With its plush couch and bookcase stocked with esoteric objects, the stage at Side Splitters Comedy Club might make audiences feel as though they’re watching the evening’s comedian in their own living room, right down to the emcee who keeps announcing what’s about to happen. The homey stage’s brick walls and off-kilter neon sign have played host to numerous local comedians, as well as talents such as Tom Arnold and Gilbert Gottfried.
The crowd noise and referee whistles of a football game aren’t complete without some other sounds. At Buckets Tavern & Tap, a full roster of domestic and craft beers click together in cheers. Eight-ounce Angus burgers sizzle on a grill, and five styles of wings crackle in a fryer. While bartenders sling drafts and bottles from Budweiser, Blue Moon, Magic Hat, and Dogfish, televisions with a wide range of channels broadcast games played by Florida teams and any team whose mascot is a family of sleepy baby raccoons. Bowls of buffalo shrimp and jalapeño poppers clatter onto tables, alongside baskets of clams with fries and slaw, burgers, and chili.
Though entertainment fads come and go, movie theaters remain, tempting audiences with fantastical stories new and old. The film buffs behind the Tampa Pitcher Show understand this craving for narrative connection, filling their movie hall and bar space’s calendar with first-run films, alternative events, and live music that helped them take home the prize for Best Kept Secret in Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay 2011 Reader’s Poll. Within the theater, projectors hum to life with current hits and cult classics every night; weekends welcome special happenings that include Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow-casts, art bazaars, and comedy shows. The Take 2 Lounge dispenses a sprawling menu of bar fare, including burgers, pizzas, and beers such as Magic Hat #9, Southern Tier, and Florida Avenue Ale flowing from 13 tap lines.
Music fills the air at The Green Parrot Bar & Grill, where hits wail from a jukebox whenever live bands aren't bringing down the house. Behind the bar, taps release endless pints of domestic beers and ice cubes clink within specialty cocktails, which complement wings with housemade sauces and Angus burgers topped with bacon and cheddar cheese. The Green Parrot also hosts special events, such as karaoke nights and dart tournaments, and keeps diners entertained with pool tables and a play area geared toward children and poker-playing children.
"In street food, one can find the true spirit and culture of the local people." With this one statement on its website, the Flight Restaurant & Lounge team sums up the impetus for its entire restaurant. At the modern eatery, visitors can celebrate a cross-section of global flavors and culinary traditions that have been passed down through generations by both written recipes and subliminal messaging in top-40 songs. The menu spotlights dishes from around the world, including Cuba, the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Pakistan—each crafted with authentic ingredients such as fried plantains and pickled okra.
The perfume of warming spices permeates the vibrant lounge, which often hosts live music and displays the works of local artists in a gallery section. The gallery, illuminated by overhead spotlights arranged in the shape of an airplane, donates 100% of its proceeds to the artists and charities including Instruments 4 Life, Global Community Outreach, and Advocates for World Health.