Downtown Tampa welcomes three new places to dine and drink

TAMPA - Downtown Tampa has had a long standing reputation for shutting down after 5:00 p.m., but that's beginning to change.

Downtown's dining and entertainment expansion trend continued Wednesday.  Mayor Bob Buckhorn cut ribbons to three new businesses to eat and drink at.

"This is one more day in the life of downtown," Mayor Buckhorn said.

Those three new businesses setting up shop are PaddyWagon Irish Pub, Anise Global Gastrobar, and the soon open Crumb and Cork.

"There is a cool factor about downtown, there's and energy and a pulse in downtown that hasn't existed for decades," Mayor Buckhorn said.

PaddyWagon Irish Pub began pouring drinks back in May.  It's located at the bottom of the Element on the corner of Cass and Tampa Streets.

"You can walk to the Straz. You can walk to the convention center. It's prime location," General Manager Jessica Stanley told us while preparing the pub to open for the day.

A few blocks away from PaddyWagon's is Crumb and Cork. When it opens in a few weeks, it will offer wine and jazz music to people visiting and living downtown.

"We're really creating a culture of downtown after dark that hasn't really been part of our fabric for the last 30 years," Co-Owner Joshua Pillock said.

Back in 2003, around 600 resided in downtown Tampa.  Today, over 12,000 people call downtown home. That jump in the number of people living downtown is the reason Mayor Buckhorn believes businesses are taking a new interest in the area.

"Residential comes first, retail always follows. You've got to put the heads in the beds," Mayor Buckhorn said.

The mayor may be right.  Pillock's decision to open up shop here became a no-brainer.

"With the arrival of downtown residents such as Skypoint, Element and some other projects that we currently see, I think that this is a great time for anyone considering doing business within downtown," Pillock said.

New businesses that have already opened their doors believe they've made the right decision. 

"Business has been amazing. We hit the ground running from day one," Stanley said.

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