A classic cocktail oasis

The short, winding pathway led to a nondescript wooden door. I gave a quick rap on the door with my knuckles. Moments later, the door’s peephole opens up and a voice from the other side asks for the password. I speak a pre-arranged phrase, the wooden door opens and my Wife and I are transported 80 years into the past.

We are ushered into the dimly lit space, past sheer curtained private booths and high top tables. We take our place at the bar while our booth is made ready.

The bar is called Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club and it is located in the Hyde Park section of Tampa, FL. It’s modeled after the speakeasies of Prohibition, right down to the period dress of the bartenders and wait staff.

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One look at their extensive cocktail menu and I knew I was in for a treat! There before me were the classic cocktails of yesterday, some modern takes on classics and a few concoctions from Ciro’s own staff.

I started off with an Aviation while my Wife ordered one of the most beautifully presented Mojito’s I have ever seen. My cocktail was excellent; a refreshing, lively mix of gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, and lemon juice.

Shortly after we received our drinks, we were escorted to our booth. The back of the speakeasy has several private booths of various sizes that are separated by a sheer fabric. Inside the booth is a semi circular couch and a few small tables. On top of the tables is a very cool back lit food menu and another copy of their cocktail book.

We sat down to enjoy our first round of drinks and listened to the 1920’s stylized music playing in the background. We then selected a few of the small plates that Ciro’s offers, to share. I also ordered a Sazerac as I have always wanted to try that drink. The Sazerac is a classic from New Orleans combining Rye, Peychaud’s Bitters, Absinthe and simple syrup. I found this to be a nicely balanced cocktail with a good anise kick from the Absinthe.

Towards the end of the evening, we chose a chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and I selected a Vieux Carre as my nightcap. Another New Orleans cocktail, the Vieux Carre is made with Brandy, Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine and just a dash of Peychaud’s and Angostura Bitters. The cocktail paired very well with the fruit and melted chocolate.

My Wife and I were celebrating our 21st Anniversary and I wanted to do something fun and out of the ordinary. Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club certainly fit that bill and we both had a great time. I would go there again just for the cocktails alone. I’m looking forward to future visits as there are still a great many drinks I want to try!

Have you had an experience with a similar type of bar? What do you think about the revival of Prohibition style establishments? Let me know in the comments!

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