Gasparilla Guide 2023: Everything You Need To Know

  I t's that time of year! Gasparilla season. The pirates have taken over.  Me and another pirate, 2017 Another year has come and that means it's time for another season of Gasparilla. Lets get some of the more important questions out of the way real quick: How much does it cost? Nothing. Gasparilla is a free event. They do offer paid upgrades, but the parade itself is free. Where is it? The Children's parade and Day parade are off of Bayshore Ave in South Tampa into the Channel District in Downtown Tampa. The Knight Parade is on 7th Ave in Ybor City. Where do we park? I've found that the easiest place to park is the parking garages in Ybor. They offer parking + a bus into Downtown for a reasonable price (note: This has not been announced for 2023 as of now. This will change as the event draws nearer.).  You can also park on neighborhood streets. You'll get a few individuals who will try to scare you away. Keep in mind that they do not own the road and you are free

The Independent: Halloween Fun, Craft Beer, and Food

What's that? I don't post enough hipster friendly hangouts?

 The Independent, 2017

Years ago, Stormy and I had been introduced to the wonderful world of craft beer. To anyone who has started drinking craft beer, you know the struggle of finding beer that's friendly to a new palate. Established breweries already have their audience of IPA drinkers and heavy stout drinkers, but very few carry something easy drinking for people who aren't as seasoned. Cigar City and Tampa Bay Brewing Company, at the time, seemed to be the only two carrying something lighter on tap (Hotter Than Helles and Wild Warthog). That's when someone had tipped us off to The Independent, which at the time was new to the neighborhood. What did we have to lose? While their tap list itself isn't particularly impressive, the sheer number of bottles and cans that they carry will blow your mind. And they don't just carry the same local beers you can get around town. No, they have an entire cooler full of rarer, much more expensive beer as well. But I'm getting ahead of myself and you didn't come here for that. Lets get to it!

Outdoor Patio, 2017

First, let me apologize for all the Halloween pictures you're about to be exposed to. We went to their Halloween party. The Independent was a popular beer drinking location over in Seminole Heights. From what I've gathered over the years, the husband and wife combo got divorced, and the wife, Veronica, took the company and opened it in the Seminole Heights neighborhood, not far from The Refinery, Red Star Rock Bar, Fodder & Shine, and other Seminole Heights favorites. The concept is probably the strangest in Seminole Heights, which does speak volumes, in that it's a craft beer bar, a sandwich and small dish restaurant, and a cafe. In other words, it truly is a place you can bring the entire family, dogs included. 

The Rob, 2017

The food is one of my favorite parts of The Independent, not because their menu is big, but because they have my absolute favorite sandwich ever. Ever. If anybody were curious, The Rob is quite possibly the closest thing you will ever get to heaven on bread. Yes, even beating out Stone Soup and Angelo's Cuban. The Rob is thinly slice roast beef topped with a generous amount of horseradish sauce on a Kummelweck  bun, served with potato chips and a dill pickle slice. This does not mean that all of their food is at the same quality, as their Havana, a Miami inspired Cuban, is a flop. Ok, Stormy loves it, I just don't understand why restaurants in Tampa try to pass off a fake Cuban. Why would you not put salami on your Cuban... In Tampa? And black forest ham on top of that? And then have the nerve to call it "Traditional." Traditional by what standard? You might as well serve it on wheat! What a slap in the face.

DJ, 2017

Alright, lets forget about the "Cuban" and move on to their beer. The beers on tap are constantly rotating, and I'd say, for the most part, are usually easier drinking beers or sours. The will also get some beers from some local favorites that you might struggle to find elsewhere. As of this writing, they have Butta Cup Double Brown on tap by Funky Buddha. The Independent was also one of the first bars that Stormy and I were able to score a taste of Last Snow, at the time Funky Buddha's rarest seasonal. Altogether, they have 14 taps, and of those 14 taps, only about four of them might scare away a newer craft beer drinker. If I haven't made myself clear on this post, The Independent is the type of place you want to bring someone who is trying to break away from the mainstream beers and wants to experience craft without being overwhelmed by the myriad of IPAs, heavy stouts, and other various beers that take a few months of drinking to build up to. 

 Yes, The Tin Man (tinwoman? Is That A Thing?) Made An Appearance, 2017

Things you should know before you go:
- The biggest thing you should know is that their parking lot is about four cars and the Dollar Tree across the street will tow. They have a dirt parking lot across Florida Ave, but that requires you to cross Florida Ave. Be VERY careful doing that.
- I don't think I've ever seen this place not busy. If you're not in the mood to socialize, this probably isn't the place for you.
- The outdoor patio does allow smoking. Be warned now. 
- The Rob is the best sandwich ever made. Their Cuban, on the other hand...
- Their are beer styles here for every taste. 

Is there a sandwich better than The Rob? Did you find their beer selection satisfying? 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 (we have new designs!). Also, don't be afraid to click subscribe and you'll instantly be notified whenever a new entry is posted. If you'd like to meet other people who love Tampa, consider joining our Facebook Group. Thank you all and I will see you next time!