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

Gasparilla Guide 2023: Everything You Need To Know

 It'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 to park there. Follow the link for more details. 
  • When is it?
    • The Children's parade is Jan 21, 2023 starting at noon and running until 7:30 pm ET.
    • The Day Parade (aka: The main Gasparilla parade) will be on Jan 28, 2023 from 2:00pm until 6:00 pm ET. This is just the time that the parade officially stops and ends, but there will very likely be people out and about partying well before the parade starts.
    • The Sant'Yago Knight parade is on Feb 11, 2023 starting at 7:00 pm ET. Again, the party usually starts earlier and it wont be unusual to see people dressed up and wandering the streets of Tampa during the months of January and February. 
    • These three parades make up "Gasparilla season." That said, there will be many other events using the name. 
  • Who is invited?
    • This is a free event and everyone is invited out. I would say that the Day and Knight parades tend to get a little rowdier. Bring your children at your own discretion. 
  • Why is this a thing?
    • Long story short: Tampa's population was incredibly small when a town drunk starting telling the fantastical tale of one Jose Gaspar. The City of Tampa said, "Hey, we can market this!" and next thing you know, we have our own Mardi Gras, complete with pirates. 

Knight Parade, 2019

There are a few things to know before you go. Yes, the streets will be wet zoned for the event. What this means is that you will be able to walk along the parade route while drinking alcohol. You are able to bring your own alcohol. The city has stated that you are not allowed to bring coolers, wagons, chairs, etc, however, I have never had a problem bringing any of these things. Do know that this is my anecdotal story and not a legal one. 

Also, I'm sure y'all are aware that Street Preachers aren't your friends, but they are out in full force during Gasparilla. To those who aren't aware: Street preachers are individuals with no moral compass, who stand outside and say the most offensive things imaginable hoping to get hit. They film everything. Once you hit them, they have worked out a deal with the police (money talks) that will get you arrested and then it will go to court. The best thing anybody could do is get really tall wooden fencing and stand around them so that they (and their moronic signs) can't be seen. The second best thing anyone can do is ignore them and keep walking. Do. Not. Engage. It's a game to them and they don't actually care.

There will be a lot of drunk people out and about and they will do a lot of drunk people things. Yes, people do take their clothes off. Yes, people do puke on the streets. Yes, people do get creative with their selection of bathrooms. If you can't handle these things, this is not the event for you. 

Drink water. Wear sunscreen. Be prepared for it to be chilly. There is a lot of alcohol around. Do not go out dehydrated. This is still Florida. The sun is still out. It can and will get you if you let it. It's also January in Tampa, which is when Tampa tends to get a little colder than usual. 

If you're looking to go out in style, you absolutely have to check out Pirate Fashions. I'd advise stopping in their store to purchase as their sizing is a little wonky. The closer it gets to Gasparilla, the busier this place will get, and the less product they will have. Prepare early. 

Knight Parade, 2019

Jose Gaspar is the fictional pirate in which the event is names after. "But Mark, why are we celebrating a fictional pirate?" Simple answer: Tourism. And it works! Hundreds of thousands of people come down to Tampa every year for the Gasparilla festivities and this year will be no different. Gaspar was said to be the last of the Buccaneers, of which our football team got their name. According to the story, Jose Gaspar sailed along the west coast of Florida during the late 18th, early 19th centuries. Gaspar was an officer in the Spanish Navy and didn't look like your typical pirate, allowing him to mingle with higher members of society. After his death, it was said that he buried a treasure along the coast of Florida that, to this day, has never been found. Happy hunting!

What is your favorite Gasparilla parade? How many beads did you catch last year? 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. 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!