Saturday we awoke to what is very familiar around here in the semi-tropical Tampa Bay area during the summer months, Thunderstorms and Torrential rainfall, but typically these happen in the late afternoons, unless there is some kind of 'tropical' disturbance lurking around, which was the case this weekend. A great time to figure out somethings to do indoors in the area. So we headed downtown Tampa, and first stop was the Florida Museum of Photograpic Arts. A small venue with a few exhibits, one from Len Prince, and another from Children of the Bay area. It's a great museum for those into photography, there are several sitting areas where you can read through photography books about the exhibits, relax, and enjoy the art....and they change the exhibits nearly monthly. The staff is very friendly and on hand to explain the pictures, photographers, and any other questions you may have around the art of photography.
We then walked up to Skypoint, the newest condominium tower, to try a new place called TAPS Beer and Wine Merchants on the first floor of the tower. On the way there, we passed by the Tampa Bay Rays store, which was very busy, people buying tickets for the games against Chicago this weekend, and lots of merchandise, shirts, hats, etc, they even had sample seating from Tropicana Field. TAPS Grand Opening isn't until June 28th, but as we walked in, we found it kind of rude that know one acknowledged or greeted us, just a couple of looks from the woman server on the floor, and some guy behind the bar area on the wine section. We sat and waited, and waited, until a very arrogant woman approached us, and mumbled something, then brought over the extensive wine and beer lists...we told her we wanted to eat, she then grabbed a couple of menus. The beer bar area was lively, and the bartender behind the bar was chatting away with the patrons, maybe we should've sat there at the bar. Regardless, there are over 300 beers from around the globe, you can even take purchase to take home as well. Its a nice new space, good tunes playing and sports on the flat screen tv's. Our Ahi Tuna salad sandwich and fancy BLT were very delicious, and came with a side salad with sliced strawberries, also very good. They just need to work on the service and friendliness of some of the staff, and this will be a great place to visit when downtown.
After our lunch and a couple of international beers, we walked over to Tampa Theater for an afternoon Independent film in this historic theater, 'Before The Rains'. Great movie, and always an interesting scene at Tampa Theater, I could spend hours just looking around the old theater and all the artifacts and scenery.
On the way back to the car, we stopped by Indigo Coffeehouse where we relaxed inside with some nice tunes and a friendly barista behind the coffee bar. Before heading home, we drove up to Tampa Heights neighborhood, just north of downtown, to visit a friend of mine, she lives in a restored 1900's bungalow in the Heights, as most of that neighborhood is going through a Renaissance of some sorts, very slowly. She has started learning Yoga, and showed us a few moves before we left her house.
A quick rest at home, and it was off to Channelside for a birthday party some friends of mine were having at the newly opened Seaport Apartments in Channelside. Great amenities, these are the only rental units in Channelside, and it was great to see alot of people that I dont get to talk to often, the party was in the clubhouse along side the pool. There is a streetcar stop just beside the Apartments, on our walk to the stop we just saw the streetcar pull away, and didnt want to wait another 20 minutes for the next, luckily it was Saturday night, and taxi's were cruising up and down Channelside Drive, and within a minute we were able to hail a cab up the street to Ybor City to finish off the night---Streetcar Charlies, Club Czar where after doing a shot from the extensive Vodka Bar we proceeded to smash the frozen shot 'glass' against the brick walls(shots are poured in frozen shells, not really glass), Club 714, James Joyce Pub, Blues Shark, New York New York Pizza, Green Iguana--and a taxi back home to South Tampa.
Sunday morning it was a quick cab ride back to my car I left in Channelside, Taxi Tim picked us up at my house, he writes an interesting blog called Tampa Taxi Shots. We decided on breakfast at Zelda's Cafe and Deli, across from Ventana Condos in the CHannelside neighborhood. Although there werent many patrons in the place, service was very slow, my omelet was overcooked, had to get up for butter, and most of my breakfast was broght out one piece at a time(first the omelet, then a few minutes later the toast, and then a few minutes later the hash browns)....Big Thunderstorms again all day Sunday, with the Sun peaking out from time to time...finally the grass is green, we are getting much needed rains almost daily now!!