A buddy of mine made a last minute excursion to Tampa this weekend, he is looking to buy a condo so he can spend a few months of the year in Tampa, where he once lived.(I guess he misses this place)....Friday evening, had a few friends over before heading up to a Wine-A-Palooza get together at a friends place in the Stoney Point neighborhood in South Tampa, about a mile up the road from my house. Great time, lots of people showed up, they have a very entertaining home on a canal that leads out to Tampa Bay...and the Wine was definitely flowing. After a few hours there, a few of us went off to check out a new Club in downtown Tampa's Channelside called Aja. Upscale, beautiful club, very large outdoor patio area with the skyscrapers of downtown in the background all lit up in the night sky provided a real nice back drop. Not overly pretentious, and a very friendly, happy crowd. Many levels inside lead you to lots of seating areas, quiet areas upstairs with an interesting bar that overlooks the dance floors through all glass partition, and there is even somewhat of a "basement" type of lounge on the lower level. Clean, excellent service, friendly people. Be nice to have this place stick around for a while.
Saturday was the Annual Florida Brewers Guild Beer Fest in Ybor City. About 25 microbreweries showed off their unique beers. This annual fest gets bigger and bigger, and afterwards we wandered around Ybor City, stopping by Streetcar Charlies, Reservior Bar, Czar and G Bar, ending the evening at Demi's Market for Pizza and a live band.
Sunday started with a nice Caribbean Brunch at Cafe Dufrain on Harbour Island downtown. Although the brunch was ok, and there was good live Caribbean type music playing, I thought it to be kind of awkward that Cafe Dufrain has a beautiful waterfront view of downtown Tampa, yet the buffet and live music was playing out in the street, instead of along the waterfront. The brunch consisted of Eggs Benedict, Filet of Beef, PB&J French Toast(which was interesting, but I would have rather settled for regular French Toast), Grouper, BBQ Ribs(good but very messy for a Brunch of this caliber), salads, fruits, and cheeses. I may try it again when company is in town, there are better Sunday Brunches in my opinion. Take the food and live music to the waterfront and keep it shaded and out of the sunlit parking area/street, just a thought. After Brunch, went over and met some friends at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, this is the last event on what seems to now be about 2 months worth of events for Tampa's Gasparilla Season. A very nice, mellow ending to the season, 300 some artists display their crafts along downtown Tampa streets, an excellent opportunity to see unique creations from all over the world, and socialize with many friends, new and old, on beautiful days that come to the area for March and April...skies always seem to be bluer than blue, and temps hover close to 80 in the day, little or no Humidity.
Another perfect weekend wrapped up...and looking forward to the Annual St. Patricks Day parade this Saturday night in Ybor City.