2021 WAVE Award Spotlight: The Saint

The Saint opened its confessional in early 2020, promising St. Petersburg its “first true speakeasy” and taking Tampa Bay by storm. Patrons have supported the hotspot in controlled droves ever since, proving that sin is in.

The locale seats a maximum of 68 patrons and requires an entry process to enter, detailed on their website, favoring intimate conversation to intense crowds. Owner David Fischer says that made navigating COVID-19 easier than it may have been for some other bars.

“You enter through a confessional and have to know the ‘Sin of the Week’ to get in, so we can regulate how many people are inside very easily,” he explains. “It’s not a massive bar where you stand around and drink and it never will be, even post-COVID.”

The speakeasy takes no reservations and is divided into intimate seating areas, the largest of which accommodates only seven people. It is designed to maximize time spent with friends, family and loved ones.

Fischer created the space himself, drawing upon his longtime desire to design a red bar and his Catholic upbringing. He also leaned on two “naughty angel” statues as inspiration, focal points within the space that promises “an unrivaled cocktail experience” as it turns sinners into saints one drink at a time.

Patrons are invited “to confess life’s darkest sins” over one of The Saint’s 7 Deadly Sins specialty drinks – Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Pride or Wrath. Martinis, draft beers, wines, non-alcoholic beverages and more round out the drink menu, which is complemented by light bites.

Each evening strives to cultivate an inclusive, memorable experience, which is what Fischer does best. He also owns ZaZoo’d, which has offered an eclectic variety of retail goods, event planning and interior design services in St. Petersburg for seven years, designing Equality Florida galas and more.

Later this year he’ll also open Cocktail, an LGBTQ-focused bar sure to place in next year’s WAVE Awards. “It will be focused around the community,” Fischer says. “We call it more of a ‘straight-friendly’ bar and we’ll fully embrace that. All of my businesses are inclusive to everyone.”

Fischer adds that The Saint’s first-place finish in this year’s WAVE Awards is vindicating, extending his gratitude for a year of support. “It’s nice to get recognition for working hard, trying to make people happy and bringing a place to St. Pete that is welcoming to everyone,” he says.

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