Greetings from Skipper’s Smokehouse Restaurant & Oyster Bar, “the club that washed ashore,” to quote guitar legend Lonnie Mack. This long-running live music venue, restaurant, oyster bar, caterer and talent agency is located in subtropical Tampa, Florida.
Now celebrating 32 smokin’ years, this venerable Tampa Bay landmark was purchased by three Air Force buddies in 1980 who met while stationed in Alaska and presumably sought to get as far away from the frozen tundra as possible. In the years since, Skipper’s has grown from a small smokehouse takeout operation with a casual Sunday jam to a full-service restaurant and much-loved purveyor of world-class music.
The architecture is a smorgasbord of “cracker” and islandy-Key West styles with overturned boats, wooden walkways, large murals dot the landscape while artfully rusted walls contain the sounds of revelry. In the Oyster Bar, a vintage moonshine still hangs over the bar while in the dining room, weathered posters tinted by neon lights add varying hues of color and atmosphere. Here's owner Tom White, telling a bit more about Skipper's: