Any true traveler knows, if you want the lowdown on the best spots in town you have to ask a local. Sure, review sites and guidebooks can offer a scoop, but if you want more than a spoonful, your best bet is to find a friendly face and politely interrogate her on what’s hot, what’s not, and who serves the best drink.
Should a foreigner frequent our fair city with the same list of questions, LBar would receive a resounding “must-see” as the newest, hottest place to be.
Let’s rewind a second. If you’ve lived in Sarasota for more than five minutes, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Seidensticker family. Maybe you don’t know them by name, but you surely have heard of the establishments under the umbrella of their family-owned organization, TableSeide Restaurant Group. Libby’s Cafe + Bar, Louies Modern, Modern Events, and Muse at The Ringling have become household names to those who live here, and now LBar joins that list as TableSeide’s most seductive spot.
OK, now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s talk about LBar, the hidden gem nestled within Libby’s side room. This place is hot. It’s part speakeasy and part gastropub, meaning it’s a sexy, swanky space that supplies splendid supper, stellar spirits and serves up some seriously cool entertainment as well. It is both masculine and feminine in its every detail. The walls are dark and adorned with art from a time gone by, while thick velvet curtains drape the windows. Antique furniture, including Victorian sofas and a vintage chess table, complete the dimly lit decor.
LBar has only been open a few months, but already it’s already attracted quite a crowd with a cocktail menu as seductive as the entertainment the bar’s been booking. Black Diamond, Vocal Vixens, Lotta Love—these aren’t drink names, friends, these are artists whose songs and dances offer the same nod to yesteryear as the Barrel Aged Sazerac and the Salted Maple Manhattan. The drink menu showcases an intense level of thoughtfulness in paying homage to the custom-crafted cocktail with small-batch bourbons and intriguing ingredients like lavender water, cinnamon syrup, chile agave and blood orange. Try a Spiced Pear Sour or elevate your libation with an assortment of bitters such as Black Walnut or Rhubarb. Not into spirits? Not an issue as LBar isn’t just a one-bourbon pony. Craft brews, an impressive wine list, and even botanical waters round out the impressive drink menu.
Speaking of bellies and bars, cozy up to this counter top for more than a refreshment. LBar’s signature food menu is small but mighty with a selection of bites that is as equally enchanting as its booze, like the Smoked Mahi Dip or Potato Crusted Spam Fries with Garlic Chili Aioli. Looking for something bigger than a bar snack? Lucky you, LBar shares its kitchen with Libby’s, which means your neighborhood favorites are just a “Bartender, may I have ...” away.
Take it from a local: LBar is your next night out.
LBar: 1917 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota; 941-487-7300; libbyscafebar.com
BY MEGAN GREENBERG / PHOTOGRAPHY BY KATHRYN BRASS-PIPER