Moonlighting: Gino's Restaurant & Bar
Gino's Restaurant & Bar, 10006 N. Armenia Ave., Tampa; 813-933-1089 The venue: Old-school Italian restaurant meets local neighborhood watering hole — sans the drunks. Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday; closed Sundays The allure: Cozy atmosphere and hearty portions along with a fine selection of reasonably priced beer and wine.Possible grievances: You may get bumped a few times as the hustling servers and fellow customers maneuver around. Last call: Blink and you could go right by it — and the regulars hope you do. They want to keep their small piece of heaven a secret, the reason being this joint can barely squeeze in a hundred patrons. With its restaurant and chill bar combo, it's the perfect spot for happy hour, dinner, and after-dinner nightcaps. Plus you can keep up with the local Tampa Bay sports teams on the handful of small flat-screen television sets. Although it is tight quarters, you'll never have to talk over the neighboring table. Patrons of this joint understand the term "inside voices." So if you're looking for a "scene" and a place to get rowdy, don't make the effort to find this Forest Hills nook. But if sharing quality drinks and grub with friends and family is your only motivation, stop in and park yourself at one of the table-tops.
Freelance writer Joe Belcastro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.