Sports bars usually follow a simple formula: provide food and drink, add a bunch of TVs, throw in video games and some music and you might pack ‘em in for the big games.
But at Hot Ticket Pub and Venue on US 19 near McCormick Drive, they are turning the standard sports bar recipe on its ear.
Let's start with the menu.
In addition to the usual bar fare – burgers, salads and sandwiches – Hot Ticket offers a number of tasty alternatives.
“One of our themes is to offer meals and drinks that are found in various parts of the country,” manager Steve Barker said. “We serve traditional American classics."
Hence Philly cheesesteaks served on authentic Amoroso rolls, pork tenderloin sandwiches that taste straight out of the Midwest, and the gold standard of sports bars, traditional Buffalo wings.
“We had a chef come in before we opened and carefully craft the menu,” owner Casey Loveall said. “We put a lot of time and thought into it.”
The beer selection is all over the map also. With 20 varieties avalaible on tap including offerings from Virginia, Oregon, Germany as well as local breweries. Few sports bars have Hofbrau right next to Golden Monkey ale.
Theme nights are another sports bar staple, and again Hot Ticket has an eclectic mix of standard selections and offbeat options.
Karaoke Fridays, Tuesday Ladies Nights and live music Saturdays can be found elsewhere, but Bike Night on Thursdays and open Mic Night on Tuesdays are out-of-the-ordinary alternatives here.
The “greatest happy hour in town," offers half price appetizers and 2-for-1 drafts. There even are family XBOX Challenges Saturday and Sunday mornings.
But perhaps the greatest aspect to Hot Ticket is the concept behind the origin of its name.
Every month they raffle off tickets to the hottest shows in town. Enter in-person or online, and a winner is selected to attend a sporting event or concert in the Tampa Bay area.
Past giveaways include two front row seats to the Def Leppard/Heart concert and four front row seats to a Rays game. This month its Vans Warped Tour tickets and more from the Rays.
“We want people to know that if they want free tickets to the hottest shows in town, they’ve gotta come to the Hot Ticket,” Loveall said.
25000 US Highway 19 N
Hours: from 4 p.m. to midnight Monday to Thursday; from 11:30 to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday.
Call: (727) 466-1755