A buddy flew in from Chicago on Saturday, we headed to Sarasota to see some friends, and then headed back to Tampa area and went to dinner at the Crab Shack in St. Pete on Gandy Blvd. Crab Shack reminds of the typical Florida shacks near the water. I can remember coming to Florida from New York as a kid(Grandparents lived in Seffner), and we would go to Fat Willies Fish Camp.....The Crab Shack has the same appeal, tacky Florida stuff all over the walls and ceiling, picnic tables with benches, and the smell of Seafood all over..as casual as can be! We dined at the bar, Crab Shack is always packed on the weekends. Staff and people are as friendly as can be, with all types in the restaurant(families, 'roughnecks', tourists, people coming home from the beach). The seafood is very fresh, and no frills. Crab is what they are all about, we started with Raw Oysters, average in size, with the horseradish and crackers. Then went for Snow Crab and Stuffed Shrimp. Ended dinner with Key Lime pie. I try to venture to the Crab Shack at least once a month, its just good, southern Florida style seafood shack!
Afterwards it was time to head out, and my buddy wanted to venture out to the 'alternative' places in town. I dont go out to the bars of these type very often, so I heard about some new gay bars that opened up in Ybor City, so I took him out there. We started at Wrangler's, which had a decent crowd, mostly laid back country dudes, very friendly, there is a huge dance floor where line dancing was happening to dance and country tunes..kinda like watchin a show. I kinda liked it at Wrangler's, there are pool tables, and its very large with a killer sound system, and large video screen behind the main bar showing videos to the music, and pics from people throughout the bar. After a few hours, we then headed to the new Lounge 7 at 14. In an old historic building, this had a nice bar, and small dance area, and small loungy type area to mellow out in. Again, a good crowd, interesting people watching, and a DJ cranking some chill lounge music. We then went next door to GBar...all I can say was that about half the place was under 25 and without shirts on, chandeliers in the Main Bar were swinging all over by go-go boys dancing barely naked on the bar. The next bar area was really loud, alot of special lighting effects on the small dance floor, and again both guy and girl dancers on the bars. It kind of reminded me of some of the clubs in NYC, loud, over the top, young. We barely finished out drink there, and almost 230am, so we stopped off at City Side on the way home. Laid back crowd of a few dozen, playing pool, watching music videos from the VJ. There was alot of rumor amongst the owners of Lounge 7-14, Wranglers and City Side that Ybor is the place for the GLBT crowd. With Suncoast Resort closed, many of the establishments are looking for places to open in the Bay area...and now with 6 designated GLBT bars, and a few specialty shops along 7th Avenue, it seems to be a central place for that crowd. Many others are calling Ybor home, buying the affordable new condos, lofts and townhomes that are popping up in Ybor City.
It was a different type of weekend, but sometimes you got to get out and explore all types in the city..it makes for great entertainment.
On a sad note, my brother and sister in law, and my new nephew departed this morning to move to Colorado. It was a fun 10 months wit them here in Tampa, Family Fun Days just wont be the same without them.