Here in Tampa, we have a taste for the good life. Whether we’re cooling down in our resort-style pool or exploring Downtown Tampa, we’re always after the best of the best. That’s why we’re so lucky that our Bayfront apartments in Clearwater are situated just under 30 minutes from the richly historical Ybor City – a colorful hub of Cuban and Latin culture and cuisine that’s like no other town you’ll ever experience.
The History of Ybor City: Where the Cigar Industry Flourished
Ybor City is listed as a national historic landmark right here in Tampa, and for good reason. It’s been serving up delicious cuisine, entertainment, and world-class cigars for more than a century.
Ybor City got its start as a cigar manufacturing hub in the 1880s when cigar manufacturers and Cuban and Spanish immigrants flooded the city to take advantage of the booming industry. It wouldn’t be long before Ybor City would earn the reputation as the cigar capital of the world, with some of the world’s most famous cigar factories calling the city home. Although Ybor City would lose its title as the cigar capital of the world in the wake of the Great Depression, the impact the industry had on the city and the Tampa region as a whole is very evident still today.
Find the Best Cigars in America Right Here in Ybor City
Defined by its rich history in the cigar industry, Ybor City cigar shops are second-to-none. When you buy cigars from our local vendors, you can be sure you’re getting the real deal. Just one walk down the streets of Ybor City, and you’ll realize that cigar shops are everywhere, and each has its own unique flair.
As soon as you walk into Tabanero Cigars, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time. Grab yourself a coffee and educate yourself about the craft of cigars by watching one of their live demonstrations. One visitor says, “Best cigar spot hands down! I’m visiting from New York and I had one of the best cigars and espresso coffee on earth! You can watch them actually hand roll their own cigars and the craftsmanship is unrivaled.” That’s right – this isn’t just a cigar shop. You can also grab yourself some delicious coffee. Because a good smoke and a cup of Joe go hand in hand.
Another great spot for finding premium cigars is J.C. Newman Cigar Company. Known as “America’s Oldest family-owned premium cigar manufacturer”, J.C. Newman not only sells cigars, but has an on-site factory on N 16th Street that features a small museum is a must-see for cigar aficionados. Take a walk through this beautiful museum to learn about the beginnings of cigar production in the united states, from J.C. Newman’s beginnings in Cleveland Ohio in 1888 to their fascinating processes today. After walking around this museum, you’ll never see a cigar the same way again.
Looking for a place where you can relax outside, eat a meal, and grab some drinks with friends? At King Corona Cigars Bar and Café, you can do just that in their airy outdoor seating space where they serve up breakfast, shareable appetizers, salads, and sandwiches, alongside “some of the best coffee in Ybor city.” It’s a great place to grab a beer, order a sandwich, puff on a cigar, and watch the world go by — all just a short jaunt from our Bayside Arbors apartments in Clearwater, FL.
The Taste of Tampa in Ybor City
With its rich Cuban and Latin history, Ybor City is the perfect place to grab some delicious eats you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Perhaps one of the most popular Latin American restaurants in Ybor City is El Puerto Restaurant & Grill, serving up Latin inspired dishes in an artistic and colorful atmosphere that captures the essentials of Latin culture in Tampa. Channeling his decades worth of experience with Latin cuisine, Chef Nelson Umana, puts his unique twist on traditional recipes from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, and Cuba, creating delectable dishes that will keep you coming back for more.
One of the most iconic Ybor City restaurants is the Columbia Restaurant, which has been a beloved Ybor City staple since 1905. Owned and operated by five generations of the same family over a span of 110 years, you’ll be impressed by this restaurant’s high-end ambiance and meticulous attention to detail. The food is delicious, the restaurant itself is an architectural and artistic delight, and you’ll definitely want to save room for their decadent desserts. If you have friends or family in from out of town, be sure to take them to Columbia Restaurant to give them a true taste of Tampa.
On the casual and festive side is Gaspar’s Grotto – Tampa’s world-renowned pirate bar and restaurant that pays homage to legendary pirate Jose Gaspar. Grab some friends and a couple happy hour drinks, and spend a few hours hanging out at Gaspar’s outdoor lounge, where you can enjoy live music and Latin inspired pub fare. From pizza to crab legs, this bar has got it all, and it comes with a fun, upbeat environment that you’ll only find in Ybor City.
Vibrant Nightlife in Ybor City, Just Five Minutes from Our Downtown Tampa Apartments
Just a short drive from Bayside Arbors, Ybor City is a no-brainer for grabbing some friends to go on a bar crawl, with no fewer than 17 bars off E 7th avenue alone.
Perhaps the coziest bar in Ybor City is Big Easy Bar, with their brick walls, comfort food, and delicious craft cocktails. You can’t leave Big Easy Bar without trying their incredible mac n cheese, and this is perhaps the only bar we’ve heard of that does regular crawfish boils. Truly unique and cozy at the same time, Big Easy Bar is where you can go for a low-key night of delicious cocktails and pub fare.
Are you a wine lover? Check out Ybor City Wine Bar. With fine wines, craft beer, and small, snackable plates, you can sit inside or outside with a cheese plate and sip on a delicious rosé or sauvignon blanc.
For something a little livelier, be sure to check out the Bad Monkey. This military-themed bar offers weekday happy hours with sports on TV and ice-cold local beers on tap. Veterans, sailors, and civilians alike all love this bar with its local, down-to-earth flair.
Or, if you’re looking to bust a move, Ybor City is home to some of the best nightclubs in Tampa. The Castle has been a local favorite for more than two decades and was named top nightclub in Tampa by USA Today. Featuring 5 different party areas and a different theme almost every night, The Castle has something for everyone.
Delicious Latin cuisine & culture, just a short drive from our apartments in Clearwater, FL
Go to our website to schedule your tour of Bayside Arbors today! Our friendly and knowledgeable staff members can show you around our floor plans and ensure that you choose the perfect home for you.