Under an overpass, but, you know, it’s nice.
It’s hard to say whether the Blue Parrot should be judged as a dive bar, a diner or a live music spot given the equal attention the St. Pete dive bar pays to those three aspects. Located along a string of islands in southeast St. Pete, Blue Parrot serves as a gateway of sorts along one of the causeways that links the string of islands together.
Beachfront property in the loosest sense of the term, Blue Parrot is more a destination location than a happy accident given its semi-remote location. Pleasantly located underneath a Florida overpass, as all Tampa-area dive bars should be, the signature feature of the Blue Parrot is its live music stage that uses the aforementioned overpass as its backdrop. And it is truly an impressive spot, fully shaded and ringed by the rocky outcrop that provides the foundation of the overpass.
A wide, shaded, airy porch stretches the length of the stage and the waterfront portion of the outdoor space, supported by a dedicated bar. The building is constructed specifically to allow as much shaded drinking room as possible, clearly a particularly positive development for a Florida dive bar. Low table seating dots the area around the main stage, with a handful of taller tables underneath an outcropping closer to the front door. It’s a big space, and on a Tampa / St. Pete night with a decent breeze off the ocean, it’s easy to picture it being a pretty good spot for a cover band about 15 domestic beers.
Inside, the size of the space comes through again, with plenty of booth and high table seating complementing a bar that sits in the middle of the room. It must be said that the color palette is profoundly…bright, for a dive bar, chucking the classic dark black ceiling tiles and cluttered walls for an interior that looks more like a restaurant than the indoor extension of predominantly outdoor dive bar. It’s a place to get out of the sun, to be sure, but it’s not the reason to visit.
It’s easy to see why Blue Parrot was recommended by locals, its slightly off the beaten path location saving a bit of the tourist traffic and the extensive outdoor seating area making for a supremely pleasant drinking spot. What Blue Parrot doesn’t have is deep dive bar credentials, what with its pesky cleanliness, so it’s hard to recommend it if your interest lies in more rustic dive bar environments. But on a bright day in the Florida heat, overpass-adjacent shade won’t sound too bad.