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After the Sun Sets in Tampa, there are a variety of choices. For just about everything, go to Ybor City. The grit and history of this Historic Latin District gives anyone the vibe to do some serious partying in the evening, for all nightlife adventurers. Please remember this is not a place for the kiddies after 8pm or so. Please do not let them pet the police horses or allow your teenagers to run around by themselves after dark. For parking you can choose one of the 2 parking garages or one of the many private and metered lots. Costs vary depending on how close to the action they are. $3 to $10 is normal. Easily going to $20+ on event nights like Gasparilla and Guavaween. Meters are 75 cents an hour, many take only quarters, some have 2 hour limits. Just read the meter carefully, parking tickets are $25.
For the family: Check out Centro Ybor on 16th st., they have one of the nicest megaplex movie theaters in Tampa, and even 4 over 21 only theaters that include a full bar. Take the kids to Game Works, and then the Marble Slab for some Ice Cream. If you go on a weekday morning or afternoon or Sunday night, you have the place practically to yourselves and there's free valet weekdays with validation. An air-conditioned ride on the trolley to the Aquarium, Channelside and downtown is always fun for the family as well.
Clubs and bars: Some bars have a no re-entry policy so ask if you want to go outside and return later in the night.
For the Clubber: Check out The Castle, Orpheum, Empire or Fuel. The Castle and Orpheum are geared more towards alternative music and Empire and Fuel are more hip hop, top 40. The type of crowd will vary with the night and music style.
For the College Folk: the above plus Club Hedo, Prana, Amphitheater, The Reservoir, Green Iguana, 1509, Skye Bar, Coyote Ugly, Elmers, the Doppel Decker and Adobe Gilas (frozen drinks and outdoor.) These will vary from swanky to frat keg party. Just take a moment to look at the crowd going in and listen to the music you can hear from the outside before deciding if it's for you.
30’s and up crowd: Green Iguana, Prana, Amphitheater, Improv, Tampa Bay Brewing Company, James Joyce Pub and the Dirty Shame.
For the import beer lovers: James Joyce, Doppel Decker, Dirty Shame, New World Brewery and the Tampa Bay Brewing Co.
For food: For Italian choose between La Terraza ($$), Bernini's ($$$), the Laughing Cat ($$$) or Roma's awesome pizzas ($), all good. For American food try Tampa Bay Brewing Co. with a full restaurant menu and their own brews, Adobe Gilas has pub grub (try the chicken quesadillas), Big Mouth Burgers ($) or the Big City Tavern ($$-$$$) all at Centro Ybor. For tex-mex/tacos try Mima's Alaskan Tacos on 15th ($). For sushi there's a sushi place near 19th street on 7th and there's Samurai Sushi in Centro Ybor ($$-$$$). For greek food try Acropolis ($-$$) - awesome, huge plates! There's a place on 7th ave near 15th st. that makes crepes which is also really good. There's a Starbucks in Centro Ybor too.
There are over 30 clubs, bars and restaurants over a 3 by 10 block area, so something is in Ybor City for everyone. Not all clubs and bars accept credit cards (so ask before running a tab) and ATM machines in the area charge an arm and a leg so take some cash but don't flash it around. Most clubs will have a website which will give you a taste of their style and type of crowd.
Hotels: Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn are the 2 chain hotels in Ybor. For a boutique hotel feel (and higher price) go for the antique filled Don Vicente de Ybor. You can always stay downtown and grab a cab (about $10 each way.)
Other areas outside Ybor:
For a little more local flavor, check out SOHO and Hyde Park districts. Howard Avenue south of Kennedy Blvd is bustling with local nightlife bars and restaurants. Some local favorites are Hyde Park Cafe, Mangroves and Whiskey Park for Dancing. For the drinkers its MacDintons, 717, Ceviches, 42nd Street, and the Dubliner. Downtown you'll find the Hub and Green Fields.
Channelside downtown (reachable by the trolley from Ybor) is another area to be mentioned. There is a movie theater there as well that has an IMAX, shops that cater mostly to tourists and cruise ship passengers, several restaurants and a couple of bars. It is more upscale than Ybor with a yuppier crowd and a corresponding price tag.
Beer lovers: several really good beer pubs in town. Check out the Beer Advocate website for more info.
Some nightlife rags include the free Weekly Planet/Creative Loafing and Tampa Bay Times (TBT) along with the Friday Extra in the Tampa Tribune, which will detail any live bands, concerts, festivals, sporting events, and special parties happening throughout the city.