Swing open the grand double doors of Veronica Fish and Oyster. A wind stream envelops you, rich in génération perdue nostalgia, flooded with the ghosts of James Joyce and Ernest Hemingway in the midst of an “alcoholic spree,” perched precariously at the high-top Carrera marble bar. See Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound huddled over haphazard manuscripts and half-smoked cigarettes at the seaweed-green velour couches. Hear the beaded bottoms of tasseled flapper skirts clink and clap to vinyl-spun tunes trumpeting from the brass phonograph above the bar. Smell the oysters’ salty brine musk mid-shuck mix with the chapped leather of the barstools modeled after the those within New York’s storied Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Though steeped in speakeasy sensibility, Prohibition never has (and never will) find its way to the latest watering hole from Mark Caragiulo, whose family name carries significant weight around these parts—think Owen’s Fish Camp, Shore Diner and the classic Caragiulo’s Italian. But Veronica veers down a different path than any of his other establishments. An air of mystery and history and deep-sea lore drips from every cranny of the Southside Village corner-wrapped restaurant, with antique sepia globes, bronze conch shells, well-worn sailor uniforms and stopped maritime clocks carefully placed throughout.

A seat at one of Veronica’s metal- and wood-topped tables already in high demand, Caragiulo says the concept behind this haunt for local, bright young things is all about creating a singular identity, stemming from the imaginary life of a character in an Elvis Costello song. “The song ‘Veronica’ was written about a woman with dementia, so he imagined her life where she’s a young girl with a boy and they go out to sea and never return,” says Caragiulo, breaking into song. “I always loved that imagery, with battleships and undersea mermaids—which is where our logo comes from, a late-19th century rendering of a mermaid dress, which kind of speaks to the crazy mind of Veronica. Something about that creepiness I love.”

Maniacal iron figureheads hang suspended from the ceiling, holding globe lights that bathe your plate in a soft glow. A supper club vibe pervades the dining room as well as the menu, Executive Chef Mark Majorie elevating the fare to a step above your basic fish and chips. Settle into the cracked leather, curved banquettes or hangout at the long bar and snack on seared scallop crudo with zesty Florida orange, crunchy slivers of cellophane-clear pickled fennel, feta cheese and flakes of sea salt. Sit in the 47-year-old chairs pulled from the old Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant and order the Two Crab Fazzolletti—one wide noodle flanked by king crab, blue crab, black truffles and chanterelle, oyster and lobster mushrooms in a fish fume sauce—or the chicken and dumplings, whose dumplings appear in the form of sweet-pea-stuffed capeletti pasta, the white meat prepared sous vide and seared, the dark meat slow-cooked to melt in your mouth. Curl up on the velveteen loveseats and sip on cocktails named for British battleships—the Dreadnought, the Barfleur, the Empress of India. “I’m most interested in what your perception of the experience was when you tell your friends,” says Caragiulo. “I hope it’s that cool, classic oyster house that’s high-energy and fun with clever, well-executed food.”

Veronica Fish and Oyster Bar, 1830 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-1342.