When it comes to partying with a Latin accent, Tampa’s Ybor City district is a “must-see” for any tourist. But there are also plenty of places to enjoy a taste of Latin cuisine, salsa and merengue dance beats along with the warmth and friendliness of Tampenos who are proud of their heritage whether their families came from Cuba, Spain or Latin America. If you’re looking for a less “touristy” experience, we’ve put together a list of some of the best places to join a fiesta outside of Ybor City.
2223 N. W. Shore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33607
Latin Night: Tues – 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Price: $5 cover after 9 p.m.
Located in the bustling International Mall shopping complex near Tampa International Airport, Blue Martini is becoming one of Tampa’s hottest nightspots. Blue Martini Latin night is not abut a Jukebox full of Latin music, it’s about live bands. They also offer free salsa lessons and then a DJ to pump up Latin-flavored music long after the band gives up the ghost. Whether you’re a Latino or just someone looking for a good time, that’s a hard combination to beat. Just make sure you bring your dancing shoes!
3849 Northdale Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33624
Mango Biche Facebook Page
Hours: Fri to Sat – 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., Sun – 11 p.m to 1 a.m.
Mango Biche features Colombian style salsa and merengue, with the occasional hip-hop tune tossed in for good measure. This cozy little club located out in the suburbs institutes a care-free type of atmosphere. It’s one of those “best kept secret” types of places that you’ll probably only hear about through word-of-mouth. When the place gets going, one could experience a bit of claustrophobia, but there is an outdoor area where one can catch their breath before hitting the dance floor again.
The Zo Lounge
25032 US Highway 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33763
Latin Night: Thursday – 9:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.
DJ Speedy spins the best in salsa, bachata, merengue and cha-cha-chá. No cover before 11:00 p.m. NY style salsa classes given by Salsabroso ($10) begin at 9:15 p.m.
Hyde Park Café
1806 West Platt St.
Tampa, Florida 33606
Latin Night: Thurs – 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Price: Ladies are free, Guys pay $5
The mood and tone executed out at Hyde Park Cafe is what many clubs aspire to have. Latin night at HPC has been a staple over the years that continuously summons a massive crowd. In some ways, it’s an educational experience to the Latino social life if you’ve never experienced it before. Everyone that descends on this locale is dressed to attract, as they maneuver through the three areas blasting away vibrant Latin dance beats spun by exceptional DJs. Be ready to shake it when entering this spot.
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Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant
2500 W. Azeele St.
Tampa, FL 33609
Just south of Kennedy Boulevard in the historic Hyde Park area, Ceviche Tampa offers an authentic taste of what Tampa’s melting pot of Anglo and Latin culture is really all about. There are plenty of weeknight promotions to draw the hungry, thirsty or curious, such as Tapas Tuesday or Wine Wednesday. One poster raves about Ceviche’s home-made sangria calling it the best in the city. Exaggeration? We’ll let you decide for yourself.
13501 Icot Blvd. Suite 108
Clearwater, FL 33760
Inconspicuously located in a strip mall in Pinellas County’s teeming Gateway area, Amoroma is a hidden treasure. Whether it’s Halloween or Cinco de Mayo, any excuse is good enough for a party at Amoroma. But why would anyone need an excuse to have a good time? If you’ve been wanting to learn some of the fancy Latin dance steps, Amoroma can help you learn the difference between a salsa or a merengue in a low-key, fun environment.
Simone Salsa Dance
8336 W. Hillsborough Ave.
Tampa, FL 33615
If you’re going to party Latin style, you better by ready to dance. But if you’re cursed with two left feet or just not up to speed on the merengue, salsa or cha cha cha, Simone Salsa Dance has group and private lessons for everything from the tango to the flamenco and everything in between. Simone Salsa is more than just a dance studio, though. It also hosts a Halloween Masquerede Ball and other special events where you can show off your new-found steps in familiar surroundings with your new best friends. By the way, if you ever wanted to learn Middle Eastern belly dancing, Simone Salsa can help you with that too.
Whiskey Park North
11921 N. Dale Mabry Highway
Tampa, FL 33618
Hours: Wed – Starting at 9 p.m.
If the drive to Ybor City seems like a bit much, especially on a weeknight, one of Tampa’s oldest suburbs is home to a top-notch nightspot with Wednesday nights set aside for “Latino Tropical.” Starting at 9 p.m., DJ Rafy Roman spins a spicy mix of salsa, merengue, bachata and Caribbean tunes into a great audio stew. Whisky Park enforces a dress code and 21-and-over policy in order to set a proper atmosphere. If the partying goes on just a little too long, there’s also free taxi service for anyone who might be at risk getting caught up in the ongoing war against drunk driving.
Mike Hennessy is a veteran news man who has won Florida AP awards for feature reporting and covered almost every kind of story imaginable from on-the-scene coverage of Hurricane Andrew, to some of the highest profile murder and corruption trials in Florida history. Mike is versatile and has the curiosity it takes to get to the bottom line of any story. His work can be found at Examiner.com.