© St. Petersburg Times, published January 31, 2002
The Super Bowl may not be in our back yard this year, but local sports bars and restaurants are still likely to be packed with hard-core fans and those who catch just this one game each year.
Here are a few places where you can expect football frivolity:
Barnacles, 926 Providence Road, Brandon: TVs always star here. They serve as moldings along the ceiling and as paneling along the walls. (813) 653-0595.
Bilmar Station, 13150 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa: This is the home of the Tampadelphia Eagles Fan Club, whose members might not be as raucous as they would have been in an Eagles-Rams matchup, but it's a good bet the place will still be rockin'. (813) 961-2337.
Damon's, 7700 Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa: Damon's tends to draw a more subdued crowd because it's more restaurant than bar, but still a fine football hangout. (813) 281-0566.
The Press Box, 222 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa: One of Tampa's best-known sports bars is always a fan favorite with lots of big-screen TVs and space to seat a whole lot of people. The Box tends to be one of the more raucous hangouts. (813) 876-3528.
Sports Shak, 3814 W Neptune, Tampa: TVs are in your line of sight no matter where you sit. If sitting at a table bothers you, there's always a pair of couches in front of a big screen in the middle of the bar. Super Bowl Sunday you can expect a packed house (probably more pro-Rams than pro-Pats). (813) 258-4200.
Ale House and Raw Bar, 32919 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor: Like the Ale Houses in St. Petersburg and Tampa, this restaurant and bar has TVs that can be seen from every angle. Whether it's at a booth, table or at the raw bar, the game will be in your face. (727) 789-1600.
Boomerz, 6990 Seminole Blvd., Seminole: It's a sports bar on one side, a nightclub on the flip side. Three bars keep the libations flowing, including a full bar on the balcony. The sports bar side has all the staples: pool tables, dart boards and lots of TVs. (727) 391-7066.
Hooters, 2800 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater: Any of the chain's locations will likely be full of football fans, but this one is the birthplace of the business that made wings and beer served by women in short shorts and tight T-shirts a restaurant type all its own. (727) 797-4008.
WingHouse Bar and Grill, 7369 Ulmerton Road, Largo: One of several restaurant/bars owned by former Gator and Cowboy Crawford Ker, it offers plenty of places to watch the big game with a pitcher and wings. (727) 530-9799.
Bleachers Sports Bar, 10478 Roosevelt Blvd., St. Petersburg: If you're fortunate enough to grab one of the booths, you'll have a private television, but those will be gone early. There also are three big-screen TVs in the main room as well as one in the bleacher room, where a set of bleachers faces the TV. (727) 576-2216.
Dan Marino's Town Tavern, 121 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg: The flat-screen TVs are on ESPN and there are framed No. 13 jerseys all around. This see-and-be-seen restaurant and bar whips up a blend of artsy refinement and football greatness. (727) 822-4472.
Extra Inning Ballpark Cafe, 1850 Central Ave., St. Petersburg: This converted theater is one of the biggest sports bars around, with a capacity of about 1,000. Lots of TVs, including big screens visible from the ground floor to the balcony. (727) 896-9872.
Ferg's Sports Bar and Grill, 1320 Central Ave., St. Petersburg: This sports bar has grown and grown, now holding about 1,200 people. TVs are located throughout, allowing for viewing from just about everywhere. But if you're thinking of getting too rowdy, the St. Petersburg Police Department is across the street. (727) 822-4562.
Gators Cafe & Saloon, 12754 Kingfish Drive, Treasure Island: One of the dining rooms is carpeted to look like a football field. Enough said. Always a party zone, especially on big game days. (727) 367-8951.
Beef O'Brady's, 1474 Pinehurst Drive, Spring Hill: Hernando County's branch of the big chain sports bar offers fans the best concentration of televisions. Large screens are positioned at each end of the bar with many smaller sets hanging from the ceiling. (352) 666-1831.
Coach's Pub and Eatery, 114 W Main St., Inverness: This might be Citrus County's most authentic sports bar with walls covered with pennants and memorabilia from college and professional teams from across the nation. Plenty of televisions, even if the viewing angles aren't always perfect. (352) 344-3333.
Hot Shotz Sports Bar and Grill, 7715 W Gulf to Lake Highway, Crystal River: Located inside Manatee Lanes, this is one of the more popular sports bars in western Citrus County and usually offers food and drink specials and prizes on big-game days. (352) 795-4546.
The Stadium, 2349 Seven Springs Blvd., New Port Richey: A favorite place to eat and imbibe, especially for fans of the Giants, Browns, Packers and Bucs. (727) 372-8168.
Winners Sports Bar and Grill, 5429 Village Market, Wesley Chapel: Like any good sports bar, this place has its share of television sets, though only one big screen. The menu makes up for it, with enough selections to keep you occupied during commercials and timeouts. (727) 973-7474.