Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, got its nickname from retailers who realized it was their weekend to send their ledgers from the red (losses) to black (profits). For bars and nightclubs, the night before Thanksgiving has become one of their most profitable nights and has become known as Black Wednesday. Here are some of the best places to fortify yourselves for the upcoming holidays.

Mr. Dunderbak’s (Credit, Mike Hennessy)

Mr. Dunderbak’s
14929 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33613
(813) 977-4104

Mr. Dunderbak’s started off as a dark, quiet German-style deli where graduate students, professors and other intellectual types could take refuge from the real world and enjoy a sandwich and variety of exotic beers. After a few decades, it outgrew its mall location and moved to the south end of New Tampa. With more space and a more diverse population to draw from, Mr. Dunderbak’s has grown and prospered. It offers some of Tampa’s most authentic German food and an ever-expanding line of imported and craft beers. There’s often live German music to create an even more festive atmosphere. Whether you’re a beer snob or someone looking for a good meal, great beer and a tab that won’t send you into bankruptcy, Mr. Dunderbak’s has what you’re looking for.

Jimmy V’s Original Westshore Pizza (Credit, Mike Hennessy)

Jimmy V’s Original Westshore Pizza
4802 W. Bay Court Ave.
Tampa, FL 33611
(813) 832-5331

Westshore Pizza has grown into a small chain ranging from tiny takeout and delivery shops to full-size restaurants. Built around Philadelphia-style menus, all of them feature great pizza and a surprisingly authentic reproduction of the famous Philly cheesesteak sandwich. The original Jimmy V’s Westshore Pizza at the corner of Westshore Boulevard and West Bay Court Avenue is cozily tucked into a residential neighborhood next to a large apartment complex and several neighborhoods within easy walking distances. If you like sports along with your dinner, TVs are scattered all over the main dining room and there’s a small but high-quality selection of beers at very reasonable (dare we say cheap?) prices. Be sure to try to the Westshore Red house brand if you’re looking for something a little different.

Skipper’s Smokehouse
910 Skipper Road
Tampa, FL 33613
(813) 971-0666

Let’s face it, while the holidays are a great time to strengthen ties with family and loved ones, Thanksgiving can mark the beginning of a long period of time where party nights are out of the question. Skipper’s is the perfect place to enjoy a fun evening of great food from its eclectic, eccentric menu, not to mention Skipper’s traditional Wednesday night reggae concert that goes hand-in-hand with special prices on Jamaica’s flagship brew Red Stripe. The holidays and their stress will come soon enough, but this is a great way to enjoy one last laid-back night of living on island time.

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Dallas Bull Lounge
3322 U.S. 301
Tampa, FL 33619
(813) 987-2855

Located just outside Tampa’s urban confines, the Dallas Bull is Tampa’s most authentic honky-tonk. Line-dancing, live country music and western decor is perfect for real cowboys or the “urban” cowboys. Who cares which is which as long as everyone’s looking to have a good time, right? Some of country music’s hottest young up and comers make the Dallas Bull a “must-stop” on their touring calendar, while some of country’s true superstars have squeezed in surprise performances in between shows at the nearby amphitheater. If your cowboy boots are gathering dust in your closet, brush ’em off and head for the Dallas Bull.

Gator’s Cafe And Saloon
12754 Kingfish Drive
Treasure Island, FL 33706
(727) 367-8951

If all you want is one last chance to chill before the holiday hurley-burley, there may not be a better place than Gator’s Cafe and Saloon. Located on the fabulous Gulf of Mexico shoreline of Treasure Island, Gator’s has the water, the beach, the beautiful people and the friendly staff to help you relax and watch the sun go down. If that isn’t enough, there are plenty of TVs to help you keep up with your favorite sports events. Did we forget to mention the great food and drinks?

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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