Cheers Sippin Gypsy Team Gin! This post comes to you while enjoying a Jam Session inspired by the amazing Gin cocktails I experienced all over Tampa!
Tampa is an incredible city. Well situated near the beautiful Gulf Coast of Florida, this city hosts a variety of things to do and places for great cocktails and cuisine. Many of Tampa's hot spots are quite spread out across the city. You will need a car or mode of transportation to get to most of my suggestions.
1. Ciro's Speakeasy and Supper Club
This spot was absolutely delightful. Tucked away in the historic Bayshore Royal Building, you feel like you might be walking up to someones condo, but then you approach a magnificent door with the inviting command to 'Please Knock and Speak Easy'. Be certain you call ahead to gain the secret password to enter, they will ask you through the door. Once inside you are whisked back into time, an impressive bar greets you with a generous selection of spirits while secret coves line a narrow hallway to gather with a loved one or friends while enjoying truly well crafted cocktails. This was my first stop in an evening out along Howard Ave. This up and coming neighborhood is one of the few easy to walk areas with a plethora of options for dining and imbibing.
What a delicious dining experience! Chef Hardin has curated a creative menu set within a fun location at Tampa's newest hot spot: Armature Works. Rustic yet elegant and comfortable, Steelbach was a place I could see enjoying brunch with friends or a romantic dinner out. The drinks were well crafted and the food was on point. I couldn't stop ordering from the menu to try the flavor combinations and enjoy the artistic plating. My timing for discovering Steelbach was perfect. I caught the end of brunch and the start of lunch, so I was truly able to savor a variety of plates from both menus...but I wanted more! Steelbach will be one of the spots in Tampa I visit again so that I can savor more!
3. CW's Gin Joint
First let me say that I am so glad that Gin is gaining popularity again. The art behind the different Gin flavor profiles intrigues me, and CW's Gin Joint respects the craft of Gin and delivers true cocktails that celebrate this diverse spirit. The spot is swanky and chic and definitely the place to be seen in Tampa. Everyone was dressed to impress and the place was packed by the time I arrived. I enjoyed pouring over the Gin map and trying throwback cocktails that hailed from prohibition era concoctions.
What a treasure this was to find. Another one of the spots along my evening out on Howard Ave, Haven was just the type of place you want to discover when you're hungry and want delicious real food and great cocktails. The atmosphere was so inviting, the patio looked like a great spot to linger with friends over a bottle of wine or cocktails, but I was drawn to the impressive bar with the showcase of wines. The food was delicious and flavorful and the cocktails were thoughtful and fun.
5. Oxford Exchange
What a fun place to spend a weekend morning. Oxford Exchange in so many wonderful things in one. A delicious restaurant, coffee or tea bar, a shop and a community work space. The location is well situated across from the campus, but this isn't just a student hang out spot. Everyone in Tampa, young and old were patiently waiting for their table for brunch while enjoying great conversation over coffee and browsing in the shops. The restaurant fills up very quickly, I highly recommend reservations well in advance if you know your travel agenda.
6. Bern's Steakhouse
First let me compliment the service and sincerity of the staff at Bern's Steakhouse. I was so impressed with the level of knowledge, dedication and respect among the staff towards eachother and their guests. I felt like a queen during my visit. And I must add: I do not call ahead as a blogger when I visit places. My opinions are unsolicited and I am 'just another customer' when I walk into any establishment. I wan't to write about what you will experience and Bern's service alone was stand out above anywhere I have been recently. Secondly, the food! There is a reason Bern's is recognized as one of the best Steakhouses in the United States. After an incredible meal, we took a tour of the kitchen and wine cellar. This restaurant is incredible and well organized. After the tour I was whisked away to an absolute delight: the desert room. Stop everything. Go get desert now. Dark ambient lighting and insanely delicious deserts with live music. Bern's is another delicious location along Howard Ave. You must set reservations for Bern's. I attempted to make reservations three days in advance, and only an 11 pm seating was available. Well done Bern's Steakhouse. I look forward to visiting again for so many reasons.
7. Armature Works
I discovered my love for these industrial overhauls of abandon warehouses turned into hip swanky markets with a cornucopia of food, cocktail and shoping options when I visited Ponce City Market in Atlanta GA. I am so glad Tampa is developing their own market so close to me! Armature Works has carefully selected small local businesses and chefs to come in and offer amazing cuisine and cocktails in a comfortable community environment. You have everything from pizza to ramen and everything in between. Armature Works would be a great place to go if you have a large group with different dining preferences and budgets, or if rain is in the forecast and you need a spot to linger for a while over delicious offerings and great conversation.