Alright, let’s face facts, Sarasota isn’t quite known for being a late night type of town. Most of our residents consider 10pm to be sunrise, and eating or drinking anything at midnight might as well be breakfast. But, there are many of us out there looking to enjoy our Friday and Saturday nights well past sundown. Luckily, we have a few restaurants willing to stay open and play from PM to AM, serving savory dishes and some kick ass cocktails.
And wouldn’t you just know it - they all happen to be Sarasota Manatee Originals.
Drunken Poet Cafe
Thai Bistro and Sushi Bar
This little gem is located smack dab in the heart of Main Street. Voted ‘Best of Downtown’ in 2007 and ‘Sarasota’s Best Sushi’ in 2008, this Asian cafe has been reinventing Japanese and Thai cuisine for years. Sarasota ladies looking for a sexy man need look no further than Drunken Poet’s famed ‘Sexy Man Roll’ complete with sexy sauce. After all, what’s a weekend without sexy sauce? It’s not a weekend worth remembering, I can tell you that much. Drunken Poet prides itself on sophisticated dining, contemporary menu items and a great atmosphere. Win win win. This sweet little eatery is open til midnight on weekends, which means you can dance your heart out at Ivory and then saunter over for a roll or some Tom Khar Gai, as nothing pairs quite as well with Lemon Drop shots like Thai coconut soup. Trust me on this. However, if you aren’t even sure what a Lemon Drop is and you’re only out late because 10pm is what time The Avengers let out, no worries, that Tom Khar Gai pairs just as beautifully with a debate over who was the best superhero.
Pick the Sexy Man Roll, obviously. Tuna, avocado, tempura eel and sexy sauce combine to make sweet love in your mouth. If you are a dude who feels uncomfortable ordering a ‘sexy man’ than move to North Carolina and get yourself some miso soup. For the rest of us, we’ll be stuffed to the gills with sexy sauce.
We also recommend the Chef Ginch Roll - smoked salmon, eel, goat cheese, cucumber, topped with sea urchin and roe. Am I the only person who thinks that sounds amazing? Sea urchin, goat cheese AND roe? Is it Christmas? This is outstanding.
It’s a Japanese sushi bar, for Pete’s sake. Get one of Drunken Poet’s premium sakes, of course. Lots and lots of sake. Then get some more sake. Then let the Green Hopper take you home.
Lunch - Dinner
Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday: 11am - Midnight
You had me at Irish Bar. Don’t let the ‘Greenberg’ fool you, this ‘Megan’ comes from a long line of Kennedys and McNallys. I can down a car bomb faster than I can get into a bar fight after making an off-color joke about a priest and a rabbi. Too much? Not into stereotypes? Well, that pretty much kills our ability to be friends. The Irish are pretty much the best people in the world. Loads of laughter - usually at our own expense, family get togethers filled with singing, step-dancing and accordions, long-standing traditions of talking as loudly as possible all at the same time, Cork Cottage pies and Jameson - yeah, nothing beats being Irish. Lynches Pub is owned and operated by sisters Chris and Ethna, who were born and raised in County Cork, Ireland, which means they are the real deal. These lassies are livening up St. Armand’s Circle after dark with the perfect pub atmosphere for singing, dancing and meeting new friends - meeting new friends is, of course, a classic Irish Tradition.
Get the Brie and Avocado Starter. People, if something has brie and/or avocado in it, you get it. No questions asked. Just eat as much brie and avocado as humanly possible. Then eat nothing else at all, ever, so the calories and fat balance out.
Order off the ‘Real Irish’ menu and get yourself a Cork Cottage Pie - ground sirloin in a rich gravy, topped with creamy mashed potatoes, baked to a golden brown. Sometimes I hear people talk about ‘comfort foods’ and they are referring to something God awful like a package of Doritos (sorry Doritos) or an ice cream bar (comforting, yes, comfort food, no) - THIS is comfort food. Anything rich with gravy and mashed potatoes that’s baked until it’s ooey and gooey and bubbling and has that perfect golden crust that all food should have all the time - oh sweet baby (insert Gaelic name here), THAT is comfort food.
You’re at an Irish Pub. You should have at least two drinks in hand. One of them should contain Guinness and the other should contain Whiskey. Might I suggest the Black Velvet, which is a mix of Guinness and Cider, and an Irish Coffee. If you are in the vicinity of real Irish coffee and you don’t order one, St. Peter himself will come down from the pearly gates and karate chop you in the neck.
Monday - Saturday: 11am - Midnight
Sunday: 12pm - 10pm
Ceviche is just gorgeous. All around gorgeous. The four story restaurant, in the historic Times building built in 1925, has an incredible rooftop bar that offers views of the Bay and gorgeous sunsets that just happen to coincide perfectly with happy hour. I love Ceviche. I just can’t help myself. They offer everything, EVERYTHING, all under one roof. It’s the perfect place for almost any event - girl’s night, date night, family visiting, happy hour, sunset viewing, dancing, whatever. Plus, it’s like a ‘choose your own adventure’ game as you can change your atmosphere by simply switching floors. For years my favorite cocktail in the world was Ceviche’s Dirty Bird Martini. What espresso has to do with a dirty bird, I shall never know - even though Google is right at my fingertips, I prefer the mystery of it all. There are many espresso martinis out there, but none quite like the Ceviche creation. I digress. Ceviche’s menu is about as long as War and Peace and deserves just as much literary credit. No matter what your palate, Ceviche has a menu item to suit your tastes. Unless you’re in the mood for a grilled cheese. Ceviche does not have grilled cheeses. But, they do have everything from calamari to oxtail, from scallops to olives to ham to duck, from sushi grade tuna to braised lamb shank to crispy sweetbreads to mushrooms drowning in cream and sherry. You get the point. Ceviche has it all - for the eyes, for the mouth, for the senses.
Ok, here’s my usual order. Just go with it. :)
Pate De Higado De Pollo - Mousse of chicken liver and Madeira wine on crostini. I can’t resist this dish, even while I’m explaining to the waiter that I’m a vegetarian. They go hand in hand - vegetarianism and chicken livers. Don’t you think?
Vieiras Puerros - Grilled large sea scallops served with leeks, fresh herbs, Manchego cheese and Spanish sherry cream sauce. Yum.
Espinacas - Sautéed spinach with figs, honey and garlic. This sounds so simple, and it is, but it’s pure perfection. The spinach is warm and sauteed down in a beautiful marriage between sweet figs and honey and roasted garlic. You need this in your life. Every day.
Champinones de Sevilla - Four types of mushrooms sautéed with sherry over goat cheese and toasted bread. Seriously delicious. Even if you are under the (wrong) impression that you don’t like mushrooms, please try this. It’s so delicious. The sherry gives it that little oomph that so many of us love in bisques.
La Turista - A delicious quencher; Amsterdam Gin, agave nectar, fresh muddled lime and basil, chilled, shaken vigorously, strained over ice with a fresh basil garnish. Perfect for summer and sunsets and overall happiness in life.
THE DIRTY BIRD!!!! - The best Espresso Martini in town - featuring Smirnoff Espresso Vodka, Caffé Lolita and fresh Lavazza Espresso. Best drink ever.
5 p.m. - 12 a.m. (Tues-Thur)
5 p.m. - 1 a.m. (Fri-Sat)
5 p.m. - 11 p.m. (Sun)
7 p.m. - 2 a.m. (Fri-Sat)
Loco Luna - Rooftop Bar:
4 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. (Tue-Thur)
4 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. (Fri-Sat)
5 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. (Sun)
So go on Sarasota, get out there, enjoy a night on the town. Whether ‘night on the town’ means going out dancing, going to the movies or just heading home from babysitting a friend’s kid while they go out dancing, just know that Sarasota has some sweet spots just waiting to serve you late night. But if you end up with a hangover, don’t blame us. Ok, perhaps you can blame us. I did tell you to double fist a Guinness and some whiskey, after all.
15 South Ristorante • Andrea’s • Anna Maria Oyster Bar • Beachhouse Restaurant • The Bijou Café • Blu Que Island Grill • Brasserie Belge • Bridge Street Bistro • Broken Egg Restaurants • Café Baci • Café Continental • Café Venice Restaurant & Wine Bar • Cantina Toscana • Caragiulos • Ceviche Tapas Bar and Restaurant • Ciao! Italia • Cosimo’s Brick Oven • The Crow’s Nest • Derek’s Culinary Casual • Drunken Poet Café • Euphemia Haye • Fast n Fresh • Gold Rush BBQ • Harry’s Continental Kitchens • Libby’s Cafe + Bar • Lobster Pot • Lynches Pub & Grub • Madfish Grill • Mar Vista • Mi Pueblo • Michael’s On East • Michelle’s Brown Bag Café • Ophelia’s on the Bay • Ortygia Restaurant • Pattigeorge’s • Polo Grill and Bar • Primo! Ristorante • Rotten Ralph’s • Salute! Restaurant • Sandbar Seafood & Spirits • Savory Street • Sharky’s on the Pier • Siesta Key Oyster Bar • SoMa Diner • Square 1 • Tandoor Indian Restaurant • The Sandbar • The Savory Street • The Waterfront Restaurant • Vertori’s • Village Cafe