Okay, let me break Ybor down for you. In the 1980's Ybor was nothing but a few hole in the wall bars and gay bars (not that there's anything wrong with that). In the early to mid 90's, it ballooned into a drinker?s paradise and it became Tampa's version of "Bourbon Street" but a cleaner and safer version than in New Orleans. Ybor was the Cigar Factory section of Tampa and the architecture is outstanding, many of the old factories having been turned into stores, bars and restaurants. In the 90's there was always a large Tampa Police (TPD) presence, there were 4-6 cops on every street corner and all the bars had an off duty TPD or Hillsborough County Sheriff Deputy (HCSO) at the door and 7th Ave was closed to vehicle traffic and you could stagger down the road with no worries of getting run over. Dick Greco was the Mayor at the time and he made sure it was safe by installing video cameras and making sure the cops kept the underage kids of the streets by enforcing curfews. I moved away in 2001 and since moving back in 2007, Ybor has gone to hell. I'd say a good 60% of the bars have closed which I attribute to the party moving elsewhere due to the gangs of teenagers roaming the streets. Ybor has always been surrounded by the "Hood" but in the 90's, TPD would detain curfew violators and make their parents come get them. Now, they just let them run wild. Ybor could still be great if the Politicians and Police did their jobs and went back to enforcing the laws like they did in the 90's.
Last time I was up there was when I lived in NC and flew down for a wedding. Went straight there from the airport, paid to park in a dirt lot where someone broke into my rental's trunk (popped out the lock on the trunk lid) and stole my bags which had amongst many other things I'd prefer not to have lost: my suit for wedding, my work laptop, and my car/housekeys. Good times... Made for a very expensive trip (and night out). Nothing like trying to pull together an outfit for a Noon wedding after being at the club until 4am.
Guess you should have gone to your hotel first and dropped off your bags? Parked in a dirt lot instead of one of the parking garages (although not 100% secure, more secure than a dirt lot)... enough said. Didn't go back to your car til 4AM and then found it broken into.
Buddy, everything you did is YOUR FAULT, not Ybor's. Guess next time you'll think ahead, leave your rental car at the hotel after checking into your room and then taking a taxi to Ybor instead of driving home drunk afterwards. I love how people put the blame on anything but themselves. Grow Up!!
Ybor is a mixed bag. During the day there are some historical sights to see. Yes, Centuro Ybor is nice, but pricey. If you want to ggo out and party it up, Ybor should be one of your destinations. I go there for an occasional early dinner and leave by before the crazies show up. They do have a nice selection of restaurants and if you're a beer drinker the Tampa Bay Brewing Company is worth the trip.
I've lived in the bay area since 2002 and I used to love Ybor at night but it has changed in the last 5 years. I avoid the place like the plague at night now. I'll go there during the day to go to the Columbia restaurant or Tampa Bay Brewing Co. but that is it. They even managed to ruin the two times a year I would be willing to put up with all the BS at night, Guavaween and Gasparilla. Now you have to have your drinks in a cup, behave, and act like your not at a closed off strip of clubs and bars. The first couple of years I was here it was a relatively respectful chaos of drunken shenanigans. IMO I really think I caught Ybor on the tail end of the greatness it was from what I've read and have had friends tell me. If I had a choice now of going out to Ybor with friends and sitting at home drinking a couple beers by myself I'd stay home.
Ybor is nice, you just have to know when to go there. If youre going to be there late night then it gets rowdy and dangerous. During the daytime its a great place to walk around. If youre there after dark it still doesnt seem as dangerous as people make it sound as long as you dont venture off to the wrong places.
Ybor is mostly for the younger crowd - I'm 45 and I go there maybe 2-3 times a year generally for a specific event - concert, beer fest, improv - the whole scene is sketchy and like anywhere you can get jacked up if you don't pay attention to your surroundings. If you're into jagerbombs and trendy BS it's a great place to party. If you want to enjoy the area go during the day and visit Tampa Bay Brewing or get yourself a handmade cigar. Much more pleasant atmosphere during the day.