My Favorite Places – The Ale & the Witch
Six days left until Tampa Bay Beer Week. One of the biggest issues I have had in regards to beer is my relative distance to where it is being served. Yes, I can go buy some and bring it home and drink it and it is still wonderful, but the camaraderie and social interaction that occurs at good beer establishments elevates the experience. And while I love places like Willard’s and Cigar City, they are a bit of a drive for me. Then last year, ironically in the patio area of a building I used to work in, my prayers were answered. The Ale and the Witch opened a mere two miles from my home.
Nestled in the patio area of the Tower Plaza in downtown St. Petersburg, The Ale and the Witch opened in February of 2011, bringing 32 taps of American craft beer with it. The Ale Witch occupies a historically unsuccessful spot. A coffee and sandwich shop and a French crepe restaurant were the last two tenants in the past five years, and the space across the courtyard sat empty until recently.
This time is different. The winds are definitely blowing in the right direction for craft beer-related ventures, especially when run by people with a passion for the business. Owner Brett Andress has taken great care to select a good variety of American craft beer; everyone can find something they will like among the thirty-two taps. From light, crisp pilsners to black-as-night stouts, and everything in between, no one will be disappointed. The establishment is non-smoking (a big plus in my book), accepts credit cards, and has live music on most nights. There is some food available, and a small bottle selection.
Now just over a year old, the Witch is the place to go for craft beer in St. Petersburg, bar none. It has breathed new life into the Plaza Tower courtyard, with a wine bar opening next door (Wine Madonna), a new Mexican restaurant opening across the courtyard, and a sushi bar and a Thai/Vietnamese place opening as well.
A remarkable thing to note is that the staff has changed very little since opening day. They know their beers, love to talk about them, and are continually friendly and helpful.
Brett’s passion for music shows through as well. He continues to bring in top-quality acts ranging from bluegrass to jazz, funk to folk, and every one of them are great.
The Ale & the Witch was exactly what downtown St. Pete needed, and they have made residents of The ‘Burg very happy.
There are a few events at the Ale & the Witch during Tampa Bay Beer Week, but as Brett said, “every day is a bloody event here!”
Check out their schedule here http://www.thealeandthewitch.com/events/