© St. Petersburg Times, published April 10, 2003
Playoff fever is sure to spill over into the local sports bars as the Lightning makes its first appearance in the postseason since 1996. Here are a few places in the Tampa Bay area where you can enjoy the game with fellow hockey fans.
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 bar is home to Philadelphia fans, so expect some Flyers jerseys when the playoffs crank up. Still, it should be a good, if not rowdy, hockey crowd. (813) 961-2337.
Bobalouies, 1913 East Bearss Ave., Tampa: Packed with 24 televisions, including five big screen sets, this is a good sports hangout for those in north Tampa. There will be a view of the game from just about anywhere in the restaurant. (813) 971-1243.
Damon's, 7700 Courtney Campbell Parkway, Tampa: Televisions fill one wall inside this sports bar, which is part of the Sheraton Hotel. The crowds aren't as raucous, so if you're looking for a relaxed place to watch the playoffs, this is a safe bet. (813) 281-0566.
The Press Box, 222 S Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa: One of Tampa's best-known sports bars always is 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 always is a pair of couches in front of a big screen in the middle of the bar. (813) 258-4200.
The Outpost, 412 S Morgan St., Tampa: You could step outside of this rowdy hangout and throw a hockey puck at the St. Pete Times Forum. If you don't have a ticket for a home game but still want to experience the atmosphere, this is the place. There are 27 TVs and inside and outside dining. (813) 228-8118.
Beef O'Brady's, 490 Channelside Drive, Tampa: Also within spitting distance of the Forum, Beef O'Brady's is a can't miss with televisions located throughout. Normal sports fare such as chicken wings and beer are plentiful. (813) 229-7700.
Newk's, 514 Channelside Drive, Tampa: The original bar across from the Times Forum, Newk's offers inside and outside dining. There will be a view of the games both inside and outside. On big game nights, it tends to get crowded, so coming early for a good seat is a good idea. (813) 307-6395.
Hattricks, 107 S. Franklin St., Tampa: A hockey themed bar that will surely put you in the playoff mood. Hockey jerseys and pennants line the wall. Hattricks features a 10-foot big screen television, two big screen TVs and six 36-inch TVs. (813) 225-4288.
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 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 of 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 likely will be full of hockey 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: All right, so this is one of several restaurant/bars owned by former Florida Gator and Dallas Cowboy Crawford Ker. But it still will house hockey fans at this time of year. 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: Not your typical sports bar, Marino's is a little more upscale. Located at BayWalk, it has flat-screen TVs and comfortable booths. And even though its owner is a former football player, it's still a good place to watch the games. (727) 822-4472.
Extra Innings 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 with a capacity of about 1,200. Fifty-two 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.
Beef O'Brady's, 7285 Forest Blvd., 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. Provides the essentials in a sports environment. (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. (813) 973-7474.
-- Compiled by Wilma Norton and Rodney Page.