We wanted some cigars for a wedding gift, so we swung by -- where else -- the cigar capital of the free world, Ybor City. We were looking for a small, quiet place where we cigar novices could choose a bundle or box of cigars without the pressure of a bunch of cigar snobs looking over our shoulders.
Our first stop was La Herencia de Cuba, a small local shop that hand rolls cigars on premises. The gentleman at the bar in the bag resembled Quentin Tarentino, but he was friendly and happy to show off the cigars (though his thick Cuban accent made him a bit difficult to understand). We started with a few Dos Equis beers (about $4 each) while we watched playoff baseball.
We bought a bundle of bundle of Robusto Yellow Labels for $75 plus tax. These hand rolled cigars a mild, yet flavorful, with a wrapper from Ecuador, the binder from Indonesia, and the filler from the Dominican Republic and Colombia. Since we bought a bundle, they let us try one for free, so we sat next to the window and enjoyed our cigar while watching Ybor liven up as the sun went down.
La Harencia de Cuba translates to "the Heritage of Cuba." The company was founded by a Cuban immigrant, named Robert Ramirez, who just arrived in the U.S. in 1992 after perfecting his skills in Cuba. In fact, the Cuban government named him the nation's top cigar roller.
Centro Cantina is a run down bar on the second floor of the Centro Ybor shopping center overlooking the main drag of Ybor City. While it is bit seedy, it's a good place to grab a drink and enjoy the fresh air on a nice spring or fall day in Tampa. In the heat of summer it must be absolutely unbearable.
They specialize in frozen flavored drinks mixed with a large variety of tequilas, though these drinks are $8 each or so. Beer is cold, but expensive, maybe $5 for a bottle of ice-cold Yuengling.
New World, located at the eastern edge of Ybor City, is regularly voted one of Tampa's best bars. They offer a huge variety of bottled and draft beers, live music, and a very comfortable, laid back environment. We stopped in one afternoon for just a few quick glasses of beer, but were really surprised at how unique the location is. They feature a large, open interior, as well as a tree-lined outdoor patio. The indoor area has a place for live music, and they have some old video and pinball games.
If your looking for something to do at night in Tampa - head to 7th and 8th Street in Ybor city
There are tons of restaurants, bars and shops. Its also a nice area to walk around.
Restaurants range from the high end (Columbian) to dives but the food is good everywhere. I like to eat and then walk up and down the streets. Be sure to stop for a cigar and make it over to Centro Ybor. Also keep an eye out for historic markers and the various ethnic clubs (i.e. Cuban club, Italian club - these are for events or members only) but worth looking in the door to see the old time charm)
Ybor city is where the immigrants settled and this area is known for its cigars - try Arturo Fuente is probably the best known Ybor cigar and is my favorite. You may also be able to find people hand rolling the cigars too....
+++ I just found a new little restaurant in Ybor that I had to mention+++
La Creperia Cafe at 1729 E 7th Ave -- (813) 248-9700 ---http://www.lacreperiacafe.com/
It was reasonably priced and the perfect place for a late night snack. They have both sweet and savory crepes (breakfast, lunch, dinner and deserts) and the menu is huge (seven pages).
Be sure to ask the waiters what they recommend. We all got one of their recommendations and were thrilled with what we got
Dress Code: Casual unless your going to a nice restaurant - although with that said it is Florida and for the most parts even the nicest places will serve those in shorts.
Ybor City is the main nightlife area of Tampa. Here you can find a some 60 restaurants, bars, and clubs that attract thousands of revelers each night. Live music and DJs pump out just about any kind of music you can image. Popular spots include the Amphitheater, Green Iguanas, the Improv Comedy Center, Prana Ybors Premier Nite Spot, James Joyce Irish Pub, and the New World Brewery.
I love Ybor City. I've kind of just been hanging out there my whole life, and now I live there.
Ybor City has changed a lot over the years. Back in my grandmother's day, it was a pretty booming neighborhood, then it became somewhat of a ghost town, then artists and other cultural types did all the hard work to revive it, then they were bought out by bars and nudie places. Now it's kind of on the mend again - with a good mix of drinking, venues, and culture. The city has put some pretty rediculous mickey-mouse-esque efforts at "reviving" the historial past of Ybor (Tampa's Historical Latin Quater, according to the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce), such as Centro Ybor - trendy shops and a themed movie theatre located off of 8th Avenue. The real past still peaks through, though, and it's definitely worth a stop-by.
My Ybor City page: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/90e84/bae8d/
Dress Code: It really depends on where you are going in Ybor, but most places are come as you are.
It was hard to pick just one theme for Ybor City because it has a little of everything.
Once the home to Tampa's cigar industry it is now the hip spot of the Bay Area. There are clubs and discos for every tastes. The restaurants in the area have a different flair in the evening than they do at lunch time so even if you visit during the day for the history coming back at night is an entirely other experience.
Cameras watch to ensure the safety of party goers in the area.
Dress Code: Depends on the club but in general casual
Food, music, bars, all amidst Tampa's historic latin district...what more could you want? After 10 pm the streets of Ybor become packed with partygoers of all ages, and chaos breaks loose. The main street is closed to vehicles and so inebriated pedestrians fill the streets, happy that they are not being run over by cars.
There's bars for all tastes and music to suit. The Centro Ybor has a Gameworks and Comedy Club if you're looking for an alternative nightlife option.
Some of the more popular bars/clubs tend to be Masquerade, Coyote Ugly, Green Iguana, Carmine's, Bar Tampa....find your own favorite.
Dress Code: casual, dressy, depends on the venue.
Ybor city offers, all the entertainment you would like. You can shop till late, visit a bar or go to the cinema.
Late in the evening the streets are closed for traffic and it's all just for party people. It has a little bit of New Orleans atmosphere.
All the bars has people that try to get you inside with drink offers.. Ok it is still not New Orleans but i guess after a few drinks you won't notice the difference..
Picture taken december 10, 2004
Ybor City is the place to party in the Tampa Bay Area. Those accustomed to Bourbon shouldn't be disappointed here. Some clubs to note are: The Amphitheater (very large, mostly techno, impressive sound/lighting systems, also has extras like a performing dance group, go-go girls, etc.), Club Hedo (jungle-inspired theme, good bar to dance on, mostly hip-hop), Club Prana (5 floors w/ different music on each, including a rooftop bar overlooking 7th avenue, more upscale than the others), Platforms (popular music mixed with some disco, late 20's - 30's crowd, dancing is a bit more tasteful than others, good time for everybody). Ybor City also boasts Coyote Ugly - inspired by the movie, and staying true to its reputation (if you care- Robyn from MTV's RealWorld San Diego works here and Paris Hilton has been seen frequenting it while shooting the new season of the Simple Life in the area). Be aware: the police are more strict here than on Bourbon - nudity will not be tolerated (although near-nudity it rampant) and there is a "no open alcohol container" law here, so leave the drinks inside the clubs.
Dress Code: Anything goes in Ybor - Girls usually are dressed to attract attention, guys are casual - jeans, t-shirts, etc.
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