Top Ways to Spend Date Night at the Pier
The St. Pete Pier is the perfect spot for a date night with a difference. Actually, it is more like an entire collection of spots — and that’s exactly what makes it a great option for couples looking for a break from the same old routine. You are able to combine an array of sights, sounds, tastes and other diversions that are sure to make for an epic night out.
The entire Pier offers opportunities for date-nighters, from long-married couples to blind-date adventurers. You can plan an entire itinerary or just let the night unfold. Your date can range from absolutely free to a full-on splurge.
Let us get you started with some pointers on how to make sure your Pier date turns out to be one you won’t soon forget.
Dinner for Two
The St. Pete Pier offers three attractive sit-down dining options that provide distinct culinary experiences. On the fourth floor of the Pier Point building is the park’s destination restaurant, Teak, an upscale eatery with unimpeded views of the Bay and the skylines of both St. Petersburg and Tampa. Or grab a cocktail at the rooftop bar Pier Teaki. The two concepts, as well as the more casual Driftwood Cafe downstairs, have the same ownership as St. Pete’s popular Birchwood, a boutique hotel on nearby Beach Drive known for its Birch & Vine restaurant and Canopy rooftop lounge.
Date-nighters looking for a more casual and more spirited experience can choose Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, a seafood-focused restaurant named after a character in over 20 Florida-themed novels by Randy Wayne White. Doc Ford’s provides 10,000 square feet of eating, drinking, and revelry, although a couple can enjoy a quieter dinner for two if they choose. The three other Doc Ford’s, all south of St. Pete, are highly successful destination restaurants. Like a good mojito? Doc Ford’s is famous for them.
Located near the Pier entrance, Fresco’s features a spacious wrap-around deck with views of the open water, boat-filled marinas and the Pier District. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, specializing in fresh seafood, steaks, burgers and pastas. With a full bar, Fresco’s is the perfect place to enjoy happy hour while the sun sets over downtown St. Pete.
Take in a Sunset
Virtually any place in the Pier complex is ideal for viewing one of St. Pete’s famous sunsets, whether it’s all the way out on the Pier Point Fishing Deck, along the shaded Coastal Thicket or Walking Waterfront, out by the boat docks, or lounging in an Adirondack chair at the Pier Plaza and Bayfront Health Tilted Lawn. Few sights are more memorable than orangey-pink skies behind St. Pete’s ever-growing downtown.
Check out a Performance
Entertainment and events take place throughout the Pier grounds, but date-nighters will want to keep an eye out for regular performances in and around the Lawn Bowl and Event Plaza. The area will feature an ADA-compliant slope that provides enhanced sightlines to performances. The Pier’s event programmers will book an eclectic array of acts, so couples are sure to find performances that suit their taste.
Take an Art Walk
Public art offers added delight at various points in the Pier park. Foremost is the signature piece, Bending Arc, by Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman. Couples are able to stake out a spot and be entranced by her massive billowing net sculpture, which moves with the breeze and will have added dazzle with night lighting.
But Bending Arc is just the beginning. Nathan Mabry’s Myth (Red Pelican), is a 10-foot-high, origami-style, bright-red depiction of the city’s signature bird. Belgian artist Nick Ervinck’s Olnetopia is a daring abstract bronze sculpture sure to stoke the imagination. Xenobia Bailey’s Morning Stars — 23 feet wide and 7-and-a-half feet tall — is a brilliantly colorful fiber mosaic that will be located on a wall adjacent to the Pelican parking lot. And for a touch of history, there’s the homage to St. Pete as the birthplace of commercial aviation: a life-size sculpture of The Benoist, the plane that aviator Tony Jannus flew from St. Pete to Tampa with St. Pete mayor Abe Pheil as his only passenger.
In addition to these permanent fixtures, the Pier Marketplace routinely feature booths showing the work of talented local artists available for sale.
What better way to conclude a lovely date than a hand-in-hand saunter under the stars? Because the Pier park is so walkable, any place will do. But if you want to make the experience a little extra special, head over to Spa Beach, kick off your shoes and feel the sand beneath your feet as the Bay laps gently against the shore. Feel free to take your time and enjoy the moment. After all, is there anything more romantic than an after-sunset stroll?