View From The Sarasota Sky Bar and Club



Chicago-style rails, granite tops, dim lighting and a huge stage for local bands to perform—this is Sarasota Sky Bar and Club, Sarasota’s latest addition to the night-owl scene and one targeted towards a more mature crowd. A smoke-free establishment located in the Charles Ringling building and adjacent to McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, the bar celebrated its opening on September 23 with a live performance from 1960s-themed local band, Robin & the Retros.

When entering the 7,000-square-foot facility, guests are met by a doorman and two options: go right, where a polished concrete dance floor, a bar, an elevated stage featuring an impressive sound system silhouetted by a 15-by-25-foot photo of the Cà d’Zan and tables for seating await, or go left, where the bar continues into a second bar, a wine rack and a billiards room. An interior balcony overlooking the main stage and dance floor will be accessible by stairs or elevator and a private lounge area with darts and a big-screen TV will be located behind the red curtains on the second floor.

Paying respect to the building and to the Ringling family, the owners of Sarasota Sky want to attract people in their 30s through 60s to keep the 20th-century vibe of the historic building, but similar to previous tenants, Margarita Maggie’s and Froggy’s, they'll aim to keep the dance floor packed and the alcohol flowing.

Looking for timeless tunes, the owners have booked musicians like Oceans Eleven, Nothin’ Past Midnite, Sarasota Rhythm Section and reggae groups such as Democracy and Jah Movement—acts with local followings known for playing familiar, danceable cover songs, most from decades past. “People that live here are either retired or about to be and they have no place to go dancing,” says co-owner Alex Hagush, “It’s either disco or hip-hop, so here you can dance all you want with a live band, a sizeable dance floor and a true AC environment.” The bar will also host salsa nights featuring a Colombian classic band that plays salsa, merengue and Colombian jazz.

While keeping an emphasis on booking local bands, local liquors are also a big deal for Sarasota Sky. Featuring Siesta Key rum, the establishment will similarly offer vodka made in St. Augustine, whiskey produced in Florida and local beers from Darwins, Jdubs, Motorworks, Big Top and Cigar City. Partnering with King Family Farms from Bradenton, Sky Bar’s incoming seasonal cocktails can be paired with local mangos, raspberries or strawberries—something to say “Hey! You’re in Sarasota.”

Due to the immense interior of the Charles Ringling building, Hagush envisions many future projects for the building. By partnering with Tony and Marie Tannus, the couple who also own and operate The Meadows Village Pub & Grill, cold cuts will eventually be offered for guests to nibble on. The third floor is expected to have a bright future as Hagush hopes to convert the space into an art gallery for Ringling College of Art and Design students to display their artwork. “Guests will have the chance to access the third floor and check out the artwork,” says Hagush. “If they pick something they like we’re not planning on charging any commissions. Money will go to the kids to pay for tuition.”

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