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E is for Ybor, C is for City

May 24, 2010

On Monday afternoon in between bouts of rain central Ybor (EEbor) looks empty as though it were hungover, recovering from a weekend of hard partying. Only lunch crowds fill a few popular spots scattered around the central area while the many drinking hubs stay empty.

by Cate

This is a perfect time to explore the place stopping in one of cafés along the way and mull over life with a bolt of Cuban coffee or a pint of your choice. Like an ordinary day in an ordinary week, life goes on for the locals — quiet as it is.

Of course it’s only an illusion.

by Cate

Ybor is a chameleon city appearing relaxed in the daylight hours, but once the sun sets and darkness falls, bars crank up their sound systems and extend their happy hours as older faces give way to younger faces.

Historically this city, a part of Tampa, was founded on cigar production, a mix of Cuban, Italian, Spanish, Jewish migrants, and eras filled with boom-bust practices. The end result was empty buildings and homes but tons of potential.

by Cate

Gentrification gave Ybor back its name, business and artisans returned as did nightclubs and bars along with a new reputation as Tampa’s party place; and a seedy streak of night-time violence.

But put this nightlife aside because Ybor is worth spending some time in. The growth in vintage wear and collectables has eclectic consignment stores and vintage boutiques lining the centre’s streets with mannequins clad in hats and dresses, and old wheels displaying something that can only be described as post post-modernist.

by Cate

It’s a city frequented by casually dressed business crowds, cruise ship tourists and people wanting to get a sense of Tampa’s history.

Despite it’s empty daytime feel, I got the feeling the locals were genuinely friendly: from the cook concerned with my food, to the old fedora wearing man concerned about my serious face, to the sweet faced cigar maker unfazed by a camera blocking his light.

by Cate

Ybor City is within driving distance from downtown Tampa or via public transport. Walking around the central area is safe during daylight hours but care is definitely needed at night or if you happen to end up in the unsavoury adjoining parts to Ybor City.

Caffeinated Traveller

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14 Comments
  1. May 24, 2010 7:56 pm

    Ybor City is one of Tampa’s, if not Florida’s, treats. It is a place with oodles of culture and history oozing out of every crack in the sidwalk and wafting out of every puff of cigar smoke. Enjoy!

  2. Catherine permalink
    May 24, 2010 9:51 pm

    looks an interesting place to hang out – is the name linked at all to Ebor the Roman name for the city of York in England – many pubs have the name – one of my favourites from student days is called the old ebor…

  3. May 25, 2010 5:11 pm

    Florida Blogger – Thanks for the extra tid bits, nothing like a local who can fill in the blanks.

    Catherine -Vicente Martinez Ybor was a spanish cigar maker who established the city. I have heard of the English Ebor several times, and its pubs. Will make it there one day…

  4. May 26, 2010 12:06 am

    Southerners are generally pretty friendly, I’ve found Floridians particularly so. The party place for Tampa! Never heard of that one.

  5. May 26, 2010 4:43 pm

    Fly Girl – I guess if you believe Wikipedia a hiphop artist included Ybor in one of their songs – something about a speedy place?? But, ask a local and the story goes that Ybor was once a neat place with artisans and stores, then the bars moved in, and the violence, and so the party reputation.

  6. May 27, 2010 3:53 am

    I get a sense of retro modern from the photos, a quietude on the surface ready to explode. Finding it difficult to express into words…

  7. May 27, 2010 4:08 pm

    Ooooo these are good words almost like a piece of prose in the making.

  8. May 28, 2010 3:41 pm

    I live very near here, but have not visited in many years. Last time I did was for Guavaween (a Halloween celebration). It is a quaint little city by day, and a party town by night.

  9. May 29, 2010 1:24 am

    You are very lucky to have travelled to so many places. You have a very intersting blog and your “about me” page is just as interesting. If I weren’t on the other side of the world, I would love to sit with you and have a nice cup of coffee and chat about the places you have seen. Keep on posting. 🙂

  10. Weezy L Baby permalink
    May 29, 2010 2:36 pm

    I go to USF and absolutely love Ybor City. Thanks for a good read.

  11. May 31, 2010 3:32 pm

    Cheers for all your comments

    Cate

  12. June 2, 2010 6:47 am

    Another great report. Wish I could travel that much. I will probably be in the US next year. Is it easy to get there from MN?

  13. June 3, 2010 8:38 am

    Sometimes prose comes easier to me than a coherent comment! Thank you for the compliment 🙂

  14. June 3, 2010 8:41 am

    Chris it is easy, as long as you take a car or go by public transport.

    Gourmantic – 🙂

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