Exchange Restaurant and Bar is one of downtown’s best-kept secrets

Exchange Restaurant and Bar is one of downtown’s best-kept secrets

A bartender behind The Exchange bar
Photo courtesy The Exchange Hotel

One of downtown St. Pete’s newest bars is also one of its few remaining undiscovered secrets. Inside the recently-renovated Exchange Hotel on 3rd Avenue is a skylit oasis full of music, cocktails, and tasty eats. Oh, and they also have some of the best happy hour deals in the neighborhood.

The Exchange Restaurant and Bar, located in the lobby of the Exchange Hotel at 234 3rd Avenue North, is a project from renowned local restaurateur Jeff Gigante and Next Level Brands, showcasing New American eats, craft cocktails, local beer, and a classic weekend brunch. The bar opens for dinner and drink service at 3 pm Monday-Friday, and the kitchen rolls out its brunch menu beginning at 9:30 am on Saturday and Sunday.

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Aiming for quality over quantity, the restaurant menu offers a variety of shareable small plates, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and hand-tossed pizzas. Alongside seasoned crab dip and a massive hummus plate, stars of the small plates list include baked crispy brown butter wings (tossed in a brown butter hot sauce and crispy garlic), as well as a flavorful kettle-fired chicken carbonara piled with shredded chicken, cheese, and bacon.

Start the weekend with waffles and cocktails

The weekend brunch menu includes standards such as build-your-own omelets, Belgian waffles, and a breakfast BLT. However, it’s the breakfast flatbread and the lox board that catch our eye. Sounding like bagel shop charcuterie, the lox board is a platter of toasted everything-bagel pieces, smoked salmon, pickled red onion, sliced tomato, cucumber ribbons, and capers.

For brunch drinks, grab a mimosa, bloody Mary, or the espresso old fashioned. Brunch service runs until 2 pm Saturday and Sunday.

The exterior of the renovated Exchange Hotel
Photo courtesy Exchange Hotel

Of course, it’s not just the sleek bar, natural light, or live music on the weekends that makes The Exchange a good spot for locals. The Monday-Thursday happy hour – running from 3-6 pm – offers some fantastic deals, including $8 pizzas, cheeseburger sliders, and mezze plates, as well as deeply discounted cocktails, beer and wine.

In fact, the bar has a particular mission to not just offer something nice for the visitors staying in the hotel, but to provide something for the community living around it. Any day of the week, let them you know you’re a local and you’ll get 10% off your bill. Work in the service industry? Bump that up to 25%.

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An old building gets a new look in downtown

The historic building housing The Exchange Hotel, owned by Tampa-based investment group Ally Capital Group, recently underwent major renovations, and the updated lobby, bar and patio space take center stage in showing off the upgrades. The renovations were overseen by the Franklin Street Property Management team, which also runs the day-to-day management of the property.

The Exchange Hotel is a boutique, independent hotel with 69 guest rooms and seven suites. Learn more about the hotel, as well as the bar and restaurant, at exchangehotelstpete.com.

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