Sunday, March 6, 2011

Drinking Made Easy: Tampa Bay

Zane Lamprey, host of HDNet's Drinking Made Easy, just announced on his Facebook page that he will be filming an episode of his show in the Tampa Bay area and is looking for suggestions on where to film. Drinking Made Easy is a show in which Zane Lamprey and his friend Steve McKenna travel all over in the US in search of the best and most original bars, pubs, beers, spirits, wines and mixed drinks each city has to offer. This is my attempt to highlight some of the best drinking experiences that the Tampa Bay area has to offer.

Cigar City Brewery
The Cigar City Brewery is an up and coming, GABF award-winning brewery located in Tampa. This brewery has a small bar and offers tours of the facility where they create their year round and seasonal beers. One great feature of this brewery is that you get the chance to try prototype beers before they are mass produced for public consumption. Cigar City Brewery is growing so fast in Florida and other areas in the region that they are currently working on a new brewhouse. My personal favorite beer that they carry is the Pale Ale IPA named Jai Alai.
Cigar City Brewery

Bern's Steak House
This world famous steakhouse is not a place that the average Joe typically goes for a drink, but it is worth noting that they currently have the largest wine list of any restaurant in the world. Their wine cellar is so large that they recently stumbled upon a $30,000 bottle of 1947 Chateau Latour that they didn't even know they had.
Bern's Steak House

Ceviche Restaurant and Tapas Bar
Ceviche makes my favorite Sangria in the Tampa Bay area. Their sangria (red or white) is not only very tasty, but it is also very strong! The original location of this restaurant is in Tampa, but I personally like the St. Petersburg location better. It is located right off the bay and is only walking distance to other great restaurants and bars. Nothing beats sipping on this sangria on a nice lazy Sunday or while dancing to Spanish music in the downstairs flamenco bar.

The Independent
This St. Petersburg beer hall serves over 100 different beers. Most of their selection is European, but they also carry some domestic micro brews. This bar is for people looking for a real beer experience. The bartenders are especially good at taking your current beer tastes and finding the perfect new beer for you to try. The atmosphere is typically very chill and the crowd is normally pretty young/trendy.
The Independent St Petersburg

Ybor City
This area of Tampa holds the nightlife that Tampa Bay is probably most famous for. It is in this area that you can find a plethora of bars, clubs and even the Tampa Bay Brewery. Ybor City is known as the Cigar Capitol of North America and also has Florida's oldest restaurant (Columbia Restaurant). In my experience, Ybor City is something different for everyone so the best way to experience it is to take a stroll down 7th Avenue and see where the night takes you.

If anyone else has advice for where Zane Lamprey should film the Tampa Bay episode of Drinking Made Easy, please leave your comment below.



    Ciro's in Tampa

  2. Oldsmar Taphouse is a great place to be. Cigar City is a must, make sure they have Oatmeal Cookie on draft!