During the prohibition period of our country, hidden bars known as speakeasies were THE place to hangout. Though the historic techniques of hiding behind walls to enjoy a drink are no longer necessary these days, the speakeasy ambiance is making a comeback. One of those concepts is Dirty Laundry, located in the Grand Central District of Downtown St Pete.
By day, it’s a café with a laundromat-themed ambiance. But by night, enter through a secret door and you’ll find yourself in a funky speakeasy with a Cuban flair.
Dirty Laundry is one of our favorite speakeasies in Tampa Bay. Keep reading to find out why.
Right when you walk in, you’ll find yourself in the café. If you’re looking for a caffeine boost or a quick bite, the café is your best option. The café has a fun vibe and plentiful photo ops.
The menu features a variety of coffee, beer, seltzer and tea to drink. The food menu includes breakfast options like egg sandwiches and overnight oats, as well as empanadas and Cuban sandwiches.
After you take photos in the “laundromat”, it’s time to pick up the payphone to enter the speakeasy. The entry process is unique. The automated voice greets you and gives you a code to type in. Once you get the code right, one of the washing machines turns into a door, giving you access to the speakeasy.
When you walk in, you’ll immediately notice hints of Cuban culture in the beautiful décor, music, and even the shows playing on the TVs behind the bar. There’s plenty of seating at the bar and throughout the inside space, with tables, gorgeous accent chairs, and cozy couches as options.
There’s also a large outdoor area with lots of seating and beautiful photo ops. One of our favorite photo ops was the neon sign on the greenery wall outside that says “All You Need is Love & Mojitos”. It’s clear that every inch of the space was carefully curated to be Instagram-worthy.
DRINKS + FOOD
The drinks we tried from their classic cocktail bar during our visit were absolutely delicious. We tried the strawberry mojito, red sangria, and the 3 Daughters Key Lime Cider. If you’re a mojito fan, Dirty Laundry is your place. They have pitchers to share (or not), frozen mojitos, and plenty of unique flavors to add a little spice. The cocktail list plays on the Cuban theme, with drinks named Havana Mule, Cubana Mami, and Revolucion De Cuba.
We thought it couldn’t get any better than the drinks, but then we tasted our food. The menu is tapas style, offering sharable Cuban cuisine:
- Rice & Beans | crispy yellow rice, black bean puree, pickled red onion, lime crema, & avocado
- Sazon Shishito Peppers | sazon, lime, & mojo salt
- Roast Mojo Pork Tostones | roast pork, mojo aioli, cilantro, & pineapple pico de gallo
- Citrus Ceviche | served with plantain chips
- Marcona Almonds | chili, honey, lime, & salt
- Charcutería | pickled veggies, manchego, chorizo, guava hot honey, Cubano crostini, marcona almonds, & mojo mustard
- Black Bean Dip | queso fresco, pickled red onion, & cilantro, served with tostones
We ended up ordering the Rice & Beans, Sazon Shishito Peppers, and the Roast Mojo Pork Tostones. Everything was incredible, but it’s been three days and we’re STILL thinking about the rice and beans. The crispy coating added an element that was simply *chef’s kiss*. We already can’t wait to go back and try the rest!
DETAILS + KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The café at Dirty Laundry is currently open every day, but the speakeasy section is only open Thursday-Sunday. The speakeasy is 21+ only.
Monday – Wednesday: 8am – 6pm
Thursday: 8am – 1am
Friday & Saturday: 8am – 3am
Sunday: 8am – 1am
1742 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
Phone: (727) 493-0040
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