Mortar & Pestle: Coffee, Food, Alcohol? Sounds Like a Good Time!

There are a lot of opinions about this restaurant. Lets see what the Exploring Tampa crew thinks!
Mortar & Pestle, 2019
Coming from the ashes of a popular food truck, Mortar & Pestle is a concept that thrives to bring back the old timey pharmacies. You know the ones... You go to get a soda from the fountain, you wander the aisles, make your way to the lunch counter, then leave with your prescriptions. Located on the same block as local favorites Angry Chair Brewing and Trip's Diner, there's no lack of business to be had. This is also one of the few places in Seminole Heights with a real parking lot. Had you never read a review of this place and had you not heard about their filing for bankruptcy, you'd be impressed. The inside of the building is a hipster's paradise, with the industrial looking tables and chairs, the high ceiling, the steampunk-esque inspired decor. The inside of this building is cool. Next door is also a fully functional pharmacy that I wasn…

Ybor City Entertainment: Game Time

From the ashes of the former Ybor City arcade (GameWorks), rises the new and improved arcade, GameTime.

 GameTime sign, Ybor City, 2017

I'll warn you now, this post will be picture heavy.

GameWorks was an arcade opened in 2001 to provide family entertainment to the Centro Ybor Entertainment District. Centro Ybor, at the time, provided a brewery (Tampa Bay Brewing Company), a comedy club (The Improv), restaurants, bars, and shopping, but very little for the kids to do. In came GameWorks, a company owned and operated under Sega, the company responsible for creating Sonic the Hedgehog. The recession hit around 2008-2009 and Ybor took a huge hit, GameWorks in particular. In 2010, the company wrapped a chain around the door and left a sign up in the window informing their customers, and their employees, that they were no longer open. 


Ghostbusters, the game, 2017


In the later half of 2010, an unlikely hero was born. A brand new (at the time) Florida arcade chain had purchased the old GameWorks building with the intent of bringing a quality, family friendly arcade back to Centro Ybor. In the beginning, GameTime was almost indistinguishable from GameWorks. Most of the old games remained, and the entire layout felt very familiar. The difference being, the sign outside said "GameTime" and, well, the doors were open.

 Kids playing Mario vs. Sonic Olympic Games, 2017

Some of the games, 2017

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, however, as 2015 started to show the arcade's age. Business was slowly declining and the company realized they needed to do something to bring customers back in. Thus they unveiled a $1 million renovation. The plan to bring in a new restaurant, a new 21+ lounge, 65 TV's to show sportsball games on, new games, and a bowling alley. They closed their doors in November of 2015 and spent the next three months building out one of the most impressive attractions in Ybor. The new GameTime debuted on February 20, 2016. 

Bowling alley, 2017

To those of you who haven't been to GameTime, or to those of you who haven't been in a while, it is definitely worth checking out. They put a lot of thought into the games that they provide, including House of the Dead, Jurassic Park, The Walking Dead, and PacMan, the new restaurant provides some decent food (definitely better than the food served at Tampa Lanes), and if all of the kids running around having fun gets to be too much for you, simply venture in to the 21+ lounge. The lounge itself is noticeably quieter and not as crazy as the arcade floor. There are pool tables and a bar, serving up some of Tampa's finest craft beers and a few select bottles of liquor (if that's your thing). The restaurant is beautifully designed and even offers some larger tables (our group of about 10 had no trouble finding seating). My advice for the food, the burgers are excellent! And, if you consider yourself a burger connoisseur, Tampa Bay Brewing Company is right next door, and they have The Bomb, but that's for another post!

One of the members of our group, shootin' some hoops, 2017

Now lets get into the important part of this post. The one question you're all asking. "How much?" I hear you screaming at your computer screens. The answer's not so simple. If you'd like to check it out, you've never been before, then Thursday nights are the perfect time to go. Starting at 7 pm, you pay $10 and you can play just about every game GameTime offers for $10. The disadvantage to this promotion is that, if you have kids who like collecting tickets and winning prizes, the machines do not dispense tickets. GameTime also offers a Dine 'N Play combo. For $17, you get a select menu item off of the menu (Burger! Burger!), then you get a $15 game card to venture into the arcade and play some games. Monday through Friday, from 4-8 p.m., you get 50% off any individual drink from the bar. Now, if none of those promotions work for you (Thursday is the best day to come, I promise), then you simply load a game card with money and each game has it's own cost. 

Skee ball, anyone?, 2017

GameTime is exactly what Centro Ybor needed, with restaurants, bars, breweries, comedy clubs, a movie theater, music venues, all surrounding, this is a nice oasis to get off the streets and relax for a little while. Also, don't tell them you heard it hear, but they have some of the cleanest bathrooms in Ybor (which isn't saying much). They do also host parties and have an isolated party room. Reservations are done online.

Kids at the arcade, 2017

What is your favorite game to play at GameTime? Do you not care for the burgers (spoiler alert: You're wrong!)? Leave a comment below. If you'd like more information on Tampa, check out my YouTube Channel and if you'd like to support my efforts, don't hesitate to buy a shirt from our Spreadshirt. Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. Thank you all and I will see you next time!

UPDATE

GameTime has provided me with some pictures of their remodel from GameWorks into GameTime. Imaged below are courtesy of GameTime. Here are those pictures for those of you who are interested:











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