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Bar Tab: Navigating Osprey-Nokomis haunts

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CaseyKeyFishHouse

Casey Key Fish House.

The Osprey-Nokomis duo may not be as cohesive as a bar-hopping destination as some of us would like (and many may not even realize how nocturnally lively the landscape can be). Despite the far-apart, zigzagging stops along South Tamiami Trail and Blackburn Point Road out to Casey Key, there is reason enough to book a party bus for an evening and shuttle back and forth.

When heading south from downtown Sarasota, park for a Spanish Point Southern Classic mango margarita or a Purple People Eater cocktail at Spanish Pointe Restaurant and Pub (135 Bayview Dr., Osprey. 966-5746; spanishpointe.com). Little Sarasota Bay’s Intracoastal Waterway glistens as live bands jam, and chili dogs lead to bread pudding with bourbon whiskey sauce.

For less Jimmy Buffett and more Harley Davidson, there is the Hoosier Bar (748 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey. 966-1251; thehoosierbar.com), which has a late-night menu, biker regulars and unpretentious brews. Wash down cheesy bread and corn dogs with Hoosier Punch (a Kraken black spiced rum blend) or a cold domestic bottle.

Staycationers veer toward Bentley’s Osprey Beach Tiki Bar and Grill (1660 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey. 966-2121; bentleyssarasota.com) for Rolls-Royce Rum Runners, pulled pork eats and poolside sipping. It is a posh boutique hotel that resembles a city in itself (did we mention it has an underground nightclub and lounge onsite?) and as the night winds down, a reservation just feels right.

Small-batch bourbon varieties, single-malt scotches and banana daiquiris pack the drink list at Saltwater Café (1071 Tamiami Trail N., Nokomis. 488-3775; saltwatercafe.com). And here you though this locale was just about oysters at the raw bar and seafood steam pots. Do not leave without a sample of a “liquid dessert” like the Crème Brulee with butterscotch schnapps, or the Ultimate Chocolatini with Vermeer dutch chocolate cream liqueur.

Grouper reubens, fried sea scallops and deviled crab cakes demand a sweet, frozen finisher like a Passion Colada at Pop’s Sunset Grill (112 Circuit Road, Nokomis. 488-3177; popssunsetgrill.net). You will want to visit on a discount draft beer Thirsty Thursday or an all-you-can eat Fish Fry Friday.

Casey Key Fish House (801 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey. 966-1901; caseykeyfishhouse.com) boasts a Polynesian chickee-style tiki bar that illuminates when the sun rests. Boaters are known to drop anchor at the waterfront spot and meander ashore for stone crab claws, monkfish platters and Mai Tais.

Not to be neglected is one of the area’s newer haunts: Bimini Bar and Grill (576 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey. 966-4816; biminibarandgrill.com), which opened last summer at Channel Marker 33. The Bimini Twist Fizz, the Stress Reliever and the Bermuda Triangle are among the signatures, and there are microbrews and hot crab dips at the bar. So, there you are. Pass it onto your party bus chauffeur.

Last modified: September 13, 2013
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