Wooden Nickel no more

A local institution closes, a new vodka is served, and the Tap Room opens at the Hollander.

| December 05, 2012
TAP THIS: St. Petersburg’s new Hollander Hotel features the Tap Room, with 21 craft brews and a full menu.
TAP THIS: St. Petersburg’s new Hollander Hotel features the Tap Room, with 21 craft brews and a full menu.
- HOLLANDER HOTEL

After 39 years of business in the same location, The Wooden Nickel on Fletcher Avenue in Tampa is closing.

Before Spencer’s translated the notion of a novelty/head shop into a national chain, the Wooden Nickel was the go-to local spot for incense, black lights, and bead curtains. In its heyday, the Wooden Nickel supplied a good portion of the population with wigs, bachelorette party penis tchotchkes, and that poster of two girls kissing in their panties your roommate had on his wall in your USF dorm.

But the signs of a downturn were already evident in 2008, when manager Steven Meinsen told Creative Loafing’s Alex Pickett that “business is down.” Perhaps more people are buying their water pipes and sexy nurse costumes online these days. But, just in time for the holidays, their loss could be your gain. Everything at the Wooden Nickel is on sale, as the space occupied by the shop since 1973 must be emptied by December 31…

The corner of Fourth Street and Fourth Avenue North in St. Petersburg was never exactly a happening spot. But thankfully, in the last few weeks the Hollander Hotel has revamped the site with some much-needed swank — and better yet, has provided a new destination for sipping brews at a reasonable price.

While we are grateful for the rise of craft beer bars in the area, the reality of craft beer prices has left a deep dent in our wallets. Going out for a drink can mean you’re literally going out, since most beers with an ABV above 10 percent go for $6-10 each. Thankfully, all of the 21 craft beers on tap at the Hollander’s Tap Room are just $5 a pop all the time. That list includes a few local craft beer favorites like Florida Beer Company’s Swamp Ape IPA and Cigar City’s Jai Alai.

The bar also serves $8 craft cocktails made with liquors infused on site with cinnamon, oranges, and spiced apples. The non-liquid menu features a slew of appetizers including the Orange Blossom Pilsner batter-fried onion rings, plus pizzas, sliders and sandwiches including the “soon to be famous” grouper sandwich. Inside the hotel coffee shop, Brew D Licious coffee (a locally roasted bean) is served, and you can satisfy your sweet tooth with cakes from Tampa’s new Le Mouton Noir Bakehouse. Keep your eye out for a full story on the hotel’s renovation in an upcoming issue of Creative Loafing.

Meanwhile, why not bid on the Hollander Hotel package, aka St. Pete’s Royal Indie Couple for a Day, in CL’s Online Holiday Auction? In addition to a night’s stay at the Hollander, the package includes dinner at the Tap Room, an onsite massage, his and hers haircuts, a heavenly flourless chocolate cake from GateauOChocolat, and lots, lots more. The package is valued at $849 and the bids are still low, so nab it if you can. Find details at cltampa.com/auction; bidding continues until Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. Proceeds benefit The Children’s Home…

The Florida Distillery, located in Tampa, celebrated the launch of its Cane Vodka last week at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Cane Vodka is made from Florida cane sugar, and distilled right in the heart of Tampa. Flavored vodkas are made with strawberries from Plant City, oranges from Seminole County, blueberries from Hernando, and grapes from Polk. Cane Vodka is available at select area restaurants, bars, and liquor stores.

Currently the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, Ella’s Folk Art Café, the Bad Monkey Bar, Club Prana and Powerplay Grill carry Cane Vodka spirits…

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