Sarasota's Beer Bars
Originally written 2013, updated August 2018.
I started writing a blog on bars in Sarasota, covering different scenes such as “Dance Club Bars” and “Sports Bars,” but had such a wealth of material for the “Beer Bar” section, that I decided to branch it off into its own blog. It’s a well known fact that I love beer. Dark beer in particular; porters and stouts are my favorite. It’s probably also a well known fact that there are some seriously wonderful beer-specific places for my fellow brew lovers to enjoy in Sarasota. Luckily for Sarasotans, the beer options around here are spread to every corner of our wonderful city. Allow me to highlight them for you now:
Central - Located right on Main Street in the heart of downtown, Tavern on Main (the bar formerly known as The Blue Owl), is a central location for Sarasota beer lovers. At any given time, they are pouring 35+ drafts. They have trivia on Mondays, live jazz on Wednesdays, karaoke on Thursdays, and a DJ every Friday night. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable so whether you’re new to the craft brew arena, or you’re an indecisive beer aficionado like me, the staff is always happy to give suggestions and help you find the best beer for you! I usually go in and ask for the bartender’s favorite thing on tap so far, I’ve not been disappointed. Bottom line: it’s a great place to pop into when you’re downtown. www.theblueowlbar.com
South - Mentioned before in my Happy Hours blog, south Sarasota’s Mr. Beery’s is still one of my favorite bars in town. Located on Mall Drive in Gulf Gate, this bar does so many special nights, I can’t even begin cover them all. I’m a quasi-regular at the weekly trivia on Thursday, and have been known to stop by Beer School on Tuesday nights when my life has permitted me to go, and I ran my first Hump Day 5K just a few weeks ago. A personal favorite, and something that everyone should try to make it to once, is the Beer Pairings night. They do beer pairings on Tuesdays as a segment of Beer School, and the best one to go to is beer and cheese. They pair cheese from Morton’s Gourmet Market with different beers to highlight the flavors of each. It is so tasty!! Needless to say, Mr. Beery’s is always doing something to which it’s worth going. www.mrbeeryssrq.com
North - World of Beer is located in the Cooper Creek area in north Sarasota by University and I-75. With over 500 beers under their roof, the true beer lover can’t miss WOB. They do trivia and beer school as well, though admittedly I’ve attended neither since I live on the south side of town. Events of theirs that I do make an effort to drive “all the way up to University” (my friends make fun of me for saying that) are their Brewery Spotlights. This month, they did a Cigar City Brewery Spotlight, showcasing a wide array of CGB beers for your enjoyment. A special perk if you work in the education, service, or medical profession: WOB thanks you by giving you special discount nights. Check out their website for that info. August 2018 update - World of Beer Closed.
West - In the west part of Sarasota is the little gem Growler’s Pub. Growler’s is located on Tamiami Trail between MLK and Myrtle. They have trivia too, on Wednesday nights. They have 30 taps full of American microbrews and imports. There also is a nice little outdoor area at this place, so I like to come here on summer nights when all I want is a cold beer and to sit outside. Situated nearby two of the area’s colleges, New College and Ringling School of Art & Design, Growler’s is a hangout for the college crowd, students and faculty alike. They feature live music frequently, occasionally spotlighting bands formed at New College or Ringling. www.growlersonline.com
East - Cock & Bull is definitely Sarasota’s oldest beer bar. The ones I’ve mentioned above have all sprouted out of nowhere since I moved here four years ago. Cock & Bull has been around and was Sarasota’s only beer bar for quite some time. That’s something to appreciate! It’s located off Cattleman south of Fruitville Road, with a giant area outside that I can only describe as the bar’s backyard. With its ample outdoor space, C&B has a lot of outdoor shows and events. More than anything, though, Cock & Bull is about what it should be about: perfect beer at the perfect temperature in the perfect glass. Cock and Bull.
Northeast - Oak and Stone is new to the scene. Well, at least new since we originally wrote this article in 2013. Any self respecting Midwesterner knows that fall weekends are for football, food, family and beer. But Brett Decklever had a dilemma. Where could he watch the game in his adopted hometown of Sarasota? Restaurants were out, the limited drink selections and uncomfortable atmosphere was not what he was looking for. Also a conventional bar was not the place to take his three young daughters to cheer on his team. Lamenting his problems to a few friends over craft beers, an idea started to emerge. What if they could create a place that was suitable for a boys night, a date night, and a family dinner? How could they take their love of local craft beer and turn it into an experience that aficionados would enjoy, without intimidating beer novices that just wanted a cold brew? And what goes better with beer than pizza? The friends knew they had a great idea. However, with a background in real estate, Brett understood he was hardly a restaurateur. Fortunately, he knew a guy. Read more at Oak and Stone.
So go forth and enjoy our many options for a mug/glass/pint of superb beer in this town, and please enjoy responsibly! :)