According to the social scientist and professor Richard Florida, the key to ensuring economic development in a growing city like Tampa lies in the ability of the city to attract what he terms the “creative class.” Until roughly the year 2000, the Tampa Bay area suffered from a long period of stagnation when it comes to attracting young people to live or work here. All of that changed with the gentrification of SOHO, Ybor and Channelside, as well as the redevelopment of downtown St. Petersburg. Since then, a variety of single-friendly bars and lounges opened their doors in recent years. Still on the dating marketplace? Try one of these novel night spots, some of the best for singles in the region.
Hyde Park Cafe
1806 W. Platt St.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 254-2233

The Hyde Park Cafe has become a legend in Tampa for its fun, dance-friendly atmosphere. Composed of two large lounges, they are connected by an outdoor patio complete with comfortable chairs. One room tends to focus on Latin-flavored sounds, while the other rotates from techno and house to top 40s music. The crowd and the DJs both earn rave reviews, the former for its attractiveness and the latter for their music selection. The bartenders also make their mark with strong pours. A surprise to many, Hyde Park also makes several hookahs available on the patio, as well as offers pizzas toward the end of the night. Plus, those who check in on Yelp will be awarded a free shot.

The Canopy
340 Beach Drive N.E.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 896-1080

If anything sets The Canopy apart from the lot of bars around Tampa Bay, it would have to be the setting. Located on the rooftop of the Birchwood Hotel, high above downtown St. Petersburg’s pedestrian-friendly downtown, The Canopy’s dazzling views of Tampa Bay will take the breath away from even the most well traveled. The comparisons to Miami Beach are hard to miss, with palm fronds, lounge chairs and a relaxed feel. Happy hour can be a great deal, but watch out for the crowds that follow later in the night, especially during the weekend.

Edge Social Drinkery
1207 S. Howard Ave.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 999-8731

The rooftop bar craze has finally caught on in Tampa. In the heart of SOHO, you can enjoy drinks in a classy, fun atmosphere on top of the new Epicurian Hotel. A rotating drink menu ensures new additions every few weeks, with a variety of handcrafted and microbrew spirits, beers and wines. Move over bartenders, because you have new competition in town with the elaborate cocktails crafted by the Edge’s “mixologists.” The only drawback, aside from the inflated prices, is that the position of the bar partially blocks what is an otherwise pleasant view of the skyline.

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Undertow Beach Bar
3850 Gulf Blvd.
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
(727) 368-9000

The beach, the sun, the sand, delicious drinks…what more could one ask for? The Undertow has become synonymous with seaside fun for singles and couples alike. One couldn’t imagine a better location for this type of bar than St. Pete Beach’s dazzling white sand and relaxing vibe. The staff, along with the bar’s patrons, dress appropriately for a beach bar, so don’t be surprised by the scantily-clad. This is the perfect choice for a warm summer day, with a swim between drinks or to watch a beautiful sunset.

Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club
2109 Bayshore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 251-0022

Delightful drinks, refined tastes and attentive service make Ciro’s a perfect spot for a snazzy night out. Call to make a reservation first, because the password they give you on the phone will be essential to enter the seated area. Once inside, you will feel transported through time to another era entirely. Ciro’s boasts a 10-page menu of drink concoctions, including absinthe, speakeasy classics like juleps and the famous Hemingway daiquiri. In addition, original culinary creations abound, like the truffle popcorn, duck fries and New Castle ice cream, all well worth sampling. The food is hands down delicious, but the portions are not the biggest, so it’s best to stick to Ciro’s as a stop for appetizers rather than a full meal.

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Aaron Phillips has experience in marketing and journalism. Recently back to his hometown, he’s excited to discover and share what Tampa has to offer. His work can be found at