Head to rooftop bar, The Edge, for a romantic cocktail. (Photo: Rafael Tongol)
There’s not much that pairs better than beautiful weather and a refreshing cocktail. That’s why when you’re traveling to Tampa, Florida, you better come thirsty. There’s an abundance of watering holes in this waterfront city, ranging from dive bars to swanky clubs and everything in between. And people are noticing: Tampa was recently named the 11th “most fun” city in America by WalletHub, based on factors like number of bars, music venues and dance clubs per capita.
These six bars — including a classy rooftop cocktail bar, a speakeasy and a raucous roadhouse — will help you discover Tampa’s nightlife scene like a local.
1. Franklin Manor
Franklin Manor is the place to be. It boasts a huge patio so you can enjoy Tampa’s mild climate, and on weekend nights, often features a mix of music, with a live band outside and a dance-inducing DJ inside.
On the menu are “elevated bar snacks” like Cuban nachos and Polynesian noodles, and a range of drinks like the signature “Manor Frosé,” which is akin to a rosé slushie.
2. Jackson’s Bistro
What comes to mind when you think of vacationing in Florida? Sipping a fruity cocktail as the sun sets over the ocean, of course.
That’s exactly what you’ll get at this waterfront bistro, which is located on Harbour Island and has great views of Tampa’s skyline. Some cocktail highlights include a Mango Mint Frozen Daiquiri and a Passion Fruit Colada. Drink up while enjoying food that ranges from steaks to fresh seafood to sushi.
Stay past dinner at this popular Tampa bar and into the early night to see it transform into a dance club with three rooms, each playing a different type of music.
3. Ciro’s Speakeasy
Shhh! This 1920s-style bar and supper club is actually hidden in an unassuming apartment complex in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
Its dark and sexy vibe is the perfect place for a long, lingering date. Which works, since it’ll probably take you a while to decide between all the yummy drinks — like the Tampa Stomp, made from Ron Zucappa 23, Bulleit Rye, house-made orgeat and tiki bitters; or the South of the Border, made from pineapple-infused tequila, lime, egg and jalapeño-infused soda.
Now, all you need’s the password… (Psst: You just need to call ahead to get it!)
4. Skipper’s Smokehouse
Ready to get rowdy at one of the best bars in Tampa? Head to Skipper’s, where you can rock out to live music and try fried gator tail.
This laid-back venue, a 15-minute drive from downtown in North Tampa, hasn’t changed its rustic, cluttered Americana decor in years — because it hasn’t needed to.
With live music most nights of the week, and a menu that could only be found in Florida (serving favorites like black bean gator chili, catfish, and even shark), it’s a must-visit for Tampa tourists.
5. Fly Bar
Don’t miss happy hour (from 4 to 6:30 pm weekdays) on Fly Bar’s buzzy rooftop, adorned with vibrant art and featuring live music—not to mention marvelous views of the sunset over downtown Tampa from the bar.
Not only will you find affordable drafts, wells and sangrias — you’ll also get half off a selection of delectable small plates that are perfect for sharing with new friends. Some mouthwatering examples? Panko-crusted goat cheese, spicy tuna tartare and kimchi brussel sprouts.
6. The Edge Social Drinkery
You can never have too many rooftop bars, especially in a forever-summer city like Tampa.
The Edge, located on top of the trendy Epicurean Hotel in Hyde Park and filled with lounge-y furniture and cozy heater lamps, is the perfect spot for a romantic (and creative, as the menu changes daily) cocktail.
This article was published through a partnership with Visit the USA, inspiring travelers to explore America’s boundless possibilities.