Visiting Tampa/St.Pete? LOOK HERE FIRST! Fall/Winter(haha!!) 2018-'19 recommendations

Discussion in 'South-Atlantic' started by MHorridge, Oct 3, 2018.

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  1. MHorridge

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

    Update: There is now a stand-alone Orlando-area edition!

    A preamble of sorts: This is designed to be a resource for travelers to the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater 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.

    Locals, 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. (That's what this page is for.)

    Visitors, 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.

    The Big Kahunas
    Cigar City Brewery (Tampa; offers crowlers)
    Coppertail Brewing (Tampa; offers crowlers and Stein & Vine food)
    Angry Chair Brewing (Tampa; offers crowlers)
    7venth Sun Brewing (Dunedin and Tampa; offers crowlers)
    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)
    Hidden Springs Ale Works (Tampa)
    Garagiste Meadery (Tampa)
    Late Start Brewing (inside Pour House at Grand Central; Tampa)
    Tampa Bay Brewing (two locations in Tampa; both are brewpubs)
    Rapp Brewing (Seminole)

    Highly Recommended Beer Bars
    The Ale and the Witch (St. Pete)
    The Independent (Tampa and St. Pete)
    Willard's (Largo)
    Hops and Props (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
    Mr. Dunderbaks (Tampa)
    Datz (Tampa)
    Stein & Vine (Brandon)
    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 AngryDrunkPerson 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.

    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. Rkitchen

    Rkitchen Aspirant (205) Feb 18, 2017 Michigan

    Great summary! Looking to hit a game at Raymond James and then parlay that into stops at AC and Hidden Springs. Wondering which area would be reccomended for a one or two night stay. Looks like hotels are concentrated in Westshore, Busch Gardens area and downtown. Any advice appreciated.
  4. Joehio

    Joehio Initiate (87) Sep 7, 2016 Florida

    I’d stay near the stadium (westshore/airport on the hotel websites). Makes it easy on game day and Cigar City is right there. Short ride to AC and Hidden Springs.
    HeartofMiami and ahroun like this.
  5. Rkitchen

    Rkitchen Aspirant (205) Feb 18, 2017 Michigan

    Great. Thanks!
  6. MHorridge

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

    I agree with @Joehio's recommendation; however, I wouldn't discount the downtown options. Sometimes, the prices on some really nice properties (e.g., Marriott Waterside, Embassy Suites, Aloft) come down on weekends. You'd still be easy Uber rides to Angry Chair, Cigar City and the stadium (as well as Late Start/Pour House at Grand Central and Coppertail). As a bonus, you could amble up the Riverwalk to Hidden Springs, Hall on Franklin, Armature Works, Ulele, etc.

    You do NOT want to stay near Busch Gardens. Safe travels!
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  7. Henryb22

    Henryb22 Initiate (92) Jun 18, 2014 South Carolina

    Gonna be in tampa for like 36 hours but will have most of next wednesday to explore. Hopping to hit a couple breweries. I like NEIPAs and fruited sours, my fiance likes fruited sours. I was thinking hidden spring since they have a lot of sours and then maybe coppertail/angry chair/cycle for the second. Which brewery would yall recommend? Taking home some cans/crowlers would be a nice bonus. We will have a car but dont want to drive super far since we have limited time. Good restaurants nearby would also be nice. TIA
  8. Joehio

    Joehio Initiate (87) Sep 7, 2016 Florida

    Cycle is pretty far from Hidden Springs, so unless you are gonna be in St. Pete cross off cycle. But if you are into BA stouts, I’d definitely go to Cycle then Greenbench for some variety.

    For the beer styles you want (no one really does good NE style in Tampa) I’d do Hidden Springs, Angry Chair and 7th Sun. All are within a couple miles of each other.
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  9. IPAkindaguy

    IPAkindaguy Aspirant (242) Aug 20, 2010 Florida

    If you are hitting Hidden Springs and short on time head to Angry Chair or 7venth Sun (or Both) right after. All within close distance and do the NEIPA/Fruited Sours. Food wise in that area you have two food halls: Heights Market at Amature Works or Hall on Franklin (Hall is next door to HS, Heights is a few blocks over). Both are large in door markets with plenty of food options. Or you can head toward the water and check out Sparkman Warf that is similar with many food options plus a large beer garden with tons of local/national taps to pick from. This might be your best bet keeping time in mind.
    Henryb22 likes this.
  10. Henryb22

    Henryb22 Initiate (92) Jun 18, 2014 South Carolina

    Thanks, this is exactly what I needed to know!
  11. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    7venth is releasing a new IPA cans today. Plus, they have a few cans of sours as well. If you are looking for cans on your visit. I think I saw hidden springs is releasing something as well. Not sure about angry chair since they just had their anniversary.
    Henryb22 likes this.
  12. Joehio

    Joehio Initiate (87) Sep 7, 2016 Florida

    Hidden springs and 7th sun always have cans of something available. A lot of Hidden Springs berliners are hitting distro, too. AC never has anything available unless you line up at 8am on release day or stumble into a silent release. They will Crowler some of their tap list, but not much of it.
    Henryb22 likes this.
  13. Henryb22

    Henryb22 Initiate (92) Jun 18, 2014 South Carolina

    Awesome, good to know. I have a free checked bag so hoping to bring back some cans!
  14. Henryb22

    Henryb22 Initiate (92) Jun 18, 2014 South Carolina

    Hey guys thanks for the recs, we ended up going to Hidden Springs, Angry Chair and 7venth sun. Angry Chair and Hidden Springs were pretty good. Got some cans from Hidden springs and a crowler from 7venth sun.
  15. Mateo2699

    Mateo2699 Zealot (564) Jun 9, 2015 Texas

    Could anybody recommend a beer-centric restaurant, but with a reasonable liquor selection with great food? Trying to please a bunch of people here. Visiting Tampa one day, then driving to Port Canaveral for a cruise.

    I'm also trying to figure out a place to stay in Tampa for one night. Preferably no more than $150 for the night. We are visiting Busch Gardens, but I read above someone mentioned do not stay around Busch Gardens.
  16. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    Maybe a place like The Hall on Franklin or Armature Works might work for you. Lots of food options and both have bars with liquor and beer. Both are sort of high end food courts. I think in the Hall you can sit at a table and order from any of the vendors and have it served to one table. I think Armature has a couple of sit down places and then some walk ups to grab and then go meet at a big table. Both do have liquor and good beer options(good coffee options as well). Near downtown and fairly close to the airport so you can probably find a hotel that fits your need around there or close to airport.

    Tampa Bay Brewing Co in Ybor has liquor as well as their beers. More of pub style food. Good stuff.
  17. MHorridge

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

    I can't/won't disagree with anything @odsbodkins wrote above. Those are solid options, for sure.

    The challenge in my mind is hitting all three of your check-list items (two of three is no problem). Here are some additional thoughts:
    * Ulele (north of downtown): Great Florida-focused food, extensive cocktails, serviceable (brewed on site) beer, excellent ambiance. Ulele is very close to Hall on Franklin and Armature Works and is right along Riverwalk, which is terrific; additionally, it's two blocks from Hidden Springs Ale Works.
    * The Refinery (Seminole Heights): Great, Beard-nominated food; cocktails; and usually a really nice craft-beer list that's representative of Tampa/Florida broadly.
    * Mandarin Heights/Bodega (Seminole Heights): A different experience than Ulele or Refinery but still really good. Bodega makes kick-ass Cuban food and one of the area's best bartenders works at the adjoining Mandarin Heights. They will have a decent beer list. The Refinery and MH/Bodega are very close to each other and within walking distance of Angry Chair.
    * Datz (South Tampa): Terrific food, cool cocktails and generally a good (sometimes great, sometimes "meh") tap list.
    * The Stein & Vine (Brandon): High-end "pub food," likely the best tap-house beer lineup in the area and wine (no cocktails). Its "downside" is that it's not really near anything. (That said: If you just want to eat and then hit the sack, you may be able to find a hotel in Brandon that would put you close to the interstate for your drive to Canaveral.)

    I wouldn't stay around Busch Gardens, anyway. Not sure when you're coming but now through March or so is "high season" in Florida.

    There are two main areas to look (again, as @odsbodkins suggested above) at for hotels: downtown and the Westshore Business District/near the airport. If you're here on a weekend day, downtown likely is cheaper than by the airport. Both areas are Uber-able to all of the above (though S&V might be a little pricey).
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  18. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    When does Refinery close up shop? Sad to see it go and didn't want to suggest in case I already missed it closing.

    Datz is good and just thought of another one in that area, Edison. I haven't been in a while but that use to be an excellent place to eat and good beer/liquor.

    If staying in Downtown then the Gin Joint is a good place for a nightcap drink after dinner. Hotel is another cocktail place downtown I hear good things about but I haven't been there yet to speak from personal experience.
    Bfairhurst74 likes this.
  19. MHorridge

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

    Not aware of any plans of theirs to close. They shut down the old Refinery location (in the old bungalow) and merged it earlier this year into what had been the sister Fodder & Shine restaurant location on the other side of Florida Avenue. Seem to be still chugging along.

    Still there and putting out terrific food.

    I think of Edison -- along with Mise en Place (west of downtown not far from Edison) -- as places with amazing food and great cocktails/wine but not really beer-centric.

    Rooster & the Till (Seminole Heights) -- Food's always been outstanding; small but good beer/wine list; no cocktails.
    Mekenita Cantina (Seminole Heights) -- Really good Mexican (Oaxacan, specifically) food and a solid cocktail selection; limited beers.
    Haven (Hyde Park; sister restaurant of Bern's): A place with great food (cheese selection is ridiculous!) and a great cocktail/wine program. They have good beer there but I doubt that's why anyone goes there.

    Hell, Mermaid Tavern has kick-ass food and a terrific tap list (but no cocktails). There are a lot of great places to eat around here but only a handful that hit the great food/great beer/great cocktails trifecta!
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  20. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    There was an article about the couple that owns Refinery were retiring and selling it. So maybe it's not going to close if someone wants to keep it going.

    Edison had good beers on but I guess it wasnt a big tap list.

    Rooster and till is awesome. No cocktails but one of the best places to eat in Tampa in my opinion.

    Forgot about Haven as well, great place.

    I agree with Mermaid. Good food, tap list, and right next door to 7venth Sun. But no cocktails unfortunately.
  21. Mateo2699

    Mateo2699 Zealot (564) Jun 9, 2015 Texas

    Wow, thanks for all the help guys. I've taken the time to research most of the places mentioned, Hall on Franklin and Armature Works seems like a cool area to hang around. Hotel prices when I'm going (March 7-8) are a little pricey around downtown area, I may consider staying a little further east on interstate 4.

    As far as breweries, Cigar City is a must for me. I've always been a fan of Angry Chair, so I may check out that as well. Same with Cycle, but I doubt I'd have the time to make a trip down to St Petersburg. I love stouts, I'm assuming these are the best breweries in Tampa when it comes to stouts?

    Also is there anything worth checking out off I4 on our way to Port Canaveral? Bottle shops, beer bars, breweries, etc. Unfamiliar with the area, never driven through it.
  22. odsbodkins

    odsbodkins Initiate (28) Jan 3, 2010 Georgia

    March 7-8th is right in the busiest time of year to be here. The list of things going on in Tampa around that time is long, including Tampa Bay Beer Week. Check ahead as the breweries you may want to visit might be doing ticketed events those nights.
  23. ryno62474

    ryno62474 Initiate (78) Oct 8, 2008 Pennsylvania

    2 part plea for help,

    Heading down tomorrow south of Tampa, don pedro island area, for a week. Will be passing through Tampa on Sunday. Which brewery would you suggest for cans? We would love to load up the cooler.

    Also, calusa is about 45 min north and will be hitting that, but any recommendations for the ft Myers area, or just north of there? Thanks for any help.
  24. MHorridge

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

    7venth Sun (just off I-275 in Seminole Heights), Hidden Springs Ale Works (just off I-275 north of downtown) and/or Cigar City (just off I-275 west of downtown). Check their websites/social media for hours, descriptions and availability.

    Check out this thread (bottom of page 1 in this forum) for info on stuff down that way:
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  25. ryno62474

    ryno62474 Initiate (78) Oct 8, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Thank you
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  26. MHorridge

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

    Cheers! Have fun!
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  27. Viclovescourtney

    Viclovescourtney Initiate (68) Apr 27, 2016 Florida

    Load up on cans in Tampa and growlers at calusa. Don Pedro is accessed by boat only and you're pretty far from anything in Fort Myers.
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