Entertainment and Events
The area is well-stocked with beach bars, but St. Petersburg is where the after-dark scene really pops. The Independent (23 3rd St. N., 727/820-9514, www.independentbeer.com, 5 p.m.–3 a.m. daily) offers an extensive menu of microbrew and imported beers along with a decent selection of wines. The vibe is friendly and boisterous, with a diverse and urbane crowd of locals.
The Venue (2675 Ulmerton Rd., 727/571-2222, www.thevenueclub.com, hours vary) is an entertainment complex housing a dance club, a restaurant, a martini bar, a wine bar, and an outdoor deck, all of which should appeal to the dress-to-impress crowd.
Top-tier local and national bands hit the big stages at Jannus Landing (16 2nd St. N., 727/896-2276, www.jannuslandingconcerts.com) and The State Theatre (687 Central Ave., 727/895-3045, www.statetheareconcerts.com).
Hands down, the best place in the area to catch a movie is The Beach Theatre (315 Corey Ave., 727/360-6697) in the tiny downtown area of St. Pete Beach. Originally opened in 1940, the theater retains all of its era-specific charm, but it is also a loose and comfortable environment defined by the cinephiles who run it. Programming is a unique mixture of first-run movies, art-house fare, and idiosyncratic selections; they also have free kids’ matinees on Saturdays featuring everything from the Three Stooges and old Godzilla flicks to E.T., and the Beach Theatre upholds the tradition of cult-oriented midnight movies on Saturdays.
During the winter cultural season, the Mahaffey Theater (400 1st St. S., 727/892-5798, www.mahaffeytheater.com) in downtown St. Petersburg hosts touring Broadway productions and is also home to The Florida Orchestra (www.floridaorchestra.org).
The nationally renowned Ruth Eckerd Hall (1111 N. McMullen Booth Rd., 727/791-7400, www.rutheckerdhall.com) in Clearwater hosts live events year-round; winter brings ballet, Broadway, and symphony performances, while spring and summer see pop and rock concerts from adult-oriented touring acts.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition