As a resident of St. Pete, I can’t help but think that downtown is the best place to spend a day of drinking. There are so many breweries within a small radius, plenty of places to stop to eat, and countless stores to browse between drinks. In one day, it actually is possible to hit up all the breweries that Downtown has to offer (as of now, there are six).
Locals or visitors alike will have fun, and to be honest this is what most of my weekends look like anyway. I might not have the advice of a lifelong St. Petersburgian (St. Petersburger? St. Petey?), but after 2 years I’ve tried a lot.
Here are my recommendations for a day of beer drinking, good food eating, and brewery hopping in St. Petersburg.
Start the morning at Banyan.
First stop is Banyan, a small but busy breakfast spot attached to the Morean Arts Center (there is a second, original location on MLK). There’s no beer, but the day doesn’t really start until you’ve fueled up with coffee, does it? I go for the creamy, cheesy grits or for the breakfast sandwich on crusty Cuban bread, but I’ve also heard rave reviews for the breakfast burrito.
Browse the shops at the 600 block
Let your breakfast settle and, depending on how early you get to breakfast, wait for the breweries to open at noon. Stop by Daddy Kool (open at 10 on Saturdays and noon on Sundays) to browse the record selection, browse antiques and home decor at White Owl Market, and pick up some trinkets at Strands of Sunshine. When it hits noon, walk down to the 500 block for your first taste of beer.
Drinks at Cycle and St. Pete Brewing Co.
The drinking begins now! Start at either Cycle on Central Ave, or head north a street to St. Pete Brewing Co. on 1st Ave N. Cycle happens to be one of my favorite breweries, and I go for Crank, a juicy, easy-to-drink IPA, almost every time. There’s no games to play here, but there is plenty of art on the walls, music playing, and it’s by far the best brewery around to do some people watching.
Over at St. Pete Brewing Co., I order a St. Pete Orange Wheat. The beers come in mason jars that make them fun to drink out of and perfect to post to Instagram, so everyone knows how much fun you’re having without them. While you’re drinking, check out the selection of board games, cards, or play corn hole. If you’re lucky, you can snag a chair and enjoy the fresh air outside.
Time for a snack and Green Bench
If you’re like me, right about now you’re getting hungry again. It’s time to grab a snack. I’m always in the mood for tacos, so I like to stop by Red Mesa Mercado, about 12 minutes walking and 2 minutes driving away from the 500 block. They have the usual taco and burrito selection, plus delicious rice, beans and tamales. Plus it’s right next door to Green Bench Brewing Company, our next stop on the day of drinking. My favorite part about getting a beer here is hanging out in the beer garden. After I order a Green Bench IPA, I grab a lawn chair out in the sun. My other favorite part about Green Bench is seeing all the puppies – it’s dog friendly and there are always cute dogs to pet!
Let’s all go to the Grand Central District
Call an Uber (or a Lyft!) or tell your DD that it’s time to go! About a 4 minutes drive away you’ll find 3 Daughters. 3 Daughters is the largest of all the breweries in the area. Inside a massive warehouse you’ll find live music, foosball, table shuffleboard, Pictionary, and table games galore. Head inside to the tasting room to the bar and order a beer. I go for what is by far the lightest tasting of them all, the Blonde Ale, or I grab a Bimini Twist IPA. Then, I hope one of the two ping pong tables are open and start a game.
A couple blocks away you’ll find two of the newest breweries. Right across an intersection from each other is Cage Brewing and Pinellas Ale Works, or PAW. At Cage, order the Galaxy Cat IPA for the name alone (and it tastes good). Then choose from the free play arcade games, foosball, corn hole, and/or hang out outside at the benches.
Over at PAW, the beers are dog themed. I order the slightly grossly named beer, the Piddle Pils, and head out to the beer garden where tables and a game of corn hole provide entertainment.
At this point, you’re probably starving. You're in luck—there are so many good places to eat in the area. Here are my favorite choices after a day of drinking, with plenty of options depending on what you’re in the mood for.
Hawkers - My Kryptonite, the love of my life. I crave the Tofu Curry and Roti Canai constantly.
Casita Taqueria - Fresh Mexican food. You have to get a side of chips and queso.
Cappy’s - Delicious pizza. I go for the deep dish.
Kings - Grilled cheese, hot dogs, poutine, and milkshakes.
Bodega - Cuban food with a simple menu, always delicious.
The Burg - American food with a Greek twist. Order a side of feta fries.
Now fight amongst yourselves to figure out which one to go to, or just UberEATS it to wherever you are.
Who wants more beer?
If you’re not ready to call it a night, my favorite place to drink that isn’t a brewery is Ale and the Witch. They have a killer list of craft beers from breweries all over the state and beyond. You can sit inside or hang out in the courtyard, where they often have live music. Watch people dancing or join in on it yourself.
After a few beers here, it’s probably time to call it a night. Be safe, drink lots of water and get to sleep!