The Wine Exchange Bistro & Bar has been dishing up exceptional New American fare and educating Tampa restaurant goers about good wine since 1990. Originally located on Swann Avenue, the restaurant moved to its current swanky location deeper in the heart of Hyde Park Village in 2008. The Wine Exchange has only gotten better over the years, and is now elemental to our evolving culinary scene.
General Manager Michelle Murphy is the key to making sure that the Wine Exchange stays totally current, while still delivering the quality and atmosphere expected of a classy restaurant that’s been around for almost three decades. Ms. Murphy started back in the 1990’s as one of the main bartenders at the Swann Ave location, then moved up through the organization to her current position. The restaurant’s owner, Dr. Mark Smith, is a Bayshore Boulevard resident, a huge fan of the Tampa Bay area, and a prodigious lover of fine wines. He opened the Wine Exchange originally as Hyde Park’s first wine bar, with the advice of one of the main sommeliers at Bern's Steak House. The managing partner and executive chef have also been with the Wine Exchange since the early years. Such a long-lived collaboration is highly unusual in the restaurant industry.
But the Wine Exchange is anything but stodgy. You can follow the restaurant on Twitter and Facebook, read the great reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor, and soon download their very own app. The expansive outdoor patio is pet friendly, and quite the place to be seen with your pooch as you enjoy a crisp, cool glass of Pinot, a deep red, or a frosty cocktail on a sultry Tampa evening. The weekday happy hour from 4pm to 7pm is immensely popular with the Downtown Tampa crowd, featuring incredible specials like $6 Captain Morgan and Tanqueray. If you’d rather save your liver for the weekend, Friday nights are hot with deals on Ketel One martinis, and top shelf margaritas are only $6 all day on Saturday. Wine lovers will of course know that The Wine Exchange Bistro & Bar has one of the best stocked cellars in the Tampa Bay area.
Don’t you dare forget about the amazing food! Appetizers, soups, salads, and quiche are super affordable, ranging from just $5 to $14. Seafood lovers should go for it & order the Chesapeake Scallops - huge, buttery scallops in a mushroom garlic cream sauce like that just can’t be ignored. The entrees are quite reasonably priced considering the restaurant’s location and impressive history. You know what you really want is the Chimichurri Flank Steak or Blackened Filet Mignon with gorgonzola cream sauce - either dish is under twenty bucks, unbelieveable and delicious. For the more casual diner, there’s a delightful list of pizzas and crafted sandwiches, like the Bat Out of Heaven cajun stuffed meatloaf sandwich, with a side of light and tangy homemade potato salad.
The next time you are looking for an excellent, affordable menu paired with one of the best wine & libation selections in Tampa, start a new tradition and become a regular at Hyde Park’s better than ever Wine Exchange Bistro & Wine Bar, a delicious gem at 1609 Snow Avenue.