Best of the Bay

Tickets starting at $55
  • Thursday, September 29 | 7:30PM
    Hard Rock Event Center

Party with the Best. Sample the Best. Celebrate the Best!

Creative Loafing's annual Best of the Bay Party is back! Join us in celebrating the Tampa Bay area's best local people, places, businesses, events, & more—voted by YOU.

Get your hands on a copy of CL's annual Best of the Bay issue a night early, sample your way around Tampa Bay area bites & drinks, rub elbows with prominent locals, enjoy local live entertainment & so much more!

This is a cocktail-style event.


How do I get nominated? How do I make it to the voting round? HOW DO I WIN?

Creative Loafing will be holding open nominations through the end of June 2022. The top 10 nominees in each category will make it to the voting round in August 2022. The nominee with the most votes in that specific category during the voting around will walk away with that title for 2022. To check out the nominations and voting ballot, visit

How wasn’t I nominated? I don’t understand. But I’m the best! You must hate me/us.

It’s important to keep in mind that the nominations you’re able to vote on during the voting phase are submitted by the PUBLIC. Creative Loafing holds a month-long open nominations period in June where we accept thousands of nominations! This year, only the top 10 nominees with the most nominations will move on to the voting phase.

So, the nominations are submitted by the public? Does Creative Loafing choose any awards?

Yes! Best of the Bay is split up into two sets of awards: Readers’ Picks and Critics’ Picks. The Readers’ Picks Awards (what YOU get to vote on) are submitted and voted on by the public; the person/place/business/thing/etc. with the most votes in that specific category walks away with that title for 2022. The Critics’ Pick Awards are curated awards selected by Creative Loafing staff. Creative Loafing does not accept nominations for these awards and, instead, are some of our staff’s favorite things about the Tampa Bay area right now.

Is Creative Loafing hosting the party this year? Is there an awards ceremony at the party?

Yes, Creative Loafing is hosting the party this year! No, this is not a formal awards ceremony. Instead, we party with the best! The Best of the Bay Party is a 21-and-up cocktail-style event featuring food and drink samples, local entertainment, and more. Awards will be available for pickup throughout the night and photo opportunities with your award(s) will be available. Plus, you get a unique opportunity to mix and mingle with Tampa Bay's best! Ticket information will be available on this site as it becomes available.

Is the party only for finalists and winners?

No! The party is open to the public with purchase of a ticket! Anyone is welcome to sample the best, party with the best, and celebrate the best! If you love Tampa Bay, you'll want to be there.