Festa Italiana is held every year in Ybor City to help raise funds for the Italian Club (L'Unione Italiana) and celebrate Italian culture (which, according to my Nana, is the only culture worth celebrating). There's lots of different components to Festa Italiana: there's a free geneology centre in the Italian Club, a film festival, food, kid's...more
Normally, a trip to Ybor City would be a great overnight trip from our home base in South Florida. It has nice architecture with wrought iron balconies ala New Orleans and some historical significance as a home to refugee Cubans. If you like cigars it is rich in this regard too with many old factories that produced them back in the city's heyday....more
7th and 8th aves. in ybor city is the tourist and night life center of town. 7th ave. is lined with restaurants, cigar stores, bars and night clubs. for the older crowd 7th ave. is a very nice place to visit during the day and the early evening. around 11:00PM the night clubs open and the area can get a little rowdy. ybor city is a very interesting...more
cuesta-rey of the ybor city manufacturers fine quality cigars. cuesta-rey was founded in ybor city in 1893 by angel cuesta and peregrino rey. in 1959 cuesta-rey was bought by the j.c. newman company. the company produces and markets cuesta-rey and arturo fuente cigars. you can take a virtual tour of the factory on their website. cuesta-rey is one...more
Located in Ybor City, this is the last piece of "free Cuba" left. Actually, just the name "Parque Amigos de Marti" belongs to the Cuban government - not the land, but there is soil from each of the provences of Cuba in the Park. It's a good place to go and reflect on the state of things in the world, and if you're American, its probably as close to...more
This is local community-owned radio station WMNF 88.5's big concert / fundraiser. It's held every year in the Spring (rain or shine, as the tickets say) at El Circulo Cubano in Ybor City. I am as old as Tropical Heatwave, and I've been to every single one. This year I almost didn't make it, but I squeezed in there at the last possible moment. It's...more
Way before you see the festival or the parade, you will hear it. The Puerto Rican festival is loud and busy, but I like it. It's not as organised as some of the other cultural events in Ybor, but it's still a lot of fun. The best part of the festival, in my opinion, is the music. There's free concerts nearly all day long. Check their website for...more
Guavaween is a big party held in Ybor City around Halloween. Over the years, it has stretched out to include daytime activities for children and families, but the heart of Guavaween is the Stumble Parade followed by adult festivities. During the Stumble Parade, Mama Guava (the mythic queen of Ybor) leads all kinds down an enjoyable path of...more
The brewpub was modern with an oddly industrial yet cozy feel to it with huge copper vessels and a very long bar with copper affixed in sheets that while looking cold managed to add an overall warmth to the bar. The two beer engines looked ornamental but I'd happily read that this South Florida bar indeed sold cask conditioned ale and was a primary...more
established in 1905 by hernandez gonzmart the columbia restaurant is an ybor city institution. the columbia is one of the best spanish/cuban restaurants in florida. the ybor city restaurant is the original with six other locations around the state. the columbia features a flamenco dance show every evening except sundays. the restaurant has a...more
Usually things with the words "New York" in the title are anything but New Yorky, but this place is the real deal. It's the best overall delivery in the city - - and they are super nice. They have great manicotti and ravioli. Only D'Italia is better for pizza.more
Gaspar's Grotto is a bar, but they do serve some food. The service is pretty good here, and it's a definite finalist for the cleanest bar in its zip code. The thing that really annoys me about this place is how (even though it's independently owned and operated), it feels like a T.G.I. Friday's. There's all this pirate garbage on the walls - like,...more
Open only until 3 p.m., La Tropicana is a good place to go and eat for not much money. I'm a teacher, and we got lunch for 100 hungry 5th graders here while we were field tripping in Ybor . . . everyone seemed to enjoy it. I like any form of bread that they stuff with guava here. Also, the cafe con leche is very, very good.more
My great-grandfather was a waiter at La Columbia back in the day, and I've been eatting there my whole life. There are several branches of La Columbia, but the original is in Ybor City, and in my opinion, if you're gonna go to the Columbia, it should be here. The atmosphere is half of it - very old school Ybor. There's all these weird upstairs...more
For me, there are three restaurants in Ybor that really define the place: La Columbia, La Tropicana, and Carmine's. Carmine’s serves Spanish, Italian, and Cuban food as well as some “American” dishes. I don’t recommend the American food. I mean, it’s like going to Kentucky for sushi. Anyway, as the sign says, "son of a son of a restaurant owner" -...more
This place, back in the day, used to be called The Rtiz, but that was long before my time - - the theatre has been around since the 1800s and it's kind of neat to think that it's still being used for entertainment purposes. Though, I doubt the annual Gwar show was around back then. It's a fairly decent place to see shows, though I've always found...more
gaspar's grotto is one a many bars and night clubs on 7th ave. in ybor city. gaspar's is famous for it's rum selection. most of the night clubs on 7th ave/ cater to a young late night crowd while gaspar's gets a mixture of tourists and locals. a fun place to have a drink in ybor city. casualmore
Normally, a place called 'Flirt' would totally make me wretch. I mean, usually that translates to snotty meat market. Not this place, though. It was more like parties at New College (my former school and the one *true* love of my life), where everyone was just dancing to have a good time. I mean, there were definitely some people there who were...more
The Castle is a mostly goth / punk / metal / industrial club in the middle of Ybor City. The cover is usually pretty cheap (free if you get their early enough), and the booze isn't that much, either. It's called The Castle because of the building's shape . . . like a castle. There's also this bar in a little annex away from the dance floor that has...more
If you are looking to just juice your liver, 7th Avenue is probably your best bet. There's lots of little bars for you to drink it up at. Be careful, though. They used to close traffic on 7th for the weekends, but not anymore. Also, the curbs in Ybor are like eight feet high, and I saw a drunk lady really clock her head on one during the Gasparilla...more
so you have seen the movie coyte ugly, now experience it in person. yea it is just like the movie. here is a picture of a young lady (getting funky with it) on the bar. i thought bars are only for drinking, but i guess they are good for dancing on! walk the strip, you can't miss this place. don't be afraid to go other places also. it costed me like...more
Back in the day, the trolley was the hip way to get around Tampa. In the spirit of reviving Ybor to its historical past, a new trolley system has been installed. It will take you to a few points in Ybor that you could just as easily walk or to downtown and Channelside. It's not a far stretch, and most locals find it to be a total waste of tax payer money.
That said, I personally kind of enjoy riding the trolley. I don't know why. I just think it's cool to be on a freaking trolley. I'm a terrible nerd, though.
Check the website for fares and schedules - - and be sure you have exact change.
Well, maybe it is just for nerds, but a more widely diverse population of nerds than one would think from the outside. (It looks like a total Dungeons and Dragons nerd lair.) I like this place because they have a pretty good selection of Tampa / Florida History books AND the staff appears to have read them / can comment on them intelligently. Plus,...more
La France is like your Grandmother's closet - only eight million times bigger and better. For people like me who just can't seem to grow up, it's totally awesome. . . eternal dress-up. The store often features "grab bags" for the penny-pinchers out there. For a small fee (five or ten dollars), they give you a bag and a bin to pick from. You fill...more
the tourist/entertainment area around 7th ave. is perfectly safe for tourists but there are blighted neighborhoods nearby. if you are not familiar with the tampa it is wise to limit your visit to the 7th ave. area especially after dark. just be aware of your surroundings in this part of tampa.
We secured a room in Crystal River and ate food we had in the car. It would be an early night as we would have an untimely morning wake up once again, this time to swim with the manatees which was the reason for this stop in the first place. My wife had been living in Florida for four years without ever seeing one and this was to be her best...more
We got up around five thirty or six the day after my parents' 60th Anniversary in early April. We had been itching to leave for weeks but we'd stayed specifically to spend that day with them. As it turned out it was the last anniversary they would have with my Mom passing away only five months after we'd returned from the six month trip. That we...more
Daylight Savings - Unless Guavaween falls on October 31st ,then this night we roll our clocks back an hour for daylight savings. Be prepared to for that extra hour of partying. In other words, pace yourself. But there is lots to drink. Pace yourself, but have fun too! This little girl was a cutie!more