One of the great things about tending bar is that your always hearing about what’s happening in the industry directly from spirit distillers, bar owners, liquor reps, brand ambassadors, other bartenders etc.. In this case, a few months ago, a colleague sat at my bar and told me about some bar in, of all the places….Tampa, that was making some noise in the industry. He said that they were doing all the right things good bartenders look for: good booze, great service and atmosphere, kick ass cocktails and reasonable prices. On my next trip to visit my girlfriends parents in Tampa I made it a mission to check this place out. As soon as I walked in I was transported directly to my old watering holes in the Lower East Side and Williamsburg, NYC. It isn’t that the bar concept of speakeasies is new. I mean, these bars that mix the allure of secrecy and mystification of the original speakeasy of the 1920’s, with the art of making proper cocktails started proliferating NYC in early 2000, but what surprised me was that Ro Patel, owner of Ciro’s, had taken a chance and opened this type of bar in a city that isn’t exactly the most known for its cocktail culture.
It looks like he’s starting something interesting in Tampa. Here’s my interview with Ro.