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
Located in the bustling International Mall shopping complex near Tampa International Airport, Blue Martini is becoming one of Tampa’s hottest nightspots. Tuesday night is Latin night and Blue Martini is not settling for a juke box full of Latin music. It brings in a live band, offers free salsa lessons and brings in 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!
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.
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
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.
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.
Related: The Best Latin Clubs In Tampa
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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 Examiner.com.