During Prohibition, Tampa Bay had dozens of speakeasies pouring drinks behind closed doors. Today, there are a few local bars keeping the spirit of the era alive with hidden locations, secret entries requiring passwords or – a sultry speakeasy vibe. Since we’ve never been good at secrets, we’re spilling the tea. A grand ode to the past or an inventive new take on a century-old tradition, the following bars in Tampa and St. Petersburg offer exciting craft cocktails in a unique atmosphere for your evening night out.
2109 Bayshore Blvd., Tampa | (813) 251-0022
Hidden in the historic Bayshore Royal Building, Ciro’s master mixologists serve elegant, inventive cocktails using traditional cocktail mixing techniques. An intimate location with private booths and a decadent culinary menu, reservations are recommended, with a private booth being our seating option of choice. Having the password is a must for entry, so call in advance and remember to “speak easy” at the door.
49 24th St. N., St. Petersburg | (727) 258-7626
On an unassuming side street a stone’s throw away from the bustling Grand Central District lies this perhaps sacrilegious but very stylish cocktail bar. Try one of their seven deadly sins cocktails, all crafted with a generous 2-ounce pour. The vibe is sinfully fun with a unique, clever atmosphere. You won’t regret stopping by the rear wall to read the sins of other guests. The “priest” will be waiting and a “confession” is needed for entry, so check the website before you go.
1180 Central Ave., St. Petersburg | (727) 623-0942
If you’re looking for a website, give up now. All you need to know is that there’s a hidden door in the back of Bodega that leads to Bar Chica – an upscale, modern cocktail bar that’s as Cuban as the restaurant that houses it. The hideaway features Cuban-inspired menu items you won’t find at Bodega, lots of cocktails (mostly highlighting rum) and lively music. Check Instagram for its hours. No password is needed, but you may need help finding the door.
1742 Central Ave., St. Petersburg | (727) 493-0040
A newcomer to the speakeasy scene, Dirty Laundry is a cafe by day and a swanky Havana-style speakeasy by night. The exterior may have you assuming you’ve arrived at a laundromat, but make no mistake. Pick up the pay phone and listen for a code to punch in. A secret door (hidden behind a washing machine) will open and you’ll be transported to Havana. Lines can be long and weekends get busy, but if you like dancing, this one’s for you.
CW’s Gin Joint
633 N. Franklin St., Tampa | (813) 816-1446
Passwords aren’t required at CW’s Gin Joint, but even without them, CW’s has established an air of exclusivity and gained status as the place to be in Downtown Tampa. A tuxedoed doorman will sweep you into a grand room filled with cozy sofas and booths lit by ornate chandeliers. Photos from the Jazz age and a baby grand piano adorn the space. The cocktail program is exquisite, as are the culinary offerings. You’ll come for the sexy, stylish atmosphere and stay for the experience.
5901 N. Florida Ave., #6603, Tampa
Mandarin Heights in Seminole Heights styles itself as a purveyor of cocktail culture – a cut above the typical bar. Here you’ll find a mid-century modern lounge where guests come to enjoy carefully curated cocktails such as Mandarin’s legendary espresso martini. The Instagram-famous bathtub sits in front of a grassy turf wall and a photograph of a crowned flamingo, giving the space a bit of Florida-art-deco flair. No password is required here.
231 Central Ave N., St. Petersburg
Mandarin Hide, which resides in Downtown St. Petersburg, has a different style than its sister bar, Mandarin Heights, but is equally as popular. It prides itself on stewarding Central Florida’s craft cocktail culture and excels in doing so. Watch mixologists handcraft your drink in the swanky, dimly-lit space. The bar has a classy bigger-city feel and is popular with locals, so prepare for crowds on weekends. Don’t worry, there’s a bathtub photo op here too.
In Between Days
2340 1st Ave. S., St. Petersburg
Upon arrival, you may think that you have the wrong address, but no worries, you didn’t accidentally show up to someone’s house. With no sign, no logo and a limited, entirely minimalist web presence, In Between Days is a Japanese-style listening bar and it’s an experience unlike any other. Ownership’s attention to detail in every aspect is notable, including the minimalist interior with dim, thoughtful lighting, hand-selected art and music played over high-quality audio equipment. The result is an unexpected, hushed elegance with an underground edge. Feast your palate on craft sake, natural wines and an ever-changing food menu. Feast your ears on the evening’s playlist. The experience is guaranteed to be memorable and unique every time.
Are breweries also your thing? Check out our 10 Must-Visit Breweries in Tampa.