Mateo2699

    Mateo2699 Zealot (564) Jun 9, 2015 Texas

    Thanks for the reply. Based on AC’s hype and reading reviews, I’d imagine it will be jam packed those two days. And reading the TBW thread, AC won’t even be open Thursday. Depending on our scheduling, I may have to miss out on it. Cigar City is on my bucket list though, so hopefully I’ll have a chance to visit Thursday night.

    And I’ve been to plenty of WOB’s in TX so the underwhelming part doesn’t surprise me. We’re arriving in Tampa at 6pm, considering having dinner, swinging by CCB.... then I was planning on heading by world of beer (spruce) because of location... now I’m considering your Sparksman Wharf suggestion... any other craft beer bar recommendations? Maybe a place that serves liquor as well? Not everyone in my party is for beer.

    Thanks again for anybody’s recommendations.
  36. NoMoreBeerBelly

    NoMoreBeerBelly Initiate (144) Dec 2, 2009 North Carolina

    Cigar City wasn't too bad last year. Just don't expect a seat and look at their schedule. We went after the maple huna bottle release but before the 3 sons event and were able to get a couple beers and stand outside after we got our Huna allotments. We went back Friday or Saturday as well (can't remember which) and at wasn't too bad. Most Huna day people know they are going to get to try the majority of the CCB at Huna day for free so it isn't that crowded. Just don't go when they are having an event and you will be fine!
    Mateo2699 likes this.
  37. Beer_Baron87

    Beer_Baron87 Initiate (29) Feb 15, 2019 Florida

    If you don’t mind missing on some whales, I love me some Ybor City action. There’s a few breweries (Coppertail, Zydeco, Tampa Bay Brew Company, Cigar City Cider/Meadery, Rock Brothers), and there’s a bunch of other bars particularly Brass Tap that will have plenty of options beer wise, but also has wine and a few house cocktails for your crowd.

    Also, if you enjoy a nice cigar I always go to King Corona for a drink and people watch on the patio.

    Tampa Bay Brew Company may be my favorite restaurant out there for the quality beer and food served, I definitely recommend trying it. If you want a nicer dinner try Bernini’s, entrees and pasta dishes are half off from 4-7 with $3 martinis. Their Roasted duck is my jam.

    Enjoy your trip, cheers.
    hititback likes this.
  38. MHorridge

    MHorridge Zealot (502) May 16, 2010 Florida
    Society Trader

    You’re welcome.

    Go. CCB has the most capacity to handle large crowds.

    Answer is still Sparkman’s Wharf.
    HeartofMiami likes this.
  39. Thirst_trappist

    Thirst_trappist Aspirant (274) Jan 18, 2016 Florida

    You'll be in a line at that point. People really line up early for this event
  40. Bburns87

    Bburns87 Initiate (129) Jun 11, 2013 Illinois

    I've never been to the tampa WOB but I wouldn't bother spending time going there. Based on my experience at WOB in chicagoland, they will just have a lot of common local beers that you could get basically anywhere you went with maybe 1 or 2 beers that you'd actually be interested in. Also as someone else mentioned, the food is just below average bar food, much better can be obtained in the area.

    Angry chair will probably be packed at all times. If you're going to go I'd say your best bet would be right when you got in on thursday.

    I'd suggest spending 1/2 a day in st pete brewery hopping. There are a lot of breweries in a close vicinity and it's just a drive over the bridge from tampa.