St. Petersburg Times: Weekend

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Sacks is dark, smoky and elegant

Chidi Ahanotu's new place is upscale by nature. Dress up and be prepared for a wide range of premium drinks, fine food, live jazz and expensive decor.


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 7, 2000

Happy hour at Sacks Seafood Grill & House of Jazz runs nearly all day long -- 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays -- for those in search of a quick drink or a long libation.

Sacks, owned by Buccaneer defensive end Chidi Ahanotu, caters to an upscale crowd with premium drinks that range from about $5 up through champagnes and fine wines to $120 for a shot of vintage cognac. High-end drinkers with the money to order that shot can have it in a well-decorated, private back bar that pays homage to expensive sports memorabilia and even has a humidor locker.

The atmosphere inside the Lincoln Center office park, where Sacks has occupied a corner for the past five months, is dark and smoky, but elegant with touches like two $500,000 marble bathrooms where latrine television screens continuously play sports favorites.

"We have two televisions in the men's room, and none in the ladies'," said Jimmy Brothers, general manager of Sacks. "But there's a phone in the ladies' room for local calls, so they can call their girlfriends and tell them how their date is going."

The all-around effect is that Sacks is a haven for lovers of fine cuisine, jazz and even hip-hop music.

Not everything in Sacks is high-end. The place serves bottled beer and martinis and offers specials that include $1 off well drinks and $1 off bottled beers. Appetizers, including steak bites and calamari, are in the $6 to $12 range.

The full menu includes seafood, Cajun spice and lots of red meat and red wine.

Live jazz can be heard from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays with no cover charge. Saturdays, there is a model night, where local designers show off their outfits with drink specials from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

"We're trying to appeal to the 25- to 40-year-olds with disposable income," Brothers said. "We don't want to have somebody with torn jeans, and we don't want to hang out with the kids."

On the Town

Sacks Seafood Grill & House of Jazz, 5401 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. (813) 287-2257. Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday-Sunday. All major credit cards accepted.


Some other Tampa jazz clubs:

Jackson's Bistro Bar Sushi, 601 S. Harbour Island Blvd. (813) 277-0112.

The Left Bank, (next to Le Bordeaux Restaurant), 1502 S. Howard Ave. (813) 254-6187.

The Fox, 1211 N. West Shore Blvd. (813) 289-8446.

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