Hidden to a passerby’s view is one of Downtown St Pete’s favorite bars and music venues. By day the area is home to business offices. As soon as the worker-bees head home, the courtyard where this place is found transforms into a beloved live music venue. Located at 111 2nd Avenue Northeast, The Ale and The Witch proudly serves an ever-changing selection of American craft brews and showcases talented music artists almost nightly.
When owner, Brett Andress, moved to St. Petersburg, Florida from Myrtle Beach, he knew that he wanted to realize his dream of owning a bar. With his background in city development and analysis, he strategically walked the streets of DTSP until he found the perfect home for his establishment. In 2010 he stumbled across a courtyard surrounded by vacant real estate just behind Beach Drive. A few months later, this is where The Ale and The Witch was born in January of 2011.
This bar is unique in more ways than one, but mostly because music is a huge part of the business model. Before Andress even opened the doors, he had strong local bands booked to entertain his guests. The real upside to this is that a requirement for the artists was that they play 100% original music (that’s right, no cover bands! Thank goodness because I don’t know how many more times I can listen to Brown Eyed Girl). You can enjoy live music almost nightly in the courtyard with no cover fee. Rather than just sitting at any old bar and chatting with your friends, The Ale and The Witch is the perfect meeting place to brew up fun musical memroies. Catering to different crowds of people, they feature acts such as Betty Fox and her soulful blues band, Uncle John’s Band with their Grateful Dead vibe, Boxcar Hollow’s newgrass bluegrass music, Geri X’s psychedelic rock tunes and many more for everyone to enjoy.
“I surround myself with everything I love,” Andress said as he reflected on his successful business. “It’s kind of awesome to be able to make a living doing what I truly enjoy – music and exposing people to really good beers.” (Brett definitely steered me in the right direction during my visit to The Ale and The Witch. He introduced me to a dark English Mild Ale called Dusky Rooster. Hourglass Brewery makes it with breakfast tea and it was absolutely delightful – thanks for providing your expertise and finding the perfect brew for my pallet.)
Speaking of the beer, they move incredibly fast through the kegs. That means that every time you visit, you will most definitely discover something new on tap. The Ale and The Witch in DTSP is constantly rotating through local, regional, seasonal and what’s fresh. Try a beer from a local breweries such as Green Bench or 3 Daughters or taste one of the other 32 brews on tap. Come by and give this bar a whirl. Believe me, it’s lovely to sip an American ale and dance to great live music!
Brett Andress has created a friendly, vibrant and loyal community in that once abandoned courtyard hidden in Downtown St. Pete. If you are seeking a welcoming location that invites all types of people to come join the fun, The Ale and The Witch is well worth the visit.
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