Tampa’s Soho district, which for us means South Howard Avenue, is a strip full of the best restaurants, bars and clubs in the Tampa Bay area. In fact, this is a great place to go to browse for a lunch or dinner spot if you’re from out of town taking advantage of Tampa Bay attractions. On the South end of Howard Avenue towards Tampa Bay you’ll find the famous Bern’s Steak House, a great pizza place, Italian restaurant and my personal dinner favorite, Ceviche’s Tapas Bar & Restaurant. On the North end though is the best place in town for you to bring your laptop and your appetite, or just to take a brief respite from your harried travel schedule.
You can think of Infusions Lounge, formerly the Hooker Tea Company of Tampa, as a much cooler, chiller version of a neighborhood Starbucks. You’re greeted with small tables, a sofa, small bar and usually a little Bob Marley or Moby on the sound system and a friendly staff. Let the Tea-ristas help you select just the right blend of tea, or sample one of the phenomenal pastries or quiches of the day. Then do like most of the others around you and pop open your laptop and settle in for a study or work session in comfort. To go along with their new “lounge’ designation, Infusions is now offering beers from Cigar City Brewery, a local Tampa favorite, along with a selection of wine by the glass. As of just this week, their also serving coffee – lookout Starbucks!
Infusions is not a place to rush in and out, it’s a place to relax. The staff is wonderful, friendly and knowledgeable about their teas. Just tell them the kind of drinks you like and they’ll walk you through the dizzying selection to just the right blend of tea, BUT it’s not instant tea, so plan on waiting for 3-5 minutes while it steeps. Also, the food is all made on-site by one of the owners – you’ll always get fresh and tasty, but don’t expect the “15 minute” lunch buzzer to be set on the table. I only mention this because you might expect the Starbucks experience where you walk in and grab something in plastic wrap…not happening here, it’s all real food.
Infusions Lounge is located right on the corner of S. Howard Avenue and Platt St. and only a minute or two off of I-275. Parking is sort of behind the Infusions building, so take that corner slowly and be ready for that left hand turn into the parking lot.
View Larger Map
If you catch the owners, Kim and Eric, behind the bar make sure you introduce yourself – everyone there is a regular!