As someone who has flirted with the idea of success for many years, it's nice to see people who appear to be actively enjoying it. At least, that's the vibe I get when I visit many of the bars and nightclubs in Tampa's SoHo neighborhood, where well-dressed young professionals apparently go to drink.
Or maybe it's just that they live in the neighborhood and are simply frequenting their local watering holes. I don't have a local, per se, but Platt Street Borough perfectly fits the image of what I imagine a well-to-do neighborhood bar looks like.
By that, I mean that Platt Street Borough isn't much of a gimmick bar. Its predecessors - The Rack and The Hyde Out (darn, I really liked the Hyde Out) - offered a little bit of everything, maybe to the point that their focus wasn't strong enough. Platt Street Borough, by contrast, offers a relatively straightforward mix of amenities. Its strength is the cool, comfortable feel of a bar you go to after work, or for dinner before a night out. Nothing fancy needed.
The interior of Platt Street Borough is roomy, at least in terms of sheer square footage. However, its long floorplan makes for tighter quarters. The solution? A clever separation between areas that splits the various interior spaces into their own "rooms."
Coming in from the rear entrance, there's a granite-topped, L-shaped bar beneath large decorative fixtures hanging from wooden beams. Opposite that is a small dining area loosely divided by hanging ropes. It overlooks a wraparound patio through large picture windows. The word "bocce" is painted on the wall, explained by the presence of a turfed bocce court outside.
To the right, there's a private dining room beyond sliding barn doors. On the opposite end, a second bar - this one indoor-outdoor with roll-up shutters - looking out to Hyde Park Cafe across the street. The row of flat screens above the bar fulfill the sports quota, while the adjacent sofa-and-coffee table lounge takes care of the "just hanging out" part of the setup.
If there's any hint of gimmick (aside from the bocce), it's the small game room beyond the lounge area. This one has darts, Skee-Ball and Golden Tee, with more comfy, mismatched lounge chairs arranged in a circle.
When I visited, the music was laid-back hip-hop, played at just the right volume. because of the casual interior design, Platt Street Borough feels unforced - just a cool neighborhood drinking spot for folks who happen to live in a cool neighborhood.
Speaking of drinking, I enjoyed a couple of the cocktails, which are generally high-end takes on reliable formulas. For example, a Boulevardier is transformed into a Borough-Vardier through the inclusion of Eagle Rare 10 and plum bitters. As the name suggests, this is Platt Street Borough's signature drink, and I'm fully on board.
The Rough Rider - not to be confused with the rum cocktail of the same name - takes a classic Rob Roy made with premium spirits (Monkey Shoulder and Carpano Antica) and juices it up with some Luxardo maraschino liqueur and orange, resulting in a layered smoky-sweet-floral drink. The Easy Blonde, meanwhile, starts with the classic St. George gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur combo and fills the balance with 3 Daughters Beach Blonde Ale, for a light and refreshing sipper.
Platt Street Borough is not my neighborhood bar, but if I were a SoHo-ite, it very well could be.
- Contact Justin Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @WordsWithJG.