Monday, July 13, 2009

Downtown Tampa Eats/Drinks; Channelside-Ybor Night; The BEACH

Crazy weekend gone by, and Good Crazy weekend!! Weather cleared up and it was sunny and warm, a few regular afternoon storms throughout the area, but not like the deluge of rain we had been getting during the week. Friday my buddy had some friends in town from Greenville, SC who were all staying at the Westin on Harbour Island downtown Tampa. They wanted something to do for Happy Hour, so I suggested the Water Taxi Cocktail Cruise - meeting Captain Cliff at the dock in from of Cafe Dufrain on harbour Island, they took there wine and drinks on board and headed up to Ricks on the River, about a 25 minute boat road around downtown Tampa, up the Hillsborough River. Having some appetizers and drinks, with a live band outside in this very very casual place on the River, I met up with them and drove them back downtown to Fly Bar on Franklin Street. We got a nice table outside, and enjoyed some wines, and beers from around the world...for eats it was the Mushroom Risotto, a large bowl of Cheesey Risotto, and Mushrooms, thick in consistency, very very tasty and filling. The plate of Nachos with Ropa Vieja was enough for 4 or 5, piled high with delicious topping. Ahi Tuna sampler, a cucumber salad, and some thinly sliced Salmon with Citrus rounded up our small plates here at Fly...service was impeccable, it was a great few hours. Afterwards we walked over to Raw Bar, where a friend was having her birthday party...very dark and loungy, this place is in Skypoint on Ashley Drive..some expensive cocktails, groovy lounge tunes, it was a very comfortable and pretty place to be, so to get a taste of the opposite, we went to The Hubb on Franklin, strong drinks...and a juke box with all kinds of tunes, to go along with all kinds of clientele in this Tampa one of a kind bar. It was a short few blocks back to Harbour Island downtown and we ended the night at Jackson's..with two DJ's spinning, a very busy LARGE outdoor area overlooking the water and downtown Skyline.

Saturday after we headed over to the Gulf Beaches...Pass-a-Grille--one of my favorites. An easy ride from Tampa(about 30 min), and plenty of parking right along the beach. The water and company was perfect, we walked down to the Beachside restaurant for some live music and entertainment..floated in the warm Gulf waters for hours...then had some cocktails on the rooftop of the Hurricane, and had some dinner in Stormy's, on the second floor of the Hurricane. The food is just ok, my Grouper Sandwich , which they had been known for, was very tough, dry, and over cooked(grilled)..the "Build your own salads" was just a large pile of Romaine, with very large portion of Flounder on one(also dry and bland), and Chicken on the other, dressing came on the side in a bowl. The Stuffed Flounder Entrees looked good, but again the fish was dry, as if left under a heat lamp, and the Asparagus stalks, although very large, were cold and soggy. There are many other choices to eat at Pass-a-Grille, I felt like I was in a tourist trap for Hurricane for rooftop drinks and elsewhere on the island.

Saturday night, we were all invited to a friends private birthday party at Channelside in downtown Tampa. We waited for everyone and had some pre-party cocktails at Splitsville...the place was hopping, bowling, DJ, happy crowd, I like this upscale place, there is just so much going on...we then ventured to a place I never knew existed, seems there is a nightclub in the Channelside Movie theater fro private events..they actually turned a Theater into a Three level nightclub. FUN! Then we moved across the street to Club Aja...a good crowd, with danceable tunes in this multi level upscale Club...a quick taxi ride about a mile north to Ybor City, and we ended the evening with throwing Frozen Vodka Shots(after we drank the vodka of course) against the brick wall behind us at Club Czar...good DJ's playing here this evening, and the final spot was G. Bar.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July in Tampa

I know ive been away for some time, lifes been good, real good, and just haven't had the time to jot things down lately.

But in regards to 4th of July weekend, we started out having the Holiday on Friday, and a few of us met up in Ybor City at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, for usual good eats inside, cause the large outdoor patio was packed. Fresh Grouper entree's, Pizza's and Chicken sandwhich's filled us up, with homemade brews. After wards, we ventured over to see Mama at Reservior Bar..she was happy as ever, good rock music playing from the juke box, and decent crowd of all walks of life having fun...then it was a trip across the street to check out The Honey Pots 'Steam Friday's'...we walked in and paid the steep $10 cover, only to turn around within our first drink...just not my scene to hang out in a ultra nice dance club with what looked like an under 23 crowd of young over to Spurs Country Western bar, and although not a sole was outside on the huge outdoor patio, they insisted on charging $5 cover, without even letting us see if anyone was even gladly we just walked away. And it was on to the Green Iguana Ybor, the great band Chromatic was playing their typical tunes, and we noticed the place has shrunk...IN HALF! They put a wall up where there was the entrance to the second room, and now there is half the space. Asked around, and no one seems to know whats going on with the second half. Ending the night was a cab ride to my neighborhood joint...Green Iguana Westshore.

Saturday for the 4th, it was dinner for about a dozen of us on Harbour Island, in downtown Tampa at Cafe Dufrain, We got there by 7 and scored almost the entire outdoor pation for all of us, food, wine, and service was top notch as usual, and after dinner they allowed us to step ioff the patio with our drinks,and watched he short, but excellent 20 minute fireworks show at Channelside, perfect viewing spot form harbour Island, no big crowds, water and downtown Views. We left downtown for Ybor City again, this time heading to Ybor Social which by 11pm was not too busy, but the downstairs Ybor Eagle was packed...walked down to Spurs, where this night had no cover, chatted with the owner for a bit about the nite before...and then gobbled down some pizza at New York New York was an awesome 4th fo July in Tampa(im usually out of town), with some pretty great friends.

Sunday was a day on a friends boat in Tampa Bay, docked on a few islands in the Bay, nice relaxing, beautiful day ended with great burgers at Square One on Henderson Ave in South Tampa.