May 15, 2024 - Food and Drink

What to know about Alter Ego, Water Street's new nightclub

Alter Ego.

Alter Ego. Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios

Living in Tampa Bay, I've never felt more like a big city girl than I did on Friday, standing in the queue outside Alter Ego.

State of play: Water Street's new lounge and nightclub opened last month, boasting upscale cocktails, a vibey interior and a DJ lineup.

  • It's one of two new concepts from the group behind the acclaimed Seminole Heights restaurant Rooster and the Till.
  • Also last month, Proper House Group opened Ash next door to Alter Ego with an Italian-inspired menu and chic pink interior.

I wanted to feel fancy for a night, so I booked a table for 8:30pm.

Pro tip: The small standing-room-only area was poppin' by the time my boyfriend and I got inside, so I'd recommend making a reservation like we did.

  • It gets you a table for an hour and a half, and the servers are serious about it. We got a 15-minute warning toward the end of our slot.

What to expect: There are two queues outside, one for reservations and one for walk-ins. It felt weird being in line for a club while it was still light outside, but it did give an air of exclusivity to the whole experience.

The vibes: Once inside, we were led into the pink-purple depths — and that's truly what it felt like: the seating, floor and walls were all velvet in moody fuschia hues.

  • Our DJ for the night, Alter Ego music director DJ Casper, started up about 9pm with a mix of "All of the Lights" by Kanye West featuring Rihanna. The sound quality was great and not so loud that it drowned out conversation.

The drinks: The menu featured an array of cocktails ranging from $17-20 along with wine, champagne bottles and a wide selection of zero-proof drinks.

  • Our favorites were the Manhattan ($20) and the El Presidente ($20). We could've skipped the Picador, which tasted like a margarita but worse because it was $18.

The bottom line: I'd recommend it if you, too, get the occasional hankering to feel like you're on Sex and the City: Tampa.

  • Otherwise, stick to the tons of other cocktail bars that don't require reservations, a line and a strict time limit.
DJ booth at Alter Ego.
DJ booth at Alter Ego. Photo: Kathryn Varn/Axios
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