In light of the upcoming Craft Beer Week, we here at Brasky are looking to shine a light on how to correctly enjoy the fruits of fermentation in the Tampa Bay area. So, in volume 1 of our new series ‘Go Here, Drink This’, we decided to showcase some of Tampa’s finest music venues. As Brasky knows firsthand, drinks at major venues are typically overpriced and underwhelming. They’re usually clear, yellow, overfizzed and nine dollars a pop, sometimes citing a ‘souvenir’ cup as incentive to overpay. Every cup is a souvenir cup if you take the damn thing home with you!
Luckily for you, it turns out that some music venues in the Tampa Bay area do strive to promise tasty and affordable brews for the nuanced imbiber. Brasky knows that there are times when a show that piques one’s interest may teeter on the brink of your attendance, requiring some intangible last push to get you out to see live music you may live to regret missing. For most of us here at Brasky, beer is that glorious shove. Each venue below gives an idea of the venue’s vibe, and of course, a GO-TO BREW to enjoy during your next visit.
|Perhaps Tampa Bay’s best place to catch hot up-and-coming touring groups, Crowbar has gone from ‘that bar on the side street next to the scientology place’ to a must-stop for bands like Caribou, Bonobo, and Maserati.
With multiple bars, good ventilation and plenty of vantage points,
Crowbar has proven itself to be a worthy stage for next level national artists and low-key weeknight jams. Even though the beers may come in a plastic cup on nights with big attendance, it doesn’t hurt the fact that the daddy juice you’re throwing down is top-notch.
|In mother Ybor, you drink beer! Czar has recently been booking bigger acts and supplying tastier beverages to enjoy while doing so. The full Brasky.org crew attended a recent set by experimental beat-god Daedelus, and members could be seen drinking top notch Vodka, tall, frosty $2 PBRs, and Dogfish Head 90-minutes. The main ballroom is a baroque mosh pit, and the red velvet rope feel of the staff and setting would make Bill Brasky yearn for his days in Moscow VIPs
with beautiful disinterested zhenshchinas pouring Baltic Porter into his waiting mouth. All Brasky aside, Czar is a class act with a solid bottle list and an excellent list of upcoming shows including Phantogram and Glitch Mob.
|New World Brewery|
|At one point, New World Brewery produced its own beer and sold it to swilling consumers by the mugful, and while that’s no longer the case, this 8th avenue mainstay does its best to keep Ybor’s widest selection of craft brews and rare suds. Recently Bill Brasky caught some regional garage thrash-core chick rock while throwing down some Old Rasputin at an outdoor picnic table. He then drank a 3-liter bottle of Val-dieu while a bunch of tatted up fixed-gear babes tried to act like they weren’t impressed. That not enough? He then sipped a Great Divide Tripel between rounds of Foosball while pumping tunes on Tampa Bay’s highest rated jukebox. Though you and I may never be able to look at Bill Brasky
face to face, New World Brewery’s bossness is in no way exaggerated, and the site may in fact be the seminal Tampa Bay beer mecca. Regional acts are king at this venue, so the covers are never too heavy and the talent is always surprising and off the wall.
|The most irie place on our list, Skipper’s is the only venue to sport live oak trees, TVs with the game, an oyster bar, and the best bathroom wall graffiti in Tampa Bay. Tempered by year after year of oppressive Florida heat and chill reggae jams, Skipper’s is outdoor music paradise, and if you’re fortunate enough to be around in February, it is also the annual location of Brewer’s Ball,
the Florida Brewer’s Guild’s huge post-judging party and beer tasting. From blues acts like Joe Bonamassa and the Black Keys to weekly Grateful Dead tribute shows, Skipper’s is a great place to meet old friends and new buddies under the smiling fizz of delicious beach-worthy brews.
|Tampa Bay’s lovable little shithole deserves a spot on this list if just for the fact that they’re out there putting their neck on the line every night, whether it’s pornaoke, death metal, or a band some college kids made up last week called ‘Kevin’s Mom’s Taint’. Living in the shadows of Busch Gardens roller coasters, the Pegasus Lounge has been the
site of decades of bad decisions, cigarette bumming, and beer partakery. Yes, I know Brasky left off the Orpheum off of this list, but hey, in a ‘whose place is smokier’ contest, no one beats the Pegasus Lounge, folks.