719 N. Franklin St.
Tampa, Fl 33602
Hours: Mon to Sat – 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sun – 1 p.m. to 3 a.m.
There seems to be a correlation between how much the music gets played and how drunk the patrons are at The Hub. At this historic site – and it is a site to see – the drinks are always poured with a heavy hand and the classic jukebox is always spinning. With a selection of pioneer punk tunes, alternative rock and even some old-school R&B and hip-hop, this specific bar antique has been a mainstay crowd pleaser for years. Despite the tipsy clientele, no one’s DJ skills are limited until they run out of dollar bills.
Tiny Tap Tavern
2105 West Morrison Ave.
Tampa, Fl 33606
Tiny Tap facebook page
Hours: Mon to Tues – 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., Wed – 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., Thurs to Sat – 2 p.m. to 3 a.m., Sun – 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Located in the trendy SoHo district, this little guy stands out simply because it refuses to conform to the fancy stigma that engulfs it. Tiny Tap Tavern is a true dive bar where the drink prices are cheap, the people are unassuming and the bartender may be drunk upon entering. What helps keep the tone is the retro jukebox that comes armed with 50s and 60s rock along with the classic 70s; even artists such as James Brown to teen anthem conjurers, Nirvana, are amongst other choice genres one will find at their fingertips. It’s a great and smoky spot to chill with friends and let the records play.
New World Brewery
1313 East 8th Ave.
Tampa, Fl 33605
Hours: Wed to Thurs – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Fri – 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sat – 3 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Sun – 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Free? Did someone say free? Yes, this jukebox will not cost you a penny. Perhaps that has to do with a good portion of its selection being comprised of local and indie bands. Either way, when you do find a hit, chances are one of the bartenders dropped in their own compilation CD into the traditional machine. Much like the local bands that perform at this YBOR venue, expect to find some experimental sounds in this musical contraption.
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550 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, Fl 33701
Emerald facebook page
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sun – 1 p.m. to 3 a.m.
The jukebox music selections match-up with the atmosphere and attendees who cram in here for the most part. Basically, take an alternative/grunge rock, biker-style scene and rewind 25 to 30 years. Another solid way to describe not only the song selection – which includes some excellent rockabilly tunes – but the patrons as well, is to think about the backstage area where all the roadies for hard-rock/metal legends Black Sabbath and/or AC/DC would hang out back then. Just imagine what would be playing on their 8-tracks or cassette tape players and there you have The Emerald.
MacDinton’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
405 South Howard Ave.
Tampa, Fl 33606
Hours: Mon to Fri – 4 p.m. to 3 a.m., Sat – 10 a.m. to 3 a.m., Sun – 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
The only reason this establishment is getting a rotation on this jukebox record is simply because its music-playing machine is a modern-day monster. It looks like something from the future, yet it encompasses just about every tune for the past and present. If you can type it, the machine will find it. After that, just put in your dollar bills and receive your audible delight.
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Joe Belcastro is an established journalist based in Tampa, Florida. His vast coverage of the local, national, & international scene has led his work to appear all over the world in respected print and online publications. After making a name for himself in the realm of film criticism, his candid approach & style to reporting has enabled him to cover such beats as music and nightlife, all while conducting interviews with people who have way more money than him. His work can be found at Examiner.com.