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If you are looking for a classy bar with a brilliant ambience, you have to experience CW's Gin Joint in downtown Tampa. Not only is it a classy bar, but they have excellent handcrafted cocktails, amazing food and a wonderful staff.
I’ve been to this bar a few times now and every time I visit, I’m always impressed with this place. As you make your way towards the entrance, there’s always someone there to open the door for you. You’d think that this place is super pretentious because everything inside looks so luxurious but every single staff member I’ve met here have been very friendly and helpful. The bartenders actually get excited explaining the various cocktails they offer and one of them in particular even made me a couple of cocktails that were not on the menu. He loves to make his own creations and he even enters bar competitions.
CW actually stands for Carolyn Wilson, who is the owner and designer of the bar. She did an outstanding job with the interior with its fantastic speakeasy vibe. It almost feels like you’re in New York City but better because there is plenty of room at the bar and the dining area. With that being said, you should definitely make a reservation on the weekends if you would like to dine here. It’s become a popular place in Tampa so tables get filled quickly. I haven’t had a problem finding a seat on the weekdays.
Some of the cocktails I’ve tried were the Clover Club, Grocery Getter, and White Lady. The Clover Club is one of my favorites with Edinburgh gin, raspberry syrup, lemon, and egg white. I’m not usually a gin drinker but this drink is amazing. Gin is usually very distinct in cocktails but you barely taste it in this drink. It’s a delightful, light cocktail. The White Lady cocktail also has gin, but again, I barely tasted the gin and it was a smooth drink. I think I’m a new fan of gin.
While you sip on your cocktails and engage in conversations with your friends or the bartender, you can also listen to live jazz music. I’m not sure how often they have live music, but there has been a live jazz band every time I have visited. I usually don’t like to take friends where there is live music because it is very difficult to have conversations with them but the volume of their music is perfect. Just loud enough to hear but quiet enough to chat with your friends. The tunes are lovely as well.
Not only are their cocktails fabulous but their entrees are delicious as well. I have tried their Olive Bar appetizer, the Grilled Cheese sandwich, and the Risotto with black rice, wild boar sausage, and oyster mushroom. My friend actually ordered the Risotto but I practically ate half of it because it was so tasty. On top of their exquisite dishes, most of their entrees are gluten-free or vegan. The only thing I was disappointed with was my dessert, which was the Bananas Foster. They prepare the dessert for you by your table and that’s a neat experience but it was a little too dry for me. I have heard from my friends that they loved the dessert here, so I’ll have to try a different one on my next visit. Other than that, everything else was splendid!