A Brief History of Skipper’s Smokehouse

Skipper’s Smokehouse circa 1981

Vince McGilvra & John Mayall

Described as “The club that washed ashore…” by Blues legend Lonnie Mack, this long-standing live music venue, restaurant, oyster bar, caterer and talent agency is located in Tampa, Florida.

In 1980, Skipper’s was purchased by three Air Force buddies who met while stationed in Alaska. Their goal? To escape the frozen tundra as soon as possible. Tampa’s subtropical climate was exactly what they wanted for their business. Since then, their small smokehouse takeout joint has become a full-service restaurant and world-class music venue.

Skipper’s architecture is a smorgasbord of “cracker” and Key West styles, with murals and art installations. The property sits under the canopy of stunning one-hundred-year-old live oaks. A popular local hangout, The Oyster Bar, features a vintage memorabilia, including an antique moonshine still and a Pachinko machine. The main dining room is filled with weathered posters and neon lights, offering tons of “Old Florida” charm.

This Tampa Bay landmark has something for everyone, a perfect location for indoor and outdoor dining and entertainment.