Valenty’s Lounge, part of Pasadena Liquors in St. Pete – who knew?

Once, if I had received a recommendation to check out a lounge attached to a liquor store near the beach, I wouldn’t have been in a hurry to check it out.

But I learned that there is often magic in these places. Many bars use carefully crafted throwback themes, while others have simply acquired enough decades of cigarette smoke to give them the unmistakable old-school title claim, even if they’re not just a little worse. for wear.

The ubiquitous adjoining liquor salon, for whatever reason, often stays clean, as if it had been closed 30 years ago and instantly reopened, with no apparent update to the business model. You’ll find cool modern bars here and there, but more often than not you’ll find retro bars that don’t try to be retro – authentic but not run down. File under: hidden gems.

I got a tip from a friend about Valenty’s lounge in western St. Petersburg, tucked away at the back of Pasadena Liquors on the street of the same name. If you drove on Pasadena Avenue on your way to St. Pete Beach, you’ve probably passed this place without thinking twice. I certainly have.

Valenty’s is beautifully indescribable from the outside, sporting its name above a wooden door with frosted glass and side windows, patio furniture arranged in a small rectangle to the side. Through the entrance, I found a small vestibule with another door leading to the living room itself. It’s a tiny and cozy room, dimly lit with wall lamps, a few tables, and a bar with a mirror with a bar-like array of bottles attached to a liquor store.

The walls are covered in brown and forest green panels – or maybe they just seemed darker from the lighting – and the popcorn tops of the ceiling are painted black, giving the ceiling an unusual textured look. There is also a large smoke filter up there, but this place is now non-smoking and has been for some time, judging by the lack of residual tartness.

Clean air is part of the whole thing: the Valenty’s lounge is immaculate. It’s really impressive – this place is more well run than most of the bars that opened a year ago. You might not expect to find a sense of pride in a hole in the wall attached to a liquor store in a shopping plaza, but it does at Valenty’s.

There is a variety of stemware above the bar, suggesting martinis, margaritas, and glasses of champagne, but don’t expect to find a cocktail menu. You’ll have to call it yourself, or you can ask your friendly bartender for advice, another Valenty’s specialty.

The good news in this regard is that, being attached to a retail store, Valenty’s offers a very respectable alcohol selection for such a small space, at extremely reasonable prices.

A decent single malt scotch like Glenfiddich or Glenlivet will only set you back $ 6, and that’s the top of the list. A basic cocktail will get you closer to $ 3 or $ 4, and the most expensive beer (Cigar City Jai Alai IPA) is only $ 4. You can buy a bottle of Zonin prosecco here for $ 20. This is exceptional.

Immerse yourself in the food and drink scenes of Tampa Bay

Subscribe to our free Taste newsletter

You will receive restaurant and bar news, restaurant recommendations and the best recipes every Thursday.

You are all registered!

Want more of our free weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

I went with something I had never tried before, a ready-made mint julep from Old Forester. Topped with a little club soda, you have a no-frills cocktail that is really, really good. No copper cup, I’m afraid. If you prefer a little more elaborate, rest assured that you will find all the necessary ingredients to make many cocktails.

Valenty’s Lounge is a simple, honest, old-fashioned liquor lounge of the kind I’ve learned not to ignore. It’s a time capsule from another era, hidden under everyone’s noses. Maybe the best thing I can say about it is that there isn’t much to say – it’s a bar that’s really just a bar. If that sounds like you, find it and go back in time for a drink or two.

Contact Justin Grant at [email protected] Follow @WordsWithJG.

Valentine’s Lounge

1100 Pasadena Ave. S,
Saint PETERSBOURG ; (727) 384-9608;

The atmosphere: A comfortable and timeless lounge, easily missed behind its adjoining liquor store.

Booze: Beer, wine and liquor. Beer, $ 2 to $ 4; wine, $ 3 a glass and $ 18 to $ 25 a bottle; alcohol, $ 3 to $ 6.

Speciality: As a Pasadena Liquors lounge, Valenty’s has just about everything you need to whip up your favorite cocktail. There’s also a small list of wines available by the bottle, all at $ 25 and under, which is hard to beat. The beers are only in bottles and cans, and they’re mostly from renowned macro breweries, with the exception of an occasional local craft option, like Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA. Go with your instincts, whether it’s a Manhattan or a martini, a bottle of wine or a can of beer.

Hours: Open from noon to midnight every day.

Comments are closed.