Last night my buddy came into town from San Diego....soooo..it was time to go out on the town AGAIN!(As if last weekend wasn't enough with Gasparilla). He's staying at the Econo Lodge on Dale Mabry and Henderson-they call this area 'Midtown' on the hotel brochure which I thought was kinda funny. Never been here, and always passed by thinking it was some kind of 'crack den' or 'whore house', but is was actually nice, with updated rooms, and decent guests. It is in a nice area with many the restaurants in walking distance, and a great weekly rate.
We wound up meeting my friends Lisa, Ashley and Leah at Lime on Howard Ave. Ive been here for drinks, but not yet to eat. Free Valet was nice as parking around Howard Ave can be tricky. Kind of trendy place, with the typical 20's/30 something's Hyde Park good looking crowd. For a Friday night, I thought it would be packed, but there was at least half dozen empty tables, and room at the bar, so it made it nice to be able to eat and drink with no wait. The drinks were good, but for 9 or 10 bucks a pop, i'm expecting a 16oz margarita or martini, not an 8oz cocktail. The sangria was bland compared to Ceviche's, there was no fruit and alot of ice. Calamari was amazing, no tentacles/all rings, very lightly fried, perfect. The food was great as well(Quesadillas, FajitaBowls). We listened to Mexican/Latin American music in the background until after 9, when it changed to more of a dance beat.
After dinner, we walked over to Whiskey Park to play pool and wait for another friend of ours. We wanted to go to Dubliner, but to get in the car and drive 6 blocks, then find parking is rediculous in this area, I have to wonder why the Pedicab business or a simple trolley service is not running up and down Howard on weekend evenings like in Ybor. Not a big fan of the Whiskey Park, but tonight there was a good crowd for so early in the eve, and pool tables were available. The DJ was awesome, which all lended itself to a good time waiting for our friend to show up.
We decided to go see my friend Rob, lead singer and amazing musician in a great band called Buffalo Strange. They mostly play on the beach(Jimi B's/Gators), but tonight that were at The Rare Olive in Ybor. Ybor can be funny some nights, driving down 7th Ave it was about 11pm, and just an array of all walks of life, older, younger, country, redneck, thugs, preppy, rockers, punk, etc....definitely makes for good people watching. The Rare Olive was hopping, and Buffalo Strange sounded amazing. I haven't been to this bar in quite some time(maybe 10 years), and I know why, the WORST mixed drinks, unless your having a beer, I wouldn't recommend ever going to this place for a cocktail. The bar staff was very inadequate as well, 6 people behind the bar, yet most people waited at least 15 minutes for one of those lousy, weak cocktails. Its a good thing a great band was playing.
Since it's Ybor, we decided to get out and walk around 7th ave, it was around midnight by now, and there were people everywhere, but it wasnt that busy, the sidewalks were walkable, and traffic was moving on 7th ave. We went for a drink at Green Iguana, one of my fav places down here, dance on one side, live band on the other. Again, plenty of room, not a bad crowd. My buddy wanted to check out the alternative scene, so we headed to Wranglers, a very nice country/western/dance gay club...good crowd, not too busy. After there it was to Flirt, which is known to be a lesbian bar, but tonight it was a very different crowd, mostly listening to rap. Last stop was Gbar, a new gay club at the other end of 7th Ave. And another surprise, it was all lesbians, I think I saw one male patron. It really surprises me how often clubs and bars change their scene, crowds, etc. Leaving Ybor around 2am, we ended the night with a final beer at City Side, which was very convenient to his hotel. A good crowd, he ran into people he knew(small world I guess)....so goes another Friday night in Tampa.