COMMENTS

Thanksgiving Eve is a big night out

/
Beach Club HT Archives 1

The Beach Club in Siesta Village will be packed Wednesday during the annual Turkey Trot pub crawl. HERALD-TRIBUNE / ARCHIVES

While parents labor in the kitchen preparing for the Thanksgiving Day feeding frenzy and make mental shopping lists for Black Friday, their college-age children are texting, tweeting and clicking on Facebook event pages, making plans for Thanksgiving Eve.

From Siesta Key to downtown Bradenton, the night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest nights of the year for local clubs and nightspots as college students gather to meet friends they haven’t seen in months.

Peter Wronski, a University of Florida senior and 2010 Riverview High graduate, says he’d probably skip Thanksgiving Dinner before he missed Thanksgiving Eve.

It’s a safe bet some of his peers would make the same choice.

“In Sarasota, it’s one of the top party nights of the year,” he says. “It’s like a high school reunion; you get to see all your friends you can only see once or twice all year.”

Siesta Village throws an annual pub crawl called Turkey Trot that starts at 9 p.m. In Sarasota, six nightspots are offering a new Downtown Turkey Trolley beginning at 8:30 p.m. And Bradenton welcomes hordes of revelers by turning Old Main Street into a traffic-free zone around 5 p.m.

Wronski’s party plans are Siesta Village because, he says, “that’s where everybody goes.” The village’s annual Turkey Trot pub crawl starts at 9 p.m.

Mike Granthon owns The Cottage, The Hub Baja Grill and The Beach Club, three of Siesta Village’s most popular nightspots. He ranks Thanksgiving Eve as the “number one or number two” best business date of the year. Labor Day and Memorial Day are the only other holidays that come close as far as alcohol sales, he says.

Beach Club HT Archives 2

The Beach Club in Siesta Village will be packed Wednesday during the annual Turkey Trot pub crawl. HERALD-TRIBUNE / ARCHIVES

Elizabeth Harrison, a UF senior who graduated from Braden River in 2010, also plans to spend part of her night at the Turkey Trot. Like Wronski, she will be joined by a giddy gaggle of friends from high school.

Downtown Sarasota clubs are starting something new this year to attract the college crowd. Six nightspots have joined forces to offer the Downtown Turkey Trolley, a bus that will loop from bar to bar until 2:30 a.m.

“Basically, Thanksgiving Eve for us is usually about as busy as a regular Friday night,” says Gator Club owner Larry Siegel. “Siesta Key traditionally does the Turkey Trot and it gets insane with mostly the younger people there. So Evie’s, Old School, Tavern on Main, Smokin’ Joes, Ivory and Gator Club rented a trolley that goes to all of our bars.”

Downtown Bradenton’s Old Main Street, where Main Street Live transforms the road leading to the Manatee River into a block party the third Thursday of every month, is closed to traffic again for Thanksgiving Eve.

“Historically, it’s the biggest bar night of the year,” says Rick Willats, manager at O’Bricks Irish Pub & Martini Bar and president of the Old Main Street Merchants Association. “The police like us to close the street for safety reasons because so many people come downtown that night.”

Tow to Go, a partnership between AAA and Anheuser-Busch offered based on availability of AAA service technicians and tow trucks during times of high call volume, provides a confidential local ride within a 10-mile radius to a safe location. Service is provided in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. It's free and available to both AAA members and non-members. The AAA tow truck takes the vehicle and the driver home. If you would like to use the Tow to Go program this Thanksgiving weekend, call (855) 286-9246. The program is valid November 28 through December 1.

Tow to Go, a partnership between AAA and Anheuser-Busch offered based on availability of AAA service technicians and tow trucks during times of high call volume, provides a confidential local ride within a 10-mile radius to a safe location. Service is provided in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. It's free and available to both AAA members and non-members. The AAA tow truck takes the vehicle and the driver home. If you would like to use the Tow to Go program this Thanksgiving weekend, call (855) 286-9246. The program is valid November 28 through December 1.

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo created what would eventually be called Bar Tab while working as a correspondent for the Herald-Tribune in 2003. He would continue writing about bars for Maxim, Tampa Bay Times, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, OC (Calif.) Weekly and The Fort Collins (Colo.) Coloradoan. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune as a staff writer in 2013 and has happily returned to writing our weekly column Bar Tab. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: November 26, 2013
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.
COMMENTS