Old School Bar and Grill joins the downtown Sarasota nightlife scene Thursday (Sept. 5) with an opening weekend bash featuring a performance by the Nashville-based neoclassic rock act The Chris Weaver Band, which will also be performing at the new, non-smoking venue Friday and Saturday. Doors open to the public at 9 p.m. at the newly renovated location behind Applebee’s, near the Regal Cinemas Hollywood Stadium 20 Movie Theater.
The long bar is accessible from the inside and outside, with numerous booths and tables for alfresco dining. There’s a full bar and food will be served from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week with slices of pizzas for sale after 10 p.m. until the 2 a.m. closing time.
“We are going to serve gourmet bar food,” said Old School co-owner Karl Raffurtey, a former Longboat Key Club bartender, while overseeing finishing touches on his new place last week. “We’ll have great burgers, wings, pizza, pulled pork sandwiches and stuff like that.”
Raffurtey has also created a changing menu of specialty cocktails, including drinks he perfected while bartending at the Longboat Key Club tiki bar.
“There will always be lots of different drinks specials each night,” he said.
Old School Bar’s walls will be decorated with memorabilia mostly from the 1970s and ’80s as well as items from old movies including, yes, the 2003 Will Ferrell comedy hit “Old School.” Flat screens adorning the walls inside and out will show sports and old movies. Bands will perform Friday and Saturday evenings.
Chuck Johnson, Old School Bar’s other owner, “has extensive restaurant experience throughout the United States with ownership of several Bonefish restaurants, Papa John’s, Burger Kings and local bars in the heart of Nashville,” reads an email from Old School’s publicist. “He will bring his experience and Nashville connections to showcase some great live acts.”
Old School Bar and Grill
1991 Main St., Sarasota; 915-4695