• Tracey Serebin

Rooftop Bars are Trending

While Tampa is known for its outdoor dining scene, a trend that has been emerging over the last year or two, and especially due to Covid, are Rooftop Bars.


They not only create a space that causes people to linger longer, many places are creating unique spaces to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and ambience.

The Karol Hotel, a Marriott Autograph Collection, opened up in February of 2020 located off of Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. and was opened for all of 5 weeks before closing down due to the pandemic. While many hotels and restaurants opened up slowly, they chose to stay closed until November.


I was able to enjoy their Vantage Rooftop Bar on Friday and speak to Jonathan Phelps, the Food & Beverage Manager about how their rooftop bar came to be. While most Rooftop Bars have a larger outdoor space, the Vantage has floor to ceiling windows and open sliders that have a smaller balcony area with 3 seating arrangements. This is because they hadn't originally designed a rootop bar with this hotel, it was an afterthought.


I think it was a very smart afterthought, as there is no other place like it in the immediate area. Jonathan said that originally they thought they would have a lot of business from out of town travelers going to Raymond James and the other businesses in the area. But with Covid, they have been very busy with people who live and work locally.


For a Friday Happy Hour, the view was wonderful, the fresh air flowing into the space felt amazing and the comfortable surroundings was a perfect respite.


I checked out their menu with a list of their signature cocktails, infused with Florida Flair such as the Karol Bliss, Rooftop Mai Tai, Cucumber Mule, Raspberry Daiquiri, and Lavender Lemonade.


Perusing their Wines by the Glass I chose "The Stag," a St.Hubert's Cabernet Sauvignon from the North Coast of California. It was smooth and delightful.



My friend Randy chose the Vino Cobos "Felino" Malbec by Paul Hobbs from Mendoza Argentina. Both were lovely wines to sip overlooking the bay and the downtown area in the distance.




If you are a local craft beer connoisseur Johnathan said that they have a selection of local breweries on tap to enjoy.


As for us, I wanted to sample their charcuterie boards. They had three different singular boards to choose from, or the Vantage Boards, which combined all three. I figured I would live a little and experience the best of the best.


When it was presented at our table it was an amazing sight. We ended up nibbling and sipping and relaxing, while watching one of the big screen tv's that was playing the Masters Golf Tournament.




When it was presented at our table it was an amazing sight. We ended up nibbling and sipping and relaxing, while watching one of the big screen tv's that was playing the Masters Golf Tournament.


If you are looking for a unique atmosphere with wonderful food and drinks, head over the The Karol Hotel and check out their Vantage Roof Top Bar. www.thekarolhotel.com