Tampa / St. Petersberg Dive Bar Guide

Florida Made Real

Tampa, St. Petersberg, Indian Shores, Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, every small town and jurisdiction up and down the partially man-made barrier islands, to refer to the area as simply “Tampa” does it a disservice. That kind of multi-city sprawl across a couple of Florida peninsulas connected by all manner of causeway creates a wildly diverse dive bar scene.

The recommended selections in the area range from the classic Florida dive bar / liquor store combo at the southern tip of St. Pete (Smugglers Tavern) to the downtown Tampa dive known for shockingly aggressive liquor pours (The Hub) to maybe the best dive bar in America along a sleepy stretch of barrier island road (Mahuffer’s). The chance to pull from such a wide selection of towns, people and geographies makes for fertile dive bar ground.

Though Florida’s rich history may not be the first thing tourists think of when visiting the state, Tampa’s dive bars wear that history proudly, with places like ex-gas station office Tiny Tap Tavern boasting a near 90-year history. Longevity is a core piece of the best Tampa dive bars reviewed here, each with their own unique story.

And for a state so overrun by transient, touristy sightseers, these dive bars provide a much-needed antidote to some of the gloss and new construction that comes with catering to vacationers with disposable income. That Shipwreck Grill sits just a few blocks from ultra-touristy downtown Clearwater is all the juxtaposition needed to prove the value and necessity of a good dive bar to keep a city sane.

While some of the trappings of being a woven-together collection of beach cities and major sporting events are impossible to avoid, the dive bars that thrive within the cracks ground Tampa and can ground any visit to Tampa and all points west.

Tampa / St. Petersberg Dive Bar Reviews

Ranked Order

Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Mahuffer's

Perhaps America’s greatest dive bar, a collection of dollar bills, bras and carnival signs beyond description.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Tiny Tap Tavern

Tampa’s gas station-turned-dive bar gem that packs almost 90 years of history into a shoebox-sized building.
Review Rating: 10 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Hub

Dark, spacious, classic and home to what have to be the stiffest liquor pours in Tampa.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Shadracks

While hard to explain, Shadracks is, somehow, an inside-out dive bar beach hut. Yep.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Shipwreck Grill

Downtown Clearwater is nothing if not a tourist trap, making the Shipwreck a crucial diversion.
Review Rating: 9 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Smugglers Tavern

Part dive bar, part liquor store somehow nestled among townhomes and timeshares.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Hole In The Wall

Like a dive bar checklist somehow manifested in a tiny, shotgun-style footprint.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Pro Shop Pub

Dimly lit, pleasantly gay zig zag layout of a bar with a giant teddy bear, of course.
Review Rating: 8 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Barefoot Billy's Friendly Tavern

If you ever wanted a photo op with a pirate mannequin, this is the place.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Sunset Grille

A little too clean, sadly, but an epic, sprawling back patio akin to a Florida beer garden.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Swigwam beach Bar

Nomad dive bar community relocated from an on-beach dive bar hut, and it shows.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Blue Parrot

In true dive bar tradition, it’s a concert venue underneath a causeway overpass. In a good way.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

The Drunken Clam

The classic template for a Florida beach dive bar, just a couple blocks from said beach.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Anchor Bar

Downtown Tampa’s duck-in dive, like a one-room beer schoolhouse with the food menu on top.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Dead Bob's

The dive bar with the backstory, named for an epic drinker named, you guessed it, Bob.
Review Rating: 7 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Boardwalk Tavern

Not dangerous, probably, but rough enough around the edges to warrant a good-natured warning.
Review Rating: 6 of 10
Johnnie's Glenn Avenue Grill - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior

Elmer's Sports Cafe

More classic sports bar than dive, be sure to add to the prominently displayed wall of Jagermeister.
Review Rating: 5 of 10

Tampa / St. Petersberg Neighborhood Crawls

Downtown Tampa

Bier Stube - Columbus Dive Bar Exterior
All roads lead to The Hub.

St. Pete Beach

Beck Tavern - Columbus Dive Bar - Interior
The dive bar archipelago.

Tampa / St. Petersberg Dive Bars Not Yet Reviewed

Must Visit Recommendations

Unfortunately, we have not yet been to every single dive bar in the city, but there probably a few more punch cards on our livers, so we’ll make it there soon. In the meantime, the curated list of dives below comes highly recommended by a variety of friends, online sources and drunks.

Clearwater

Copper Mug Liquors

1463 S Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33764
Google Map

Riverview

The Beer Shed

11222 Casa Loma Dr
Riverview, FL 33569
Google Map

St. Petersberg

Flamingos Sports Bar

1230 9th St N
St. Petersberg, FL 33705
Google Map

Temple Crest

Bigfoot on the River

7201 N 41st St
Tampa, FL 33604
Google Map

Other Dive Bar Options

Don's Irish Pub

3007 6th St S #3719
St. Petersberg, FL 33705
Google Map

Mick's Pub

2140 Drew St
Clearwater, FL 33765
Google Map

Sporty's

17093 Gulf Blvd N
Redington Beach, FL 33708
Google Map

What Did We Miss?

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