15 Best Bars in Tampa (Drinks, Food & Dancing)

Nicola Curtis writer bio photo

At the end of a long day of sightseeing, one of my favorite things to do in Tampa is to head to a great bar and enjoy a few drinks. It’s the ideal way to wind down and a fantastic way to meet new people. There is a reason why it’s one of the best places to visit in the USA.

The good news is that there are countless Tampa bars for you to do just that; in fact, Tampa’s nightlife is as addictive as it gets. Tampa has got you covered whether you’re into cocktail bars, speakeasy vibes, sophisticated whiskey joints, nightclubs, sports bars, or live music spots.

The first time I visited, I was surprised at the sheer number of bars and clubs in and around the city. Of course, I took it upon myself to visit as many as possible.

The best bars in Tampa are mostly found Downtown, however, there are some real hidden gems in Ybor City and Seminole Heights too. So, if you’re thirsty and looking for some evening vibes, let me tell you about the best spots to visit.

Best Bars in Tampa

Downtown Tampa with river, bridge and  buildings in night setting.
Downtown Tampa

I’ve visited Tampa so many times, with friends and as a solo traveler, and I’ve ended most days in a bar of some kind. The great thing about this city is the huge variety of places to go for a drink; it’s not just about cocktail bars or pubs.

Of course, as is the case in any other large city, you need to know the best spots to go versus the ones that aren’t worth your time. For that reason, let me dispel my knowledge of Tampa bars, and who knows, maybe I’ll see you there next time.

1. CW’s Gin Joint
(Best Bar in Tampa Overall)

Three women at the bar with wine and champagne glasses.
CW’s Gin Joint

Out of all the bars in Downtown Tampa, one stands out for me: CW’s Gin Joint. Firstly, I am a huge gin fan, but it’s not only that that’s got me hooked. The cocktail menu is huge, there are countless whiskeys on offer, and the food is also delicious.

Visit Tampa on a weekend, and you’ll enjoy live music while working your way down the menu. If you’re a gin fan like me, check out the ‘Gin Matrix’ which allows you to try four different kinds for $29. Of course, line your stomach with some snacks: the truffle purple potatoes are a big favorite of mine.

Microphone in a Night bar.
Night bar music

The whole vibe in this bar is sophisticated and calm, yet it never feels over the top or too upmarket. It’s a real favorite amongst locals and visitors, so if you’re a large group, I’d advise making a reservation ahead of time.

CW’s Gin Joint Information

Address: 233 North Franklin Street, Tampa, Florida 33602.
Phone: +1 (813) 816-1446
Operating Hours: Mon: Closed, Tues, Weds & Sun: 5 pm-11 pm, Thurs: 5 pm-12 am, Fri & Sat: 5 pm-2 am
Must-Try Items: Gin Matrix, West Ends cocktail, Espresso Tini
Average Cost: $16 per cocktail, $8 per beer, $17 for a glass of wine
Website: cwginjoint.com

2. American Social
(Best for Atmosphere)

Cocktail in a glass with lemon on the bar counter.
Blue and Orange Cocktail

American Social is one of the most popular bars in Tampa, specializing in chilled-out vibes, sports, food, and a wonderful view over the Hillsborough River.

I really enjoyed the group vibe in this bar, as it seemed like people came together from all over the city just to catch up and have fun. Definitely check out their Happy Hour, which runs between 4 pm-7 pm Monday to Thursday; it’s a great opportunity to enjoy cocktails on the cheap.

If you’re a little hungry, this is also a great restaurant in Tampa. The food at American Social is fantastic, with sharing platters available to go alongside your craft beer, whiskey, gin, or whatever else takes your fancy. There are four bars within this huge establishment, and I never had to wait for long for my order.

American Social Information

Address: 601 S. Harbour Island. Blvd, Tampa, Florida 33602.
Phone: +1 (813) 605-3333
Operating Hours: Mon-Weds: 11.3 am-12 am, Thurs: 11.30 am-1 am, Fri & Sat: 11 am-2 am, Sun: 11 am-12 am
Must-Try Items: Naughty Strawberry cocktail, Murphy Goode pinot-noir, soft baked pretzels
Average Cost: $14 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $12 for a glass of wine
Website: americansocialbar.com

3. Cigar City Brewing: Taproom Downtown
(Best for Craft Beer Lovers)

Friends drinking  one bottle of beer and two glasses of beer.
Taproom Downtown

Located within the Amalie Arena, you’ll find the best place for craft beer in Tampa. If you’re keen to try different beers, but you’re not really sure where to start, this bar will help you out. I came away from Cigar City Brewing as a huge craft beer fan – who knew?!

This is one of the bars in Tampa that’s really laid-back and enjoyable. The atmosphere is very relaxed, and the menu is extensive. Additionally, the location is fantastic, right on the edge of the Hillsborough River.

You can also purchase snacks and full meals, and I fell in love with the empanadas; they’re the best I’ve tasted outside of Spain and South America.

Cigar City Brewing: Taproom Downtown Information

Address: 375 Channelside, Tampa, Florida 333602.
Phone: +1 (813) 301-6712
Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun: 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat: 11 am-1 am
Must-Try Items: Cosmic Crown draft beer, Nightmare Confetti draft beer, empanadas
Average Cost: $8 per draft beer, $9 per bottle/canned beer, $5-13 for snacks and meals
Website: cigarcitybrewing.com

4. Rox Rooftop
(Best for Cocktails with a View)

The dining table is set up on a rooftop terrace.
Rox Rooftop

Located on the top floor of the stylish Current Hotel, Rox Rooftop is hands down one of the best rooftop bars in Tampa, as well as the largest. The view from here took my breath away.

Choose to sit inside or outside, depending on the weather, and enjoy the huge menu. The cocktails here are delicious, and they’re served with such attention to detail. There’s also a large food menu, with full meals and snacks, including sharing platters to pick from.

Despite being within a sophisticated hotel, this is one of those Tampa bars that instantly makes you feel at home. Everyone is so busy talking and taking in the view that you can’t help but relax and do the same.

Rox Rooftop Information

Address: 2545 N Rocky Point Drive, Tampa, Florida 33607.
Phone: +1 (813) 281-2545
Operating Hours: Sun-Thurs: 5 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sat: 5 pm-12 am
Must-Try Items: The Lotus cocktail, bar sharing platter, craft beer tasting set
Average Cost: $15 per cocktail, $8 per beer, $14 for a glass of wine
Website: thecurrenthotel.com

5. The Punch Room
(Best for Sophisticated Drinks)

Room decorated with warm colors, furnished with leather seating.
The Punch Room

In the heart of Downtown Tampa, you’ll find The EDITION Hotel, one of the best places to stay in the city. Inside, you’ll find The Punch Room, a seriously upmarket bar you’re sure to fall in love with.

If you’re looking for classy bars in Tampa, this is it. The decor is divine, with a green and brown style and wooden panels on the wall – it’s like being transported back to the 1920s. On top of that, the drinks are like nowhere else; carefully crafted and focused on Caribbean flavors.

My absolute favorite drink here is Ziggy’s Punch, with Swan Song coming in at a very close second. However, you will need to reserve a table at least a day before; it’s extremely popular. It’s not the cheapest place to drink, but it’s definitely special.

The Punch Room Information

Address: 500 Channelside Drive, Tampa, Florida 33602.
Phone: +1 (813) 771-8022
Operating Hours: Wed-Thurs: 5 pm – 12 am, Fri & Sat: 5 pm – 1 am
Must-Try Items: Ziggy’s Punch, Swan Song, Madame Francis
Average Cost: $25 per cocktail, $8 per beer, from $16 for a glass of wine
Website: editionhotels.com

6. The Rollin’ Mullet
(Best for Outdoor Drinking)

Friends clinking cocktails saying cheers
The Rollin’ Mullet

In the summer, there’s nothing better than heading out to soak up the sun and enjoy a few drinks. A local friend took me to The Rollin’ Mullet on a day just like this, and it was a fantastic Sunday afternoon. It’s one of the bars in Tampa where you can just kick off your shoes and unwind.

There’s a large food and snack menu on offer if you get a little hungry; I had the chips and Pico de Gallo, and it definitely hit the spot. You’ll find a range of rotating tap beers on offer, and I particularly enjoyed the Woven Water beer.

The Rollin’ Mullet holds several events throughout the year, and every Tuesday they have a trivia night. I didn’t win, but I did have a great time.

The Rollin’ Mullet Information

Address: 6401 N Nebraska Ave, Tampa, Florida 33604.
Phone: +1 (813) 245-5465
Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5 pm-10 pm, Fri: 5 pm-12 am, Sat: 11 am-12 am, Sun: 12 am-10 pm
Must-Try Items: Woven Water craft beer, Blue Moon, Chips & Pico de Gallo
Average Cost: $9 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $10 for a glass of wine
Website: therollinmulllet.com

7. Hattricks
(Best for Sports)

Four friends are enjoying four glasses of beer and toasting at the sport bar.

Hattricks is a cross between an Irish bar and a sports bar, and it makes for a fantastic and exciting night out. This is also one of the few Tampa bars that stays open until 3 am, so if you want a crazy one, head here. Happy Hour is also a must and can be taken advantage of between 4 pm-8 am, and 10 pm-close every day.

Of course, there are many sports bars in Tampa, but this option manages to be so much more than that. Even those who don’t want to watch sports will love a few hours here. You can also buy large buckets of bottled beer here which is great if there’s a group of you.

The prices here are very reasonable, and the whole atmosphere is welcoming and warm. I can’t wait to go back.

Hattricks Information

Address: 107 S Franklin St, Tampa, Florida 33602.
Phone: +1 (813) 225-4288
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 11 am-3 am
Must-Try Items: Guinness draft beer, Nutrl Watermelon beer, Cucumber Martini
Average Cost: $20 per bucket of beer, $8 per regular beer, $9 for a glass of wine
Website: hattrickstavern.com

8. Bradley’s on 7th
(Best Gay Bar)

Happy people dancing in a nightclub.
Bradley’s on 7th

You’ll find a few gay bars in Tampa, particularly in Ybor City, but Bradley’s on 7th is one of the most popular. There are events going on all year round, and throughout the week there are DJs, drag shows, and dance competitions.

The bar itself is modern and stylish, and it’s one of the clubs in Tampa that’s open until 3 am. The drinks menu is large, and Bradley’s tends to see many repeat visitors, which tells you a lot about its quality.

Be sure to check out Happy Hour, with two-for-one cocktails from 4 pm-9 pm Monday to Friday, and between 2 pm-9 pm on weekends.

Bradley’s on 7th Information

Address: 1510 E 7th Ave, Tampa, Florida 33605.
Phone: +1 (813) 241-2723
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri: 4 pm-3 am, Sat & Sun: 2 pm-3 am
Must-Try Items: Skyy vodka, Dirty Martini, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
Average Cost: $12 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $9 for spirits
Website: bradleyson7th.com

9. M. Bird
(Best for Dancing)

Two glasses of cocktails, one with lemon and cherry, and the other with orange and cherry, in an outdoor ambiance. In addition, it has served two metal bowls.
M. Bird

By this point, you’ll know there’s a lot of great nightlife in Tampa, but there’s nothing quite like M. Bird. Located in Armature Works, this bar not only has outdoor seating with stunning views, but it’s a great spot to dance the night away too.

From Thursday to Sunday, the bar transforms into a trendy cocktail club, with DJs playing the latest music. However, it never feels over the top, and even though I’m not the world’s biggest fan of clubs, I really enjoyed the night I spent here.

The menu is very large, and you can grab light bites if you’re peckish. I highly recommend the hot fried chicken sliders, but be sure to wash it down with one of their carefully crafted cocktails: Strawberry Moon is superb.

M. Bird Information

Address: 1903 Market St, Tampa, Florida 33602.
Phone: +1 (813) 296-2702
Operating Hours: Mon-Weds: 4 pm-12 am, Thurs: 4 pm-2 am, Fri: 3 pm-2 am, Sat: 12 pm-2 am, Sun: 12 am-11 pm
Must-Try Items: Strawberry Moon, Megan rum, Cloud Nine
Average Cost: $16 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $13-15 for rum
Website: mbirdtampa.com

10. Gen X Tavern
(Best for Nostalgia)

two glasses of cocktail with cherry on top and the other glass has orange on the top.
Gen X Tavern

Out of all the fun bars in Tampa, this one is my favorite. For the ’80s and ’90s kids amongst you, this will feel like traveling back in time to your early teens. The entire decor is based around this period, with singers, Gameboy memorabilia, lava lamps, and TV shows everywhere you look.

The entire vibe is vibrant and fun, and it has the feel of a dance bar, playing music that will make you reminisce. I had a fantastic night here, and I will definitely go back the next time I’m in Tampa.

Check out the Adult Capri Sun cocktail; it’s delicious and really does taste like the iconic drink. You can order food here, either a full meal or light bar snacks, and the drinks menu seems to be endless. I can’t recommend this bar enough.

Gen X Tavern Information

Address: 103 E Jackson St. Tampa, Florida 33602.
Phone: +1 (813) 694-7001
Operating Hours: Sun & Mon: 11 am-10 pm, Tues-Thurs: 11 am-12 am, Fri & Sat: 11 am-1 am
Must-Try Items: Adult Capri Sun, Strawberry Mojito, Chicken Sliders
Average Cost: $14 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $12 for a glass of wine
Website: genxtavern.com

11. 82° West Distilling
(Best for Rum Lovers)

One bottle of beer on the table with two ornate cocktail glasses.
82° West Distilling

Located in Seminole Heights, I think this is one of the best rum bars in Tampa. Of course, most bars sell rum, but this place has a large menu of different kinds, so you’re sure to find your tipple of choice, and likely a new favorite too.

The bar is pretty upmarket, but it still has that laid-back vibe that goes so well with Caribbean rum. I visited here for a friend’s birthday, and the staff went out of their way to make sure she enjoyed her night. There are also several events throughout the year, including live music.

Many Tampa bars have that sophisticated vibe, but this one manages to make you feel welcome and not out of place. The only downside is that they don’t serve snacks – eat before you go!

82° West Distilling Information

Address: 6430 N Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida 33604.
Phone: +1 (813) 820-0944
Operating Hours: Mon-Tues: Closed, Weds-Fri: 5 pm-10 pm, Sat: 11 am-10 pm, Sun: 11 am-7 pm
Must-Try Items: Coconut Breeze, Gulf Coast Gold Rum, Bombshell
Average Cost: $20-$28 per cocktail, $20-30 per rum
Website: 82westrum.com

12. Bar Louie
(Best for Great Value Drinks)

A male bartender is standing on the bar corner with a lot of wine glasses in the background.
Bar Louie

Bar Louse is a trendy bar in Tampa that manages to blend food and drinks really well. In essence, this is a gastro-bar, but there’s a real emphasis on great tipples and aesthetically pleasing cocktails.

If you’re looking for a nice wine bar in Tampa, this spot fits the bill. The wine list is huge, and you’re sure to find your favorite grape. Alternatively, I loved the huge cocktail selection; I tried several, and my favorite was the Pineapple Express Sangria.

You can order bar snacks, but a word of warning: the portions are huge. However, they’re ideal to turn into a sharing platter if there are several of you in a group. Overall, I enjoyed the vibrant feel of this bar and will definitely return.

Bar Louie Information

Address: 2223 N Westshore Blvd, 202 Suite, Tampa, Florida 33607.
Phone: +1 (813) 519-1900
Operating Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 am-2 am, Sat & Sun: 10 am-2 am
Must-Try Items: Pineapple Express Sangria, Grand Lemon Drop, Rock & Rita
Average Cost: $16 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $13 for a glass of wine
Website: barlouie.com

13. First Chance Last Chance Bar
(Best for Feeling Like a Local)

A group of women and men are holding a glass of beer and enjoying themselves.
First Chance Last Chance Bar

If you’re looking for places to drink in Tampa that make you feel like you’re getting an authentic experience, First Chance Last Chance ticks all the boxes. There are plenty of drinks offers on, including Happy Hour, but the vibe inside makes you feel at home.

If you’re a shot lover, you’ll enjoy the 2 shots for $5 deal on Fridays and Saturdays and will be ‘happy’ to know that the Happy Hour extends to the entire night. Basically, you’ll get great value for money here.

The cocktail menu changes regularly, taking into account seasonal produce. That’s something I really liked as it meant the drinks always tasted fresh. They also have an extremely large craft beer menu.

First Chance Last Chance Bar Information

Address: 1707 N 16th St, Tampa, Florida 33605.
Phone: +1 (813) 816-1707
Operating Hours: Mon-Thurs: 6 pm-2 am, Fri & Sun: 4 pm-2 am
Must-Try Items: Apple Martini, draft beer selection, Cosmopolitan
Average Cost: $16 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $13 for a glass of wine
Website: firstchancelastchance.com

14. Southern Belle
(Best for Live Music)

The live music is being enjoyed by a group of women and men.
Southern Belle music bar

Southern Bell is one of the best live music bars in Tampa, and I’ve returned several times. Based on Country and Western music, the entire decor reflects the theme, and you might feel like you’re in Texas rather than Florida.

There are regular live music performances throughout the week, and there’s plenty of space on the dance floor to throw some shapes. Located in Ybor City, it’s also very central, so you don’t have to venture too far back to your hotel at the end of the night.

If you’re looking for a speakeasy in Tampa, this place somehow manages to tick that box too. It had such an enjoyable atmosphere, and you could easily head there for dinner and extend your evening into the early hours.

Southern Belle Information

Address: 1625 E 7th Ave, Tampa, Florida 33605.
Operating Hours: Tues: 4 pm-12 am, Weds-Thurs: 12 pm-12 am, Fri: 4 pm-2 am, Sat: 2 pm-2 am, Sun: 12 pm-11 pm
Must-Try Items: Southern Belle cocktail, bourbon selection, Macburger
Average Cost: $16 per cocktail, $8 per beer, $5-$10 for snacks
Website: southernbelletampa.com

15. Mandarin Heights
(Best for Whiskey Lovers)

 A Glass of Whiskey on a wooden table
Glass of Whiskey

Mandarin Heights is famous for its view, but I think it’s one of the best whiskey bars in Tampa. The selection is huge, and prices are quite reasonable.

Located in Seminole Heights, this bar has a trendy feel to it, and it’s also famous for its delicious and carefully crafted cocktails. This is one of my go-to places in Seminole Heights for evening drinks with friends, and I love the laid-back feel. It’s also one of the best bars in Tampa with a view.

It’s advisable to reserve a table at the weekends as it can get quite busy. There are also regular jazz nights, so be sure to check their website before you go so you can enjoy an evening of sound.

Mandarin Heights Information

Address: 5901 North Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida 33604.
Operating Hours: Weds-Sat: 5 pm-late, Sun: 12 pm-late
Must-Try Items: Whiskey selection, Mandarin Breeze, Pinot Noir wine
Average Cost: $16 per cocktail, $7 per beer, $14 for a glass of wine
Website: mandarinheights.com

Best Drink Tours in Tampa

Glasses of whiskey on a wooden table
Drink Tours

Tampa has a few drink tours you can take, helping you see more of the best cocktail bars in Tampa, along with craft beer, and wine. Here are a few of my favorite tours:

Tampa Bar Hunt: Tampa Takeover Bar Crawl

Bar crawl with a bunch of party goers
Bar crawl

If you want to try as many craft beer bars in Tampa or you’re into cocktails but don’t know where to go, this scavenger hunt tour is a great place to start. It’s really fun, and you’ll meet plenty of new friends along the way. Click here for details.

Wine Tasting Experience at Aspirations Winery

Pouring a wine in a wine glass with a number of other wine glasses in the background.
Wine Tasting

Strictly speaking, this tour is based in Clearwater, but it’s only 25 minutes away from Downtown Tampa. Aspirations Winery is one of the biggest in the area; you’ll get to learn about how wine is made and sample plenty too. Click here for details.

Ybor City Brewery Tour by Private Golf Cart

Private Golf Cart on the grass with trees at the background.
Private Golf Cart

Visit five breweries in the Ybor City area by private golf cart. Learn about how beer is made and enjoy different types as you go. This is one of my favorite tours and is a fun way to spend 2.5 hours in the city. Click here for details.

Tampa Bars: FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the best bars in Tampa:

What are the best bars in Tampa?

Tampa has countless bars to suit every taste, but CW’s Gin Joint and American Social are two of the most popular.

Do you tip in Tampa?

When visiting Tampa bars, you can tip the staff if you enjoy the service. The average amount is 20% of the bill.

What neighborhood has the best bars in Tampa?

Seminole Heights and Ybor City have great bars, but the greatest concentration is Downtown.

Does Tampa have good craft beer?

Yes! The craft beer scene has really taken hold in Tampa, and you’ll find many bars specializing only in this.

How much is an average beer in Tampa?

Depending on the bar, you can expect to pay around $7-$8 for a beer.

Does Tampa have good nightlife?

Most definitely. The sheer number of Tampa bars, clubs, and restaurants should tell you that this city has fantastic nightlife, with something for everyone.

Which part of Tampa is best for nightlife?

All of Tampa’s neighborhoods have vibrant spots, but Downtown Tampa is the best place for nightlife.

What is the most exclusive bar in Tampa?

The Punch Room in The EDITION Hotel is considered one of the most exclusive and sophisticated bars in Tampa.

When do Tampa bars close?

Most bars close around midnight during the week, and 2 am at the weekends. However, there are some bars and clubs that stay open until 3 am.

In Conclusion

After reading about these amazing Tampa bars, are you feeling thirsty? I certainly am, and I can’t wait to head back to the city and revisit my favorite spots. CW’s Gin Joint will always be my favorite, simply because it’s so different and chic, but Gen X Tavern is a close second, along with Hattricks.

Tampa’s nightlife is eclectic, vibrant, and featured in all parts of the city. However, for me, Downtown is where it’s at once the sun goes down. By hitting some of these bars, your evenings will be just as action-packed as your sightseeing days.

If you do need to sober up, check out my guide to the best coffee in town.

Nicola Curtis writer bio photo

Written by

Nicola Curtis

Born and raised in the north of England, Nicky is a writer of more than ten years’ duration and through that time, she has hopped around the world trying new cuisines, meeting amazing people, and experiencing different cultures. Of course, she loves to put all of that into words for others to read and be inspired by.

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