The 10 Best Bars In Tampa Heights, Florida

Catrina Pang

A commitment to local artists and businesses characterizes the bar scene in Tampa Heights, Florida. There, you’ll find no shortage of fantastic craft brews to enjoy while listening to live music from local musicians or admiring work from local artists. Below, we explore some of the best bars you’ll want to check out around this constantly progressing neighborhood in Tampa.

1. Hidden Springs Ale Works

Bar, Pub Grub

1. Hidden Springs Ale Works
© Sally Crossthwaite/Flickr
Just minutes from downtown Tampa right next to the Rialto theater, Hidden Springs is a craft brewery offering up tasty drinks rich in flavor to the Tampa Heights neighborhood. Inside, there are large tables meant for sharing, crafted by a fantastic wood working shop close by. The tap room is nicely designed with lots of room for people to enjoy the great beer, and the beer menu is posted over the taps. Patrons enjoy the smooth Berlinerweisse, the Pale Ale, the delicious Ginger Mullet Red Ale, the Tropical Thunder Floridaweisse, the rich DeJaMoo on Nitro, and many more. People often get together at the bar to watch football games with a great beer or to pick up a growler for the week. With the city’s riverwalk finishing up, this is bound to become the place to gather after events in downtown and Tampa Heights. The bar is open only Thursday through Sunday.

2. Lee’s Grocery

Bar, Restaurant, Grocery Store, Pizzeria, American

Lee’s Grocery, Tampa
© Matthew Paulson/Flickr
In a small low key spot on the eastern side of Tampa Heights, Lee’s Grocery, despite its deceiving name, is actually a hip pizzeria and beer joint. The place can seat about 30 people inside and there is a courtyard outside, and the bartenders are also the servers. They have a wonderful selection of beer, with seven tap handles that almost always offer six to seven draft beers to choose from, all microbrews or European brews. The choices are always well-balanced, with options like a stout, a porter, a pilsner, a hefeweizen, an IPA, and maybe even something barrel-aged or a sour. In addition, the entire back wall and about half of another wall are covered in bottled and canned beers, all craft and European. Many of the drinks are hard to find, and all are cold and ready for you to drink with your delicious stone baked pizza.

3. Florida Avenue Brewing Company

Bar, American

Indies Bratwurst and Beer
© Courtesy The Independent 
Formerly known as Cold Storage Craft Brewery, Florida Avenue Brewing Company was founded in 2010 and features their own trademark draught beer, Florida Ave Ale, and the refreshingly delicious Blueberry Ale and IPA. They also added the Betchy Brown in 2011, and continue to grow and add more styles to their portfolio. The space is large and comfy, and on Fridays they have great live music playing. Seating includes a small bar area and a big room with a variety of tables and couches. There are delicious spicy boiled peanuts for patrons to munch on with their beers as well. Though the selection is not large, the staff are passionate about beer and love to experiment with flavors, like running the Betchy Brown through coconut and chocolate chips. It’s a great place to have a conversation and play board games, and is known for being a comfortable, welcoming spot with a great dedication to beer, music, art, and friends.

4. The Independent

Bar, Cafe, Nightclub, Restaurant, Pub Grub, American

Independent Bar and Cafe, Tampa
© Arnie Kim/Flickr
In 2005, the original Independent Bar was opened with the mission of supporting non-commercial products and music and to encourage a sense of community among patrons. One of the pioneers of the craft beer movement in the Tampa Bay area, The Independent has continued to be one step ahead of the rest, offering rare and unique beers and wines from around the world, as well as quality award-winning European café fare. Known to locals as the ‘Indie,’ this bar has 14 taps that are constantly rotated to ensure a fresh and ever-changing draft selection, as well as a hand-picked selection of more than 150 bottles of beers from notable American craft breweries and amazing world class beers. They often host free live music shows featuring local and touring musicians, as well as brewery launch parties and other craft beer and wine events that allow people to mingle with brewery and winery owners from around the world. There are no TVs to distract from conversation, and there is an outdoor Biergarten that patrons enjoy year-round, in addition to a custom cedar wood bar inside.

5. Fly Bar & Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, American

5. Fly Bar & Restaurant
© Matthew Paulson/Flickr
The vibrant art, great local music, and friendly staff at the eclectic Fly Bar & Restaurant have made this funky spot widely popular among locals in the Tampa Bay area. With a rooftop deck that features sunset views over downtown Tampa’s historic district, Fly is a haven for relaxation as well as being a great place to unwind. Their signature cocktails use unique liquors and all fresh ingredients, and they have a selection of great microbrews and imports and an eclectic wine list that is hard to find anywhere else. In addition, Fly offers a fully stocked rooftop deck that is truly unique among bars in Tampa. The bartenders are passionate about mixology, and do not disappoint. There is even an old fashioned library ladder for the bartenders to locate the best spirits for your cocktail. They also have great happy hour specials with half price appetizers and drink specials, with a popular choice being sangria and the panko crusted goat cheese.

6. WaterWorks Bar And Grill

Bar, Market, American, Pub Grub

6. WaterWorks Bar And Grill
© Nicole Kibert/Flickr
Located along the Riverwalk in downtown Tampa, WaterWorks Bar and Grill features Executive Chef Rusty Ever’s Gulf Coast gourmet-inspired menu, fuelled by his passion for using fresh and local ingredients with a Southern Heritage twist. The seasonal menu includes market-fresh fish, juicy burgers, steaks, sandwiches, and many more artisan-crafted dishes. Many love to stop by for a drink or bite to eat before or after heading to a show at the Straz theater across the street. The bartenders are all super friendly and entertaining, and they have cool specials like Blue Thursdays and a VIP Wine Card that you can use to get a complimentary glass of wine after you’ve bought four.

7. New World Brewery

Bar, Pub Grub, BBQ

New World Brewery, Tampa
© Gary J. Wood/Flickr
Known for showing the best in original music from the local independent music scene to recognized and respected national bands, New World Brewery is a comfortable laid back bar with a crazy assortment of beer and delicious BBQ buffets. Unfortunately, they no longer brew their own beers, but they do still have an exquisite selection of drafts and bottles, especially if you like sours. The staff is very attentive and knowledgeable about good beer, and the prices are very reasonable. They have their own private parking lot, plenty of seating, music at all times, and happy hour during the week. You enter the bar through the courtyard, past a fountain, some picnic tables and umbrella tables, walk across the covered area where the stage is, and then through the dining area into a large L-shaped bar filled with Tampa memorabilia, a few TVs, an old school pinball machine and a foosball table, and hundreds of specialty beers.

8. The Hub Bar

Bar, Pub Grub

8. The Hub Bar
© Alejandro Cortés/Flickr
Pio Guerra Jr. first opened The Hub Liquor and Package Store in 1946, and in 1949, it was expanded into a piano cocktail lounge. In its early years, The Hub Bar’s clientele was comprised of an older group, judges, attorneys, bankers, boxing champions, and even mob bosses, dressed up in evening wear, and now, the Hub has become known for having some of the most generously freely poured drinks anywhere. It is located next to the Tampa Theater and serves as a favorite meeting place of downtown workers of all social strata, artists, writers, musicians, local university professors and students, and out-of-towners and tourists looking for a strong drink. They also have pinball, arcade games, and an old school jukebox that make for a fun time.

9. Paddy Wagon Irish Pub

Bar, Pub, Irish

Advertised as a pet-friendly upscale twist on the neighborhood bar experience, Paddy Wagon Irish Pub keeps it simple with a variety of whiskies, cigars, pints, shots, darts, and a pool table. This bar displays Irish decor and has a full liquor selection with a variety of draughts and a slew of whiskies that are sure to please even the pickiest of alcohol drinkers. It also houses a cigar case for those who like to light up while drinking. There is an outside covered patio perfect for enjoying the lovely Florida weather and watching the people go by. They have TV trivia for the guests’ entertainment, and there are well, beer, and martini specials everyday during happy hour. If you’re hungry while there, they even have a list of local restaurants and food options in the area, with those that deliver specially marked.

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