When the lights of downtown St. Petersburg begin to shimmer on the Gulf waters, St. Petersburg nightlife comes alive. With warm, subtropical nights and miles of gentle coastline, St. Petersburg nightlife has a romantic, beach feel. Jimmy B's on the boardwalk is an ideal nightlife spot for mingling with locals and listening to live music (every night of the week) while St. Petersburg's entertainment epicenter, Bay Walk, boasts a full floor of bars and clubs, including martini lounges and dance clubs. In downtown St. Petersburg, the jazz on Central is legendary—St Petersburg jazz clubs boast some of the best jazz in Florida. Just outside of downtown St. Petersburg, the "Trop" (officially Tropicana Field, home of the St. Petersburg's Tampa Bay Rays baseball team) hosts an active variety of St. Petersburg sports bars.
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Joe Mocha's club, hosting concerts from punk, hardcore and industrial to rap, alternative and acoustic music.
A downtown St. Petersburg tavern for food, beer and live music.
Abbey Road Pub
974 58th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.343.0304
Live Music Club: The sleepy west-central area of St. Pete didn't know what hit it when seasoned pub owner Brian Winstanley marched in and set up shop with a motley crew of barmaids and bouncers toting Janis Joplin posters and Led Zeppelin tunes. Who would have thought the once mellow neighborhood would become home to Abbey Road Pub, one of the coolest rock havens in the scene? In the tradition of cool rock dives, Abbey Road is armed with all the best beer on tap and a friendly, music-loving staff. Everything from feisty rock to hippy grooves can be found here in this St. Petersburg bar, either in the form of an awesome jukebox or a live performance. Live music every night provides ample opportunities to hear the best of local artists while enjoying a beer or two (or seven), and the pool table and golf video game allow for hours of tipsy entertainment.
A Taste for Wine
241 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.895.1623
Wine Bar/ Jazz Club: Voted St. Petersburg's Most Romantic Bar, A Taste For Wine is an upscale lounge featuring gourmet appetizers and a host of Bacchanalian delights. A formidable Mecca for wine lovers, professionals and connoisseurs alike tend to gather here for mild socializing and savoring the seductive flavors of vintages from all over the world. This St. Petersburg wine bar is posh and elegant in every way, from the polished walnut furnishings to the original artwork to the stunning granite bar. The New Orleans-style balcony provides a tranquil respite on a hot day where you can relax with a crisp Pinot Grigio while watching St. Pete go by. If music is the entertainment of choice; head to A Taste For Wine on a Friday night to enjoy your favorite, lusty red while letting your soul get intoxicated by rich Jazz performers. For anyone who loves the scene but isn't a fan of the vine, A Taste For Wine also features a robust selection of beer, ales and microbrews, as well as a few original non-alcoholic creations.
Banana Boat Bayside
13090 Gandy Blvd. N., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.570.2996
Beach Bar: If there's anything better than listening to Jimmy Buffett while wearing flip-flops at a beachfront bar, we don't know about it...or, at least we stopped searching once we found Banana Boat Bayside. Seriously, if your beer doesn't need to come from a tap and you don't mind the smell of the ocean mixed with tanning oil, then this St. Pete beachfront bar is the place to be. A majority of Banana Boat Bayside's customers seem satisfied with the bottled selection of beer, but there's always room to ask the bartender for a margarita or some other coconut, beach-y drink. Folks who are trying to cushion their belly for the incoming alcohol can chow down on the standard bar grub, such as fries, wings, jalapeno poppers and the battered and fried fresh catch of the day. Hanging out at Banana's is like hanging out at home, but better.
Brixx Bar and Grill
9047 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.577.9790
Local Bar/ Dance Club: Whether seeking a cozy nook under amber lights or a hip spot to show off Salsa moves on the dance floor, Brixx Bar & Grill is a great place to go. From 11am on, this St. Petersburg B&G serves up everything from Guinness to Manhattan's along side a killer menu of American pub fare with unique Latin twists. Chase a brick-oven pizza with a homemade dessert, or simply grab a knockdown margarita and hit the dance floor on a Saturday night for the best of old-school salsa, merengue and bachata. Brixx Bar and Grill has no shortage of eye candy either. Air Force members from the local base find this to be one of their favorite haunts, making it an even better destination for singles—c'mon, we all know that the Air Force is just hot! Everyone should feel free to turn up the heat on steamy Florida nights at this St. Pete hotspot.
Budweiser Brew House
1 Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg, FL; 727.825.3120
Sports Bar: Sports fans officially have it all. Tropicana Stadium is home to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, about 300 concessions options and the Budweiser Brew House. The pre and post game radio shows for all broadcasts originate from this St. Petersburg staple that serves select Bud microbrews and baseball on tap. Since it's the prime spot to be the two hours before and after the game and they broadcast on high-def TVs that put bullpen seats to shame, anyone who can actually manage to schlep themselves off their cushy barstool and make it to the stadium seating gets points for being a true sports fan. For everyone else, though, the Budweiser Brew House is the ideal spot to watch for home runs and basic baseball hoorah. On the plus side, the only foul that might pop up and hit you in the head here comes from the drunk, over-zealous fan in the corner who throws his glass in the air to celebrate. In general, the vibe of this joint is focused on a mutual love for beer and baseball, and the angriest words you'll ever hear are, "what kind of moron pitches like th...darn, I spilled my beer. Bartender!"
Blue Jeans Bar
10387 Gandy Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.576.2583
Gay Bar: This place is Cheers in drag. If anyone is looking for a place to go where they'll instantly feel like family, Blue Jeans Bar is it. It's no wonder that owner Billy Barfield (yes, the ex-professional wrestler) opened this super friendly St. Pete bar with the commitment to making a home away from home for every gay, straight, bi or just-plain-confused little soul. After all, it couldn't have been all that easy growing up a Southern Jewish gay redneck who's wrestling skills landed him in the straight-male-soap-opera world of professional wrestling. Boasting the title of the Little Bar with a Big Heart, Blue Jeans Bar sets the scene perfectly for a fun night for just about anyone. Catch an amazing drag show while chowing down on delicious Buffalo wings, or see how many beers it takes you to muster up the courage to join in on karaoke.
7220 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.528.1510
Neighborhood Bar: Everyone from locals on foot to leather-clad folks on Harleys seems to agree that Brandy's Lounge just plain rocks. It's one of those bars where, when you want to go out and don't know what to do, you start out here. Trouble is, once you saunter into Brandy's, you'll wind up stumbling out much later than you'd planned. This gritty neighborhood bar has a way of luring everyone in and convincing them to stay, which most likely has something to do with the hot, friendly bartenders and dangerously tasty cocktails. In addition to a good selection of brews, Brandy's seems to have a little something for everyone on tap. Pool tournaments, Karaoke, Texas Hold'em and live bands all have a night devoted to them at this St. Petersburg pub, and Born To Ride magazine calls Brandy's home to the weekly Bike Night, which draws a fun batch of bikers from all over the city.
Cha Cha Coconuts
800 2nd Ave NE, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.822.6655
Beach Bar: Perched five stories above Tampa Bay at the top of the St. Petersburg Pier, Cha Cha Coconuts offers the best view in downtown St. Pete. Whether with family or friends, hanging out on the massive deck over crystal blue waters is bound to put anyone in a good mood. Cha Cha's serves up a variety of tasty cuisine, from American favorites to a Bahamian inspired spread of goodies. During the day, this St. Pete beachfront bar is a popular place to relax amid faux tropical décor and take in some sun; but, come nighttime, Cha Cha's becomes a hip, sparkling beacon above jet-black waters awash with locals and tourists alike. The prices are a little steeper here than most places, but succulent ribs and mind-boggling cocktails make it worth the visit.
Kahuna's Bar & Grill
10515 Gandy Blvd. St. Petersburg, FL; 727.576.7800
Beach Bar: If the Skipper, Ginger and Mary Ann ever got off that darned island and needed a place to hang out to avoid culture shock, Kahuna's would be it. In every way a tacky tiki beach shack, this St. Petersburg Bar & Grill is impossible not to love, hence its popularity among, well, everyone! The yummy, but light, pub fare does well for most cases of the munchies, but does little to nothing for arming the stomach against the ubiquitous island cocktails that dangerously taste more and more like juice every time and are easier to swallow than Viagra on a desperate night. When you add beach volleyball tournaments and drunken hula-hoop contests into this equation, it becomes clear that anyone planning to spend their night kickin' it island-style at Kahuna's Bar & Grill should go ahead and politely shoo all aspirations of responsibility and humility out the window. Surprisingly, it's not the geeks playing video games, the fat guy with the tiny ukulele or the ridiculous Hawaiian print shirt wearing folks here that stick out like sore thumbs, it's anyone who has the inane sense to show up wearing anything other than board shorts, tee shirts and flip flops.
131 2nd Ave. North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.895.8558
Nightclub/ Lounge: Nothing is sexier than beautiful bartenders serving up to-die-for martinis to glitterati donning haute couture. Serving up a variety of unique cocktails, Martini Bar is everything that the name suggests. In the tradition of true martinis, it only takes one or two from this St. Pete lounge to make everything seem a little hazy, especially if you try the Braziliantini, which, with six different types of alcohol, is like an upscale, fruity version of a Long Island Iced Tea. The stunning interior of this posh nightclub gives way to a heavenly balcony, and live jazz bands give people a chance to show off their best dance moves. When looking for a fun Florida night filled with the glitz and glam of Hollywood and the class and sass of Manhattan, what could be better than sitting outside at a marble bar sipping martinis with names like The Big Easy, Godiva and the Flirt?
The Emerald Bar
550 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.898.6054
Local Bar/ Dive Bar: Serving up intoxication like it's going out of style, The Emerald Bar is an odd jumble of artsy-kitsch and blue-collar punk. There is an ongoing modern art exhibition that adorns the faux wood-paneled walls and, in place of gallery lights, is accented by vintage, faded green neon beer signs. A true local bar in every sense of the word, The Emerald happily plays host to just about everyone, hippies and bikers alike, and serves up fantastically cheap drinks to jukebox tunes like Social Distortion. At any given point, this hardcore local bar is the place to find the neighborhood drunk giggling away at the pretty punk diva next to him who's trying desperately to turn a deaf ear to a reminiscent Vietnam vet who can't seem to stop telling war stories.
29 3rd Street North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.820.9514
Neighborhood Bar: Beer, beer, and more beer. Beer lovers have found their utopia! The Independent is a world-class beer bar serving up brews from all over the world. When hanging out at this downtown St. Petersburg bar, it's almost impossible to resist the temptation to try every beer they have. Note: anyone who truly attempts to accomplish this task in one night will be having their stomach pumped by morning; the list of incredible brews goes on for miles. For non-beer folk (a.k.a. blasphemers) who are being dragged out by a hops-addicted friend, The Independent also features a robust wine list. But, lets get back to the beer...For folks who are new to beer (a.k.a. ex-blasphemers), the staff is fully prepared to nurse you through every savory sip and help you find the brew that you can't live without.
Ferg's Sports Bar
1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.822.4562
Sports Bar: Sports fans unite! Happily pouring beer and baseball to everyone from twenty-somethings to grandmas, Ferg's is a St. Petersburg institution. Located just across the street from Tropicana Field, Ferg's is one of the hotspots for anyone looking to have a glass of ice-cold team spirit before the game while ogling the wall of fame dedicated to the Devil Rays. Friendly bartenders gently nurse post losing-game woes with buckets (yes, buckets) of beer, and winning-games pack the bar with the wildest of drunken, celebratory crowds. If you need some food to bear the drink, order up a greasy burger or Philly cheesesteak, or just stick with the favorite bar staple: buffalo wings.
8312 4th St. North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.570.9025
Gay Bar/ Lesbian Bar: Holding down the fort for all of lesbian-kind for over 38 years, The Hideaway is the oldest women's bar in the country...But don't worry guys, there's no "Boy's Keep Out!" sign out front. In fact, the Hideaway is most often praised for a "Cheers" style atmosphere, and the beautiful ladies behind the bar are happy to welcome anyone and everyone in for an ice cold beer seven nights a week. With a day dedicated to free pool, a day full of bar games like Bingo for Beer, a days featuring live music and a day entitled "Sink or Swim - $15 all you can drink", what more could anyone want from a bar? If you're going to be stubborn about loving this place, then add in the facts that there are over 40 brews to choose from and that happy hour lasts for five hours each day. Really, does life get any better than this? Didn't think so.
1492 4th St. North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.895.2049
British Pub/ Local Bar: More packed than a Chelsea vs. Manchester game just about every night of the week, Limey's is a quintessential English pub that's impossible to stay away from. Happily seated in the bustling heart of old St. Pete, this rockin' pub serves up some of the best imported beers from around Europe, a decent selection of bottled domestics and just about every liquor needed to cultivate giddy states of drunkenness. Smart folks who know that alcohol on an empty stomach is a bad idea will love Limey's menu, which offers everything from American fare standards like burgers, chicken and cheese fries to true English pub grub like bangers & mash, scotch eggs and some mouthwatering combination of Guinness and meat. Hands down, the coolest part about Limey's Pub is the layout. The massive bar sits smack dab in the middle of the place, half inside and half outside, thanks to giant sliding door decked out in sparkling lights. The patio itself wraps around three-quarters of the bar, offering one of the best outdoor drinking spots in town. If that's not enough, there's also a playground! Yes, one can actually drink a tremendous amount of tasty beer and go down a slide. Who knew your inner five-year-old was a lush?
2742 4th St. North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.894.8465
Jazz Club/ Local Bar: A former boarding house and boxing club, Ringside Café is as much a St. Petersburg institution as it is a museum of blues and boxing. Between Lewis vs. Tyson fight posters, Neiman's boxing lithographs, signed shots of Tommy Castro and Lucky Peterson and the standard bar array of neon beer guitar signs, little space is left on the walls of this two story venue. Though boxing may not be everyone's favorite sport, Ringside is still one of the most popular bars in St. Pete. Almost every night, everyone from locals to tourists packs in here for the outstanding service, staggering cocktails and a monumental menu. Dishes like warm chicken mojo salad, Texas chili in a sourdough bread bowl, succulent ribs and stuffed shrimp are just the start of the killer food picks in Ringside, but as Stevie Ray Vaughn said, their pride and joy are the sweet potato curls. Though this place is regularly overflowing with patrons, the best part is that the service never changes. Come here enough, and, even on a busy night, the bartender will remember both your name and your drink of choice.
The Rare Olive
300 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.822.7273
Jazz Club/ Lounge: A cushy nook in St. Pete's party-central neighborhood, it's no wonder The Rare Olive is one of the most popular lounges around. Decked out with pop art a la Andy Warhol and rich hues of green, this mellow lair serves up laid-back vibes alongside an impressive list of drink selections, and almost every night offers the chance to sip something cold while listening to steamy live jazz acts. The Olive's claim to fame, though, is a stupefying list of martinis and specialty drinks. From playful creations like the Dean Martini, the Milky Way and the Junkyard Dawg to standard faves like the Cosmopolitan and the Dirty Diva (your standard dirty martini), even the most discriminating palate can find a sassy inebriant here. Non-vodka fans can choose from an impressive list of beer or wine, or they can order up something fun like the Olive's signature shot, the Sexual Alligator.
Old Northeast Tavern
201 7th Ave. North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.821.8070
Neighborhood Bar/ Local Bar: Old Northeast is half gourmet lounge and half neighborhood tavern in every sense of the word. Neighborhood Tavern: About as relaxed as they come and filled with local faces, this is one of St. Pete's best places for grabbing some amazing food, a cold drink, a game of darts and kicking back till 2am. There's Gourmet Lounge: Off-setting the tavern atmosphere with a decidedly non-tavern-fare menu, the food at Northeast is as good as it gets. Appetizers like crab stuffed portabellas and ahi tuna sashimi give way to gourmet pizzas and mind-blowing sandwiches, such as the Prosciutto and artichoke panini, the tavern steak panini and the chicken cordon bleu sandwich. For the perfect accompaniment to the delicious fare, Old Northeast also has an impressive wine list, offering an enticing selection of California vintages as well as a few choice imports from Italy, France and Australia.
Marchand's Bar at the Vinoy
501 5th Ave., NE, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.894.1060
Lounge/ Jazz Club: Located in the stunning Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club, Marchan's Bar is a sweeping tribute to elegance, style and grace. Classic architecture and beautiful interior design enhance the distinct silk stocking atmosphere, but no one needs to bust out their Prada and Gucci to show up here. Whether you're stopping through wearing jeans or you're fresh off the golf course and looking a disheveled, wind-blown mess, you will still receive the VIP treatment from the professional and attentive staff. The best part about Marchand's Bar is the live jazz every weekend. Sultry notes are belted out by some of the best jazz performers around, but the volume is perfectly set so you can have a conversation with the person next to you. This St. Petersburg lounge also offers a full, first-class menu and a dynamite selection of cocktails.
Captain Al's Grill & Bar
800 2nd Ave. NE, #25, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.367.5010
Beach Bar/ Local Bar: Captain Al's is one of St. Pete's most beloved beachfront bars, for every reason that one would love a beachfront bar. Everything about this place makes you want to spend the rest of your life sitting on a beach wearing flip-flops and drinking rum from a coconut. The massive outdoor tiki bar sits just off the waters edge and serves everything from standard draft beers such as Bud, Amberbock and Miller to tropical staples like mai tais and mind-altering pina colodas. The Captain's Grill menu offers a satisfying mix of traditional American pub fare and selections from the sea. Mozzarella sticks, Buffalo wings and burgers are some of the basics for anyone seeking the same old thing, and mahi mahi, conch fritters and gulf grouper are there for anyone who actually wants to behave like they're at a beachfront bar in Florida.
4900 66th St. North, St. Petersburg, FL; 727.831.7477
Dance Club/ Gay Bar: Without a doubt one of St. Pete's hottest lesbian nightclubs, ChiQ is a dream destination for anyone in the alternative lifestyle. At a stunning, elegantly decorated 7,000 square feet, ChiQ offers a little bit of something for everyone. The main room boasts a huge dance floor with staggeringly sexy go go dancers performing three nights out of the week, and the second full room is decked out with cushy couches and a full stage for live music performances. Outside, a fire pit sizzles all night long and offers a great place for chatting with friends over dynamite cocktails. Once you've been to this idyllic St. Petersburg lesbian club, you'll have a hard time leaving. ChiQ is home to some of the best live women's acts around, as well as burlesque shows, stand-up comedy performances, spoken poetry nights and fundraisers.
Fortunato's After Dark
263 Central Ave. North, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.895.1623
Local Bar: Located next to Fortunato's Restaurant, After Dark is a cool, almost seductive little lair that is home to some of the best varieties of beer in St. Pete. Since it's inception, After Dark has been drawing a wide clientele, everything from beer aficionados to college students to corporate folks. Random installations of live music acts spice up the atmosphere a bit, but the best part about After Dark is the after-10pm buffet. By virtue of sitting next to one of the best pizza joints in St. Petersburg, Fortunato's Restaurant, After Dark is able to pamper the late night crowd with a free buffet of Fortunato's pizza, lasagna and a variety of Italian-American treats. The selection of beer leaves little to be asked for; ancillary brews from Canada, England, Scotland, Poland and Italy are mixed in with US Craft brews and a hefty selection of bottles from Germany and Belgium. Non-beer folk will find that they aren't forgotten, though, since Fortunato's After Dark also has a fairly impressive wine list.
Mastry's Bar & Grill
233 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, FL; 727.822.3070
Local Bar/ Dive Bar: Mastry's is a laid back blue-collar slice of heaven. Despite being located smack in the middle of the glitz and glam of boutique-y Central Avenue, this little hideout is simple, welcoming and spiced up with just a hint of grit. Everything that was loved about Cheers or other bars of that genre is flawlessly recreated in Mastry's. Easy-going, beer-swilling patrons know your name, the bartender knows your drink and simple conversation is a mainstay. If all bars could be like Mastry's, no one would be without a place to go every night of the week. Ice-cold beer is dirt-cheap and it's no secret that the drinks here are stiff. But don't worry, even if you're on the wagon, this St. Petersburg dive bar is the place to grab a coke and meet new friends.
Tavern at Bayboro
121 7th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL; Tel. 727.821.1418
Local Bar/ College Bar: Located in the land of savants and college kids, Tavern at Bayboro is tucked into the St. Petersburg USF campus next to the college bookstore. Generally packed with students "studying" over beers, the Tavern feels like something you would find in crunchy hippie corner of California. Green-toking, granola munching bartenders serve every beer with the reminder that they are "saving the world one beer at a time," and there seems to be a constant supply of semi-political chats and bohemian rhapsodies floating about in a pea-soupy sort of conversation fog. The whimsically changing menu serves up some amazing sandwiches and awesome drinks, and pre-sunset guitar performances are the perfect dinner accompaniment before the crowd shifts into the collegiate beer-slamming kind. This is no place for solitude, but it is a surprisingly fun place to find the wacky world of university life colliding the with St. Petersburg bar scene.
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