In the News - June 2023 - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay

In the News – June 2023

In the News

No If’s, And’s or Mutt’s About It

The new Mutts & Martinis sports bar opened in May, featuring St. Petersburg’s first, and only, doggy splashpad. The sports bar has specific person and pet hours listed, along with a series of requirements to ensure the safety of pets and owners.

The three-day grand opening included a DJ, food, full bar and, the pièce de résistance, the dog waterpark. With pools and a splash pad and covered seating, Mutts & Martinis is the perfect place for dog moms and dads to cool off with their best friend.

One for the Money, Three for the Show

While many GTB restaurants have earned a Michelin mention throughout the years, three restaurants have made history by receiving their first stars. Greater Tampa Bay became eligible for the Michelin Guide back in 2022. 

Rocca, Koya and Lilac are now officially one-star super stars. With unique, fresh takes on their respective cuisines, they have more than proven their merit. At Rocca, dine on fresh mozzarella made tableside; try the exclusive and delectable Japanese fare at Koya; or, have a delicious Mediterranean meal at Lilac, located in the Tampa Edition.

Time for Recess!  

In early May, six students were selected to preview Clearwater’s first sensory, therapeutic and wheelchair accessible playground. With different interactive equipment, and utilizing feedback from the school’s therapist, the playground is designed to meet the physical and mental health needs of the students.

A communication board helps non-verbal students by allowing them to point at symbols to strengthen communication skills. The swings have been updated to accommodate students in wheelchairs, rocking back and forth like the old ship ride at Busch Gardens (without the looping, of course). Now, every kid of every ability can join in the fun of recess.

A League of Their Own

Three GTB businessmen have signed on to bring professional women’s soccer to the Bay. The women’s division of the USL is set to launch in 2024. David Laxer, Bern’s Steak House owner and previous Tampa Bay Rowdies owner, is one of the three co-owning the Super League Tampa Bay team.

The other two owners, Jeff Fox and Darryl Shaw, are equally excited to bring another contender to Champa Bay. As a pre-professional league, the 65 teams –– including the still unnamed Tampa Bay team –– will be comprised of college and high school athletes.

Greatest Tampa Bay

Champa Bay, indeed, as GTB recently received shoutouts for being the best of the best by not one, not two, but three different organizations.

Forbes Magazine included St. Petersburg on its list for “20 Best Places to Travel in the U.S. in 2023”. Selected for its stunning beaches, lively arts scene and luxurious hospitality, St. Pete easily holds its own among the other destinations.

For those debating whether or not their GTB vacation will turn into a staycation, US News and World Reports’ latest rankings should help. Tampa is listed as the number 24 “Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2023–2024” and as number six for “Safest Places to Live in the U.S. in 2023–2024”. Not to mention, it is the fourth best place to live in Florida for retirees, and fifth best in the state overall.

See Also

Dr. Beach, one of the world’s foremost beach experts, ranked Caladesi Island State Park as the fourth best beach in America. Along with Dunedin and Clearwater, the doctor cites the soft sand and clear water for its high rank. However, kayaking through the mangroves is really what secured Caladesi’s spot.

Open for Business!

After seven long years of waiting, the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach finally opened. The new hotel has 16 stories, 198 top-of-the-line rooms (36 of which are designed as residences) and 300 staff members trained to provide the highest quality service.

Clean, comfy and cozy, JW Marriott brings with its Clearwater location a secluded beachfront and rooftop pools. The hotel also included a 24-hour fitness center, kids club, spa and three new restaurants. The $200 million project aims to set the new standard for Clearwater Beach.

Plane and Simple

The St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) was named Airport of the Year by the Transportation Safety Administration, beating 333 other airports. The TSA workforce at PIE was recognized for their outstanding team achievements in key operational and mission support functions.

PIE saw measurable improvements, superior performance and low passenger wait-times while successfully navigating record-breaking passenger volume. As any PIE flyer can attest, the airport won fair and square, plane and simple.

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