Please excuse me as I press the fast forward button here for a second.
(Roasted veggie from a kiosk in the airport. Surprisingly tasty.)
There we go. Now let’s get to the good stuff.
Our plane landed at 3:00pm, which gave us exactly 3 hours to get to our car (thanks for the lift Courtney!), pick Maddie up, do some quick work, change, and head back across town for the Yelp Elite event at 6:00pm.
I knew I was crazy when I RSVPed for an event on the same day as our return flight from Baltimore, but when the invitation came through I couldn’t resist! Yelp made it pretty clear with the wow-factor at their last Elite event that these were events you don’t want to miss! Plus, it was a pretty cool location that I knew Derek would enjoy at well.
The cool location? Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club in South Tampa. It’s a place I’ve heard bits and pieces about (all good stuff!), but it’s also one of those places I think you just need to experience for yourself. They take the “speakeasy” stuff very seriously and thrive off of word-of-mouth advertising (though, I’m told it’s impossible to get in without a reservation), secret rooms, and passwords. Everything about the place is very hush-hush, including the location.
Thank goodness there was a crowd of Yelp Elites standing out front, otherwise I would have driven right on by. There were no signs out front indicating a bar or place for dinner. Just a non-descript apartment building with a non-descript parking lot. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
Luckily when I saw my pal Caroline out front, I knew I was in the right place. She was an honorary Elite member tonight as she awaits her official status change on the 20th.
The entrance to Ciro’s was guarded by a bouncer who only let a handful of Yelpers to the door at a time.
We were told we had to read the “rules” before we were allowed to enter. I wish I had a better photo, they had some good ones.
I failed miserably at one of the tops ones – “have patience” – as I practically ran to the door when the bouncer finally let us through!
Each group had to knock at the door and provide a password to get in (they generally five you a password when you make your reservation). It was fun and definitely added to the whole experience.
Inside the bar was small and intimate. It carried through the prohibition – 1920′s vibe with no windows and low light. Stepping inside, you felt like you were transported back in time.
Forgive my photos, the light was very dim, but you can see the private, intimate booths that lined the corridor.
I want to come back and sit in one of these. It would make a great date spot.
The place was packed, but Derek and I managed to find a spot in the back room.
We were each handed drink menus and asked to order what ever we liked.
Ciro’s is known for their incredible drinks, so having free reign over the drink menu was amazing.
Unfortunately, that may have been this event’s downside as well. The two bartenders were overwhelmed with our group’s large size and couldn’t handle the multiple orders at once. We waited over an hour for drinks and were growing a bit anxious in anticipation of them. Luckily, the Ciro’s team was amazing and after we were served our first round, they limited the options to just a handful for the next. Free reign of the menu was great in theory, but with a large event it’s best to just have a few options and to just keep crankin’ them out.
My original drink order (a margarita) got lost in the shuffle and I ended up with on of the new ‘limited option’ drinks: a Bramble.
This ended up being a blessing in disguise because I would never have ordered the drink otherwise, but I ended up loving it. The fresh blackberries were what really made it, they were muddled on the bottom and the fresh juice seeped through the entire concoction. It was so refreshing and went down just like juice!
I’m not a huge liquor/fruity cocktail fan, but I would order this one again in a heartbeat.
Derek had Sazerac, which, as he put it, was basically flavored straight liquor.
He enjoyed his ‘manly’ drink.
Oh, and I can’t forget the food! While we drank, appetizers were passed.
We had a little sample of everything with bites that ranged from spicy sliders on pretzel buns to caramel cherry bread pudding.
Have you ever had edamame pot stickers? That was a first for me.
My only complaint with the food (everything was delicious!) was that we weren’t served any of the dishes that Ciro’s is known for like their chicken and waffles or duck fries (though, I was excited to try the truffle popcorn!). I guess that just means Derek and I will have to return on a date night sometime or when we have friends in town that are up for a little adventure.
Ciro’s really pulled me in with their delicious drinks and speakeasy atmosphere. I really do want to return in a non-event setting and experience it all in it’s full glory. I just need to find a free weekend to do it.
Thanks again, to Yelp Tampa Bay for hosting another awesome Elite event.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s almost midnight and I have a 6:30am swim practice in the morning. Oye!