Clearwater is a progressive city that is committed to enhancing residents' lives while preserving a heritage that is rich in culture and exquisite in landscape. Here you'll find everything you could expect from a tropical paradise - and much more. Literally translated "Clear Water" from the native Indian "Pocotopaug", the area was named for its abundant fresh springs along the shore. Settled by colonists in the mid-1830s, it was not until the 1890s that Clearwater gained a reputation as a resort community.
Today, fun 'n sun lovers still come from around the world, and although Clearwater is a great spot to get away, it's an even better place to live. Our community is friendly and socially responsive, and our City government is economically active and environmentally conscious. The City provides citizens with the programs and resources they need, and the amenities they desire.
The St. Petersburg/Clearwater area is well-known for its spectacular Gulf of Mexico sunsets, but the action is far from over once the stars come out. From beach bars with cool drinks and island music to high-tech nightlife in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, the action heats up when the sun goes down. Here are some of the nightlife highlights, for more information on the area, go to www.FloridasBeach.com or call 1-877-FL-BEACH (352-3224).
BayWalk Complex Heats Up: The $40-million "BayWalk" entertainment complex has become a hot spot for shopping and nightlife. Adding momentum to a revitalization of downtown St. Petersburg, "BayWalk" opened in the fall of 2000. The 150,000 sq. ft. open-air themed plaza is anchored by a 4,200 seat, 20-screen Muvico Theater complex featuring stadium seating theaters, child care service and fresh cuisine. 727-384-6000
BayWalk Bars & Restaurants: The Mediterranean Revival-themed complex known as the "Soul of St. Petersburg" includes bars and restaurants that pack in the crowds every night of the week. BayWalk features Wet Willie’s, an open-air daiquiri bar specializing in frozen drinks and a hot dance floor, and The Martini Bar, a sophisticated club with a variety of martinis and other drinks as well as live music. The complex features an assortment of unique and fashionable restaurants such as dish, Dan Marino’s Town Tavern, Adobo Grill and Gratzzi’s. 727-384-6000
BayWalk Shopping: The complex offers an eclectic array of shops for all ages and tastes. From the region’s only full-line Ann Taylor shop to the tropical lifestyle wear of Hurricane Pass Outfitters and Five Fish, to White House/Black Market which features women’s clothing in shades of white and black, variety abounds throughout the complex. 727-384-6000
Get Down-town: St. Petersburg celebrates the weekend on the First Friday of every month with a
Big Block Party Blowout! The city closes off Central Avenue for three blocks in the heart of downtown for this free festival. The Get Downtown series features live music 5:30 – 10:30 p.m. and includes food vendors and other entertainment. 727-393-3597 www.firstfridayinfo.com
Spend the Night with Dali: The "Dalí & Beyond" Thursday-night film series at the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg features movies that share a Dalínian enthusiasm for fantasy, dreams, creativity and the imagination. Past films have included Dalí’s own ventures into cinema as well as surrealist and art films, documentaries, and experimental Hollywood productions. Films are shown in the evening on the first and third Thursdays of the month. 727-823-3767 www.salvadordalimuseum.org
Step Into the Ring: The Ringside CafÈ north of downtown St. Petersburg features live Blues almost every night of the week. This two-story, wooden-frame house used to be home to a boxing club, but now it heats up with great music. 727-894-8465 www.ringsidecafe.com
Garden Party: The Garden is an outdoor lounge under the arms of an ancient banyan tree in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. It offers live jazz every weekend featuring the Buster Cooper Quartet. Cooper has played with such jazz legends as Duke Ellington and Josephine Baker. 727-896-3800
I’ll be in the Lobby: The Lobby Bar is a chic martini bar located in the lobby of one of downtown St. Petersburg’s first hotels. The Lobby is hard to find because the hotel isn’t open anymore. But it is worth the trip. Open only Thursday through Saturday, the small hot spot features great drinks, stained glass tables and an entertaining crowd. 727-896-3800
Cha Cha Cha: Located five floors above downtown St. Petersburg and nearly a mile out into Tampa Bay, Cha Cha Coconuts is one of the coolest spots in town. This restaurant/bar features entertainment nightly and there is never a cover charge. 727-898-5800
Get More from Your Evening Out: Clearwater’s Club More features everything from live bands to live bouts. This former warehouse offers a live venue for local and regional bands and features all types of music and entertainment. 727-466-6673 www.clubmorelive.com
Enjoy Some Liquid Entertainment: Liquid Blue is one of the area’s premier dance clubs. The main floor has a large bar, dance floor and bandstand, with several blue bar tables thoughtfully scattered about. The club is located in an old movie theater in the heart of downtown Clearwater. Liquid Blue has an appearance code. According to the staff, as long as guests look neat and pulled together, no matter the style of clothing, they will be welcome. 727-446-4000. www.clubliquidblue.com
ON THE BEACH:
Catch the Wave: Shephard’s Tiki Bar in Clearwater Beach has gained notoriety for its live Reggae & Rock music, bikini contests, and large crowds of fun-loving people. Shephard’s also features the "Wave," a two-story disco with DJs and live music. 727-441-6875 www.shepards.com
Hurricane Watch: The Hurricane in St. Pete Beach is a dancing and nightlife spot for visitors and residents alike. Each night after dark, hurricane forces transform Stormy’s on the second floor into a state-of-the-art nightclub. For those who want a quiet evening under the stars, the Hurricane Watch offers 360-degree unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico and Intercoastal Waterway as well as tropical specialty drinks. 727-360-9558 www.thehurricane.com
Go Gators: Gators CafÈ in Treasure Island is known as the "World’s Longest Waterfront Bar." Gators features a saloon overlooking Fish Famous John’s Pass as well as the downstairs main bar, Tiki deck and Gator tower. Live Entertainment is featured daily. 727-367-2942 www.gatorscafe.com
If you haven't already found it during your sightseeing and shopping excursions, the restored fishing community of John's Pass Village and Boardwalk, on Gulf Boulevard at John's Pass in Madeira Beach, has plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to keep you occupied after the sun sets. Elsewhere, the nightlife scene at the beach revolves around rocking bars that pump out music until 2am. All of the places listed in this section are bars that have live music.
Pass-a-Grille has the popular, always-lively lounge at Hurricane, on Gulf Way at 9th Avenue, opposite the public beach.
Up on the northern tip of Treasure Island, Gators on the Pass (tel. 727/367-8951) claims to have the world's longest waterfront bar, with a huge deck overlooking the waters of John's Pass. The complex also includes a nonsmoking sports bar and a three-story tower with a top-level observation deck for panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. There's live music, from acoustic and blues to rock, most nights.
In Clearwater Beach, the Palm Pavilion Grill & Bar, on the beach at 18 Bay Esplanade (tel. 727/446-2742), has live music Tuesday through Sunday nights during winter and on weekends in the off-season. Nearby, Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, at 7 Rockaway St. (tel. 727/446-4844; www.frenchysonline.com/rockaway.html), is another popular hangout.
If you're into laughs, Coconuts Comedy Club, at the Howard Johnson motel, Gulf Boulevard at 61st Avenue in St. Pete Beach (tel. 727/360-5653), has an ever-changing program of live stand-up funny men and women. Call for the schedule, performers, and prices.
For a more highbrow evening, go to the Clearwater mainland and the 2,200-seat Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen-Booth Rd. (tel. 727/791-7400; www.rutheckerdhall.com), which hosts a varied program of Broadway shows, ballet, drama, symphonic works, popular music, jazz, and country music.
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