Welcome to The Short List. Each week we'll pick a topic and share our favorite — or, in some cases, maybe our least favorite — things about the Bay area.
With baseball season heating up, it's time to start getting excited about the Rays — and not just by tuning in to their games on TV. If you're one of the many who dreads the drive across the water to see a live game, perhaps you'll be enticed by the thought that downtown St. Petersburg actually has a burgeoning nightlife. So while you're getting your tickets, check out these places that would complete your trip before or after the game.
Ferg's, 1320 Central Ave.: It's the go-to place for all Rays fans, before or after the game, but don't expect a quiet place to have some quiet conversation — unless you sneak away to one of the outside tables. Think of this as the ultimate tailgate experience.
Emerald Bar, 550 Central Ave.: This kicked-back Irish pub has a relaxed feel that give it a dive-bar vibe. Go on the right night and you'll catch some great music from a local indie band — sounds range from blues, classic rock and alternative.
The Independent, 29 Third St. N.: Here's the place to tempt your beer palate if that Bud or Coors Light didn't cut it at the Trop. New offerings are on tap regularly, and the atmosphere is upscale yet very comfortable. Belly up to the long communal table and make some new friends.
The Ale and The Witch, 111 Second Ave. NE: Another must-stop for anyone looking for a great craft beer. Only American-made brews are featured, but with more than 30 taps, lack of variety is not a problem here.
MacDinton's Jannus Live, 42 First Ave. N.: This Irish pub (with another location on South Howard in Tampa) features live music on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You can also test your musical prowess with karaoke on Thursdays. Your wallet will appreciate the drink specials every day of the week.