Yelp Prohibits Prohibition Event at Ciro’s Speakeasy

June 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Last night I was lucky enough to get to attend a Yelp Tampa Bay Elite event at Ciro’s Speakeasy and Supper Club in Tampa. While I am not a Yelp Elite (yet…I’m hopeful and trying!), I somehow managed to wrangle an invitation to the event. If you haven’t checked out the Yelp community, and you like to do fun, local stuff, I highly suggest that you do! It’s a fun, welcoming group of people.

Prohibition-era attire was highly recommended, so I did my best to procure an appropriate outfit. Cal took this picture of me right before I left, wearing the dress that I had headaches over getting from Etsy in time.


I invited my friend Valarie to be my +1, and she met me at the obscure, somewhat odd location of Ciro’s on Bayshore Boulevard. Does this look like the location of a swanky restaurant to you?


There is no sign that says “Ciro’s” and really no indication that there is anything here except a big condo building. You have to know where you are going. You also must have a reservation and know the password to get in. I kid you not. Hey, this is prohibition, remember? Wouldn’t want the Feds knowing where they are.

Luckily Val and I had the inside info and she met me there.


I also met up with my friend Meghann (of Meals and Miles) who is a Yelp Tampa Bay Elite.


Kind of looks like my headband was cutting off the circulation to my face in that picture.

Getting into Ciro’s takes time, as each group of guests must be individually vetted at the door. While we waited, we were told to make sure we had read and understood the House Rules.


Finally it was our turn to go in. Cheesy pictures while we “lingered outside the front door” breaking rule #10.



At the non-descript entrance, after you knock (loudly), a little window slides open and you have to give the password which changes daily. I said, “We’re here for the juice joint,” and the door opened for us. The inside of Ciro’s looks exactly what you would expect a speakeasy to look like…small, dark, and full of alcohol. It was also full of Yelpers (we had the whole place to ourselves).


The bar (above) is to the right as you enter, and to the left is a short hallway lined with intimate alcoves so you can partake of the devil’s elixir without being publicly outed as a degenerate.


I’m thinking that the curtained private alcoves, which are lined with mirrors by the way, might make it hard to not break rule #7 above when Chad and I go back by ourselves, which will definitely be happening.

Val and and I walked down the hallway to the small back room which is lined with banquette seating. We called that room the party limo all night.


My camera did an okay job, but it was super dark in there. The menus are backlit so that you can see them.


Ciro’s is famous for their amazing cocktails, and Yelpers love to drink, so the two bartenders were feverishly muddling fruit and mixing drinks but they couldn’t keep up with demand.


We were there quite a while with no cocktails (making it hard not to break rule #9), but in the meantime we were presented with passed samplings of food.

First, some sundried tomato and goat cheese crostini topped with capers.


I thought these were delicious but very garlicky. I actually didn’t see them on the regular menu.

Next, some American Wagyu beef (the American version of Kobe beef) and aioli sliders on pretzel rolls.



The sliders were followed by some skewers of watermelon and tomato with some sort of vinaigrette. Delish.


Our waiter did an amazing job serving this hungry (and thirsty) party bus room full of Yelpers.


While waiting for more food and drinks to magically appear, I wandered around and chatted with some of my friends who were there. I was really glad to finally get to meet Grace (of Grace Dishes) in person!


She is super sweet (and how gorgeous is she??) and we have been exchanging blog comments for a while now. I also got to meet my fellow Tampa Bay Lady Blogger and Yelp buddy Jennifer B. (of Mangiamo! Let’s Eat!), but I didn’t snap a picture.

Some edamame dumplings were passed around, but unfortunately I didn’t get one. I was waiting for the next round of dumplings which were promised but never came.


I didn’t get too upset about that, though, because eventually our drinks arrived!


The cocktails were the main attraction, and they did not disappoint. My first cocktail was the Russian Spring Punch.


It was as delicious as it was beautiful.


Val ordered the Vic’s Mai Tai.



While waiting for our second round of drinks, we were offered some of Ciro’s famous truffle oil popcorn.


This popcorn was truly unlike any popcorn I have ever had before. It was amazing. Chad is a big popcorn fan, so I know he will love this stuff.

My second drink arrived…the gin Bramble.



I’m not usually a big gin fan, but this one was just as delicious as the Russian Spring Punch, if not more so. The muddled fruit on the bottom was divine.

Val ordered a mojito as her second drink, but unfortunately it somehow got lost in the chaos of all the drink-greedy Yelpers. The bar was really overwhelmed, as the cocktails are all very involved and made on the spot. The two bartenders were smashing fruit as fast they could, but they just couldn’t keep up. But, here is the rum menu, in case you were interested.


I did see a bunch of the mojitos (including a raspberry mojito) and I bet it would have been great. Sorry Val! She grabbed Meghann’s discarded margarita for a goofy, blurry “we have drinks!” photo with me, though.


The last bit of deliciousness that we got to sample was a cherry caramel bread pudding.


I ate two of these. Mmm.

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with the Yelp Tampa Bay’ers. It was fun to get to see some of them again after meeting them at Bar Louie a few weeks ago. Even photo-bomber Harry D. (aka Tor, Master of the Universe, as he likes to me called) was there.

me and tor

I had to photo-shop in my mustache.

Farewell Ciro’s Speakeasy. Thank you for having us. We’ll be back!


As I was leaving the dark restaurant I felt like I was stepping back into the 21st century. The sun was setting, but it was still brighter outside that it was in Ciro’s.

Sunset over Bayshore.


The sunset was gorgeous last night, and I would have had an awesome picture of it as I was crossing the Gandy Bridge, except for the fact that I missed the turn onto Gandy and ended up driving all the way to MacDill Air Force Base. Oh well. You get this instead:


Now I am more motivated than ever to stay involved with Yelp! and gain that Elite status. Won’t you join me?