The historic Latin quarter of Ybor City was once the home of Cuban immigrants who set up factories to manufacture cigars. Eventually, the warehouses were converted into the many restaurants, bars and shops that today attract visitors and residents to this vibrant hot spot. Designated as a National Historic Landmark District, Ybor City is widely known for its wild nightlife and rich culture. Check our pick of the best bars it has to offer.
The Castle operates as both a bar and a nightclub and is one of the most emblematic establishments in Ybor City. The crowd that comes here is diverse and eclectic and patrons are encouraged to wear costumes according to the different themed nights, with a new theme each day. The music is just as varied, with a mix of genres ranging from goth and indie to alternative and pop. The Castle’s decor is dungeon-like, dark, and industrial. It has several rooms and is very LGBT-friendly. A one-of-a-kind experience awaits you at The Castle.
The Coyote Ugly Saloon is a thriving hot spot with a festive environment ready to make its patrons dance and drink the night away. The staff show off their moves as they line dance the hours away on top of the bar and invite patrons to join in the fun too. Come and get your cowboy on at this unique bar with a great atmosphere. Address: Coyote Ugly Saloon, 1722 E 7th Ave, Tampa, FL, United States, +1 (813) 241-8459
Gaspar’s Grotto is one of the most popular bars in Ybor City. The bar boasts three separate large areas and an outdoor patio called the Galley. They’ve got live music and fantastic drink specials with a wide selection of menu options offering typical American fare. Order the famous $2 shot and beer and stay for weekly karaoke or trivia night events. On Sundays, Gaspar’s Grotto goes all out for a brunch that includes a full buffet, a Bloody Mary bar, and an unlimited supply of mimosas. Time to party like a pirate!
Ybor City Wine Bar offers unique wines and craft beers and is considered to be one of the best wine tasting experiences in the Tampa area. The selection of over 200 hand-picked boutique wines and the selection of over 60 craft beers is nothing short of impressive. The ambiance is intimate and upscale and there are also various snacks and desserts available for those with a sweet tooth. There are also personal sommeliers available who will guide customers through every step of the wine selection process. Ybor City Wine Bar offers weekly educational wine tastings and sells their products by the glass or bottle.
Crowbar is the ideal spot to kick back and discover new music with a cold drink in hand. The feel of the bar is intimate and private due to its size, yet it manages to recruit an impressive array of up-and-coming musical acts; they are always on the lookout for local and national bands and singers as well as ones that hail from overseas. The music changes every night and patrons can experience any genre from jazz to ska music to metal and even reggae. Crowbar’s excellent bar service is affordable and offers some great American bites. It also boasts a quiet outdoor patio and a pool table.
This tri-level music bar and club welcomes a mature crowd in a romantic and stylish setting. The first level is where patrons will be able to enjoy live music while hanging out on cozy red couches and dim-lit alcoves. There’s a burlesque show upstairs and the third floor is home to a rooftop bar with private cabanas and a great panoramic view over Tampa’s beautiful skyline. The dress code requires patrons to don more formal attire as they listen to some old school jams. Ybor City Jazz House plays jazz, 70’s disco, 80’s pop, and even hip-hop.
Hamburger Mary’s is a unique concept bar and restaurant in the the heart of Ybor City that mixes entertainment with classic American dining and cocktails. The bar is home to an array of different shows, from diva performances with audience interaction to the incredibly funny Drag Queen Bingo nights. Order one of the juicy burgers such as the Queen Mary or the Blackened Blue Boy burger with a lemon drop martini to enjoy these high energy shows to the full. As an added bonus, the bingo night supports local charity organizations.
Liquid Lounge is a modern and trendy bar that has a dance floor and excellent bar service. The local staple is very gay friendly and has fantastic happy hour deals. The mood of the bar is accentuated by the colorful lighting and the dark jungle-esque feel. The music is heavily Latin, which makes for an authentic flavor of what Ybor City is all about. Liquid Lounge leaves its patrons always wanting more – no wonder so many come back night after night.
The Bad Monkey is a military-themed bar that offers quality pub food along with some house cocktails and local beer brews. Located in the heart of Ybor City, the fun decor is accentuated by the flat screen TVs showing the sporting events of the season. They have 12 beers on tap ready to delight customers, as well as a darts game, a giant Jenga game and pool tables. The upstairs area has loft-type seating and the front part of the bar features an open plan that lets in the breeze on Florida’s many balmy nights.
The Ritz Ybor was originally built in 1917 and underwent a major $2 million renovation to become the iconic establishment it is today. The Ritz counts three rooms, a grand foyer and a state-of-the-art sound system. While large in size, the venue retains its intimate feel and is considered to be one of the best live music and dance venues in the Tampa Bay area. Located right next to a parking garage, The Ritz Ybor is convenient to access while strolling around 7th Avenue. This historic building is not be missed, with its strong character and decor accentuated by the checkerboard styled tiles and the giant chandelier hanging from the foyer.