Da'Shrine: An African Caribbean Restaurant

  T he building has been sitting for a while. Lets explore what finally took over.  Da'Shrine, 2023 L et me start this one off by stating that I am in no means an expert on Africa, their cuisine, or their culture. Da'Shrine claims to be a mixture of African and Caribbean cuisine. They are sporting a restaurant with a rooftop bar. If you had been to The Refinery prior to coming here, you'll know how the rooftop bar was set up. Unfortunately, the bar wasn't open when we went due to some maintenance that needed to be done before they could open. They did manage to use the space well, though, given how small the building actually is. They also have music playing from the TV, which is fine, but you can't hear the bartender over the bass. But that's not why you're here. Old Fashioned, 2023 T he bar is a square bar sitting against the back wall when you walk in. They have a decent selection with six beer taps as well. The bartender was telling us about some unique

The Attic: Downtown Tampa's Upstairs Cafe

Downtown Tampa is growing. There are some cool new additions!

The Attic, 2018

There are some businesses that are simply hard to find information on. The Attic is one of them. I had heard about the Fly Bar a while back and had been to The Refinery at their old location and loved the idea of an upstairs bar overlooking the city. I just found that the second story was never high enough. So, I got on the Google and looked up rooftop bars in Tampa. There weren't many. The Attic was one of them. I could never find time to go. That was until I hit up a good friend of mine, Walter Smith, told me that he's going to try to meet me up over there between his events. Long story short, he wasn't able to make it. Stormy and I, on the other hand, decided that this was the day we were going to make our long awaited trip. Unfortunately, it was very rainy, and parking Downtown kind of sucks. Side note here: The parking lot directly west of The Attic tells you you pay by the space number. What they actually mean (and don't say until you get to the machine to pay) is that you need your license plate number. This is fun to figure out when you're standing in the pouring rain. It also costs $9 to park for up to four hours. Long story short, on principle, park on the road. It cost me 50 cents with free parking after 6pm. But that's not why you came here.

 Seating, 2018

The cafe is both small, yet much bigger than I expected it to be. It has this very weird L shape to it. The seating is actually quite sparse, with a lot of standing room. The bar had a handful of chairs, there was a single couch (that I saw), a few high tops, and a few tables. There were also about four tables outside. Let me also state that the outside area is much smaller than one would expect and the door to get to the patio makes even less sense. There's a table right next to the one door that leads to the patio, and if someone were to be using it, getting outside would be a much harder endeavor. Once outside, you do get an amazing view of city hall and the western side of Downtown. The Attic is situated on the fourth floor of an old, historic building of Downtown Tampa. The artwork is limited, but provides some entertainment to look at while trying to figure out who's who on the paintings. And while the balcony provides nice views of Downtown, some of the indoor seating does not. But lets talk about why we're really here!

Chicken & Waffles, 2018

So, Stormy settled on the chicken & waffles and seemingly really enjoyed it based on the speed in which she ate it. There was chicken, cheese, bacon, and waffles. I did see some reviews that stated that the waffles were frozen and from a box, but I can vouch that this is no longer the case. They have a waffle maker right next to their flat top. They do offer up a spicy syrup, which Stormy decided against. Her biggest complaint with this meal was that her bottom waffle got soggy as she was eating it. She was also pleasantly surprised to see that they added bacon to the sandwich. She was a bit thrown off that they made a sandwich out of this meal (I'm not sure how else they'd serve it as I've never ordered it). Though I did not eat it, the chicken looked perfect. I just wish it hadn't come out of the microwave. To be fair, they didn't try to hide that fact (the microwave was also next to the flat top).

Cuban Sandwich, 2018

Please be good, please be good, please be good... I was worried ordering this. I was even more worried ordering this and seeing the chicken for Stormy's dish going in the microwave. I was feeling sick when I saw the sandwich already premade, pork and all. I almost left when I saw how they heated it (which I couldn't put into words if I wanted to). It was cut, then the long walk started as it came to me. On the bright side, they didn't forget the salami. The plate hit the counter, I looked the waitress in the eyes, she smiled, I picked up the sandwich, it touched my lips, I bit down... And there was no reason to worry. This Cuban is delicious. It's not hard to find a bad Cuban. It is very difficult to find a good one. The bread was nice and crunchy, the pickle wasn't overwhelming, the pork added just the right touch. There wasn't too much or too little. The ham and mustard really added to the sandwich, which is a good thing as that's what you'll be getting the most of. The salami was subtle, but it was there with that little sting of flavor to remind you. The biggest disappointment I had was with the fries, which were frozen. I found them to be soggy, there were a few that were still cold, and they were, for the most part, flavorless. Even a generous coating of ketchup couldn't save it. 

Pastries, 2018

The way to a fat man's heart is through dessert. After our meals, I splurged and got myself a cheese danish, and I'm assuming the other was cherry though the waitress couldn't tell me what flavor it was either. Stormy was done eating, so that left me to enjoy these on my own. I did end up taking the cheese home to eat the next day. I will say that these are very rich. The bread used is very filling, and it's very hard to finish one of these unless you're still hungry after eating. I was just looking for a nice compliment to my meal. This would be the perfect breakfast if you're in a hurry. If you're like me, you'll eat the breaded part first and save the fruit until the end. That is not a good move with these as the bread helps tame the flavor of the middle filling. My suggestion is to buy one after your meal and split it. 

Jai Alai, 2018

Things to know before you go:
- This is Downtown. There is no parking. You'll have to park on the street, in a garage, or on a lot. Some are more expensive than others.
- While Downtown is becoming a more happening place, not everything is open late. The Attic is only open until 7pm during their later running nights.
- They support local. Their beers, whatever isn't owned by InBev, is local. They use Buddy Brew for their coffee needs. I'm pretty sure their pastries are from another local business. Long story short: You'll be getting the best of Tampa when you come here.
- You can get some amazing views of Tampa from here, or you can sit further inside and keep that small, intimate feeling. The choice is yours. 

Do you enjoy going to rooftop bars? Do you eat the bready part of your pastries first? 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!