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The Bar Tab: The Broadway Bar

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The Broadway Bar is one of the few pubs in Sarasota that dates back to the roaring ‘20s (1925, to be exact).

The Broadway Bar is one of the few pubs in Sarasota that dates back to the roaring ‘20s (1925, to be exact).

It is one of the few bars in town that dates back to the roaring ‘20s, and it continues to be ultra sleek for an antique: the Broadway Bar. Catch a showing of “The Great Gatsby” at downtown’s Hollywood 20 before a sip at this retro speakeasy.

If you have not frequented the Sarasota icon in a couple of years or decades, consider reintroducing yourself this summer. You will be treated to a new trivia evening and an Irish night, not to mention a daily happy hour and beer-and-pizza deals.

“This is a place where, once you find us, you keep coming back. We have the best pizza in town and the best people,” says general manager Brad Dwight.

Those people—the bubbly staff members—bring you happy hour from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with discounted drafts, well drinks and wines. You can grab a domestic draft beer pitcher and get half off large cheese pizza from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday. Try bartender Allison Sgambelluri’s sweet peach sangria or Anna Efthimiou’s recommended antipasto after a musical at the Players Theatre.

Monday night trivia starts at 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 17 with emcee Cody Beaver, who will be offering giveaways and bar specials. Irish nights with Paul Duffy will run from 6 to 9 p.m., at the same time every week, starting Sun. June 23.

“These new nights are going to be a lot of fun. It’s just a great space for it—a friendly atmosphere where you can relax,” Dwight says.

That atmosphere teems with history. The Broadway is the second-oldest bar in the county, having opened in 1925. Nearly 40 years later, “Big Tony” Armento and his wife, Mimi, bought the restaurant and packed the menu with recipes from Palermo, Italy. Then, in 1990, Armento’s niece, Carolyn Heath, took (and continues to hold) the reins. She has maintained the integrity of the original Broadway while bringing into the 21st century with its neighborhood pub ambiance and young, enthused team.

Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with discounted drafts, well drinks and wines. Also, try the peach sangria, a new summer item.

Happy hour is from 3 to 7 p.m. daily with discounted drafts, well drinks and wines. Also, try the peach sangria, a new summer item.

Throughout the Broadway’s run, celebrities such as Henry Mancini, Rita Moreno, and members of the Black Crowes and the Allman Brothers Band, have dined here. Regulars dig the cracker crust pizzas (which, by the way, come in gluten-free varieties if you ask) and the red-and-black sports bar décor. The self-proclaimed “best pizza in town” is custom order friendly, whether you want the Philly Cheese Steak or the South of the Border option.

Get lighter with the Broadway walnut salad with roasted red peppers, asparagus and mozzarella cheese in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Then, fill back up with $11 Shock Top pitchers. Have a private party on the upper deck for 60 people inside and 50 on the patio. There is even a second full bar up there.

Come back on Fri. July 5 for a pre-parade party, before the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix’s Festival Parade of Boats hits downtown Sarasota at 7 p.m. There will be a live DJ spinning, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit local children’s charities.

Revisit the Broadway and remember how much a vintage classic rules.

The Broadway Bar
1001 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota
953-4343; broadwaybar.com
Last modified: September 13, 2013
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