Your Florida State tailgating guide, plus the best Tallahassee bars and restaurants

Ronald Martinez

Like their Panhandle rival Florida, the Seminoles keep the tailgate scene a bit more low-key. Also, we polled FSU fans on the best spots to grab a meal or a drink -- Monk's, Momo's, Gordo's, and Guthrie's are among the most popular.

Florida State is back in the hunt for a college football national title, sporting a 7-0 record and a bona fide Heisman Trophy candidate in redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. The Seminoles host rival Miami, another 7-0 team, this Saturday, marking the biggest home game of the year. So, what will fans visiting Tallahassee find in the way of tailgating?

"I'll catch heat for this, but Florida State's tailgating is not up to par with the big tailgating schools," said Bud Elliott, managing editor at Tomahawk Nation and SB Nation's national recruiting analyst. "People are not going all-out or treating it like a sport. FSU's tailgating scene is fairly spread out. There's really no quad like you would see at Alabama. The campus is fairly small, and people tailgate all over the place. The hot spots are primarily booster lots outside of the stadium."

We've heard this sort of sentiment before, and it came from another football power in North Florida. When Alligator Army's Andy Hutchins described the Gators' tailgating scene last month, he called it "not crazy like at some of the other SEC schools, and not quite as popular as it used to be." Whether it's the heat and humidity or just an intense focus on football that blocks everything out, they do it differently in the Sunshine State. Providing a serious spread of homemade food isn't a big deal at FSU, but you're likely to find some fans who are down to party.

"This is really a mixed bag, depending largely on the age and demographic of the specific tailgate," Elliott said, describing what one might find at a typical Seminoles tailgate. "There are some who will start pounding liquor early on, and some who will take it a bit easier with beer. People definitely cook less at Florida State than at some of the more famous tailgates (LSU, 'Bama, etc.)."

While the tailgating scene is toned-down compared to the goings-on at schools that take it seriously, Tallahassee still offers a good college-town experience when it comes to locals. In addition to being home to FSU, the city is the state capitol and boasts nearby Florida A&M.

"The nightlife in Tallahassee is as good as any typical college town," Elliott said. "The bar scene has plenty for college kids looking to get wasted along the strip, there's Midtown for a bit older crowd, and the "College Town" area by the stadium is new as well and very popular."

As for the local bar and restaurant scene, we turned to a broader panel of experts:

Whatever the tailgating atmosphere at Florida State is normally like, it should be turned up this weekend. Miami is in town, and for the first time in years, the rivalry has big-time national implications. Don't expect a light crowd.

"I think it will be FSU's best tailgate of the year, certainly, because it will likely be the only night game," said Elliott. "Miami did return 4,000 of its 10,000 ticket allotment, so I am not sure how many Miami folks will be tailgating. But it should be packed."

More from SB Nation college football:

Full Week 10 college football TV schedule guide

Why Florida State should destroy Miami

And why Florida State would be favored to beat Oregon

FAU coaches gone due to smoking marijuana, apparently

• Long reads: Chip Kelly’s New Hampshire laboratory | Why we love college football

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