Whiskey Park on Dale Mabry: Where Tampa meets Aspen.
The atmosphere makes you feel like you are up in the mountains, relaxing at a ski lounge after a long day on the slopes — the only difference is that you’re in Florida wearing a short-sleeved shirt.
“Although Club Joy was very successful, we wanted to bring something unique and dynamic to North Tampa,” said Peter Hannouche, one of Whiskey Park’s owners. Club Joy was closed down and renovated from its South Beach decor to a late-night lounge with the ambiance of a fashionable lodge in Aspen. “We chose Whiskey Park because we had proven winners with Hyde Park Cafe and Whiskey Park in Hyde Park Village,” Hannouche said.
At the entrance, you are presented with the option of sitting outside at either of two bars. On cold nights you can turn on one of the heating lamps conveniently located by the tables.
Inside the club, you feel as though you have stepped into a huge exclusive lodge. The first floor offers a multitude of entertainment options, including five pool tables and 20 widescreen televisions, so you won’t miss out on your favorite sport or show. At night, the dance floor is usually packed with an upscale crowd of 21 and up. The decorative fireplace nearby contributes to the ambiance of an after-ski lounge.
The second floor is a bit more calm, but still features dartboards and an additional three bars where you can take a break while looking down at the crowd dancing below.
The type of crowd varies depending on what night it is. “Sunday night is college night, when we have a countdown,” Barnhart said. “If a sorority or fraternity presents themselves to us, we tally which group of people brought the most. The group with the most people wins a VIP party the following weekend, complete with their own reserved area, complimentary cocktail, a shot for each member and complimentary appetizers.”
Mondays are hospitality night, where people in the foodservice or liquor industries get half-off drinks and appetizers, Barnhart said. Tuesdays are karaoke night and Wednesdays are ladies’ night. In addition, happy hour is from 5 to 8 every evening, so you can come in and enjoy a drink after school or work.
However, USF student Jennifer Pagliuca and friend Andrew Guerard went there for a different reason.
“Whiskey Park is the only bar in the area other than going to Ybor or Channelside,” she said. Pagliuca lives nearby and usually goes on Saturdays. Guerard lives in St. Petersburg, so location wasn’t what brought him to Whiskey Park. “This bar makes me feel that I’m back home in upstate New York,” Guerard said. “The reason I’m here tonight is because of her,” he said, laughing and pointing at Pagliuca.
In order to get into Whiskey Park, you must be 21 years or older every night with the exception of Sundays, when ladies can be 18. The dress code is identical to that of the Hyde Park location. “No flip-flops, baggy jeans, jerseys or caps,” Barnhart said. A variety of music ranging from pop to R&B is played, and the bar offers valet parking, making it unnecessary to find a parking spot.