Sarasota isn't far from Latin America to begin with, but Copa Restaurant & Lounge makes it feel right next door with a full menu headlined by cuban sandwiches, Spanish-style steak, and hearty chicken stew. The drinks are similarly flavorful, with tropical fusions showcasing some of Latin America's finest fruits.
Ruby's speakeasy-style cantina slings frothy brews and heady cocktails against the velvety melodies of live jazz and blues crooners. Jazz jams on Monday nights highlight some of the area's most notable brass blowers, providing a stellar soundtrack for sipping on a slew of bottled beers ($2.95–$5.95), voluptuous vinos ($6.95 / house wines, $10.95 / upper-level varietals), and craft suds and ciders from Magic Hat, Stella Artois, and Strongbow ($4.95). Air-trumpet along to the infectious melodies bursting from Lounge Cat's weekly sets while raising a spiced-pear or espresso martini ($8.95) to the Ruby's pin-up style décor and bronzed collection of discarded mouthpieces and pork-pie hats.
A cultural fixture in the islands of the South Pacific, kava is derived from the roots of the Piper methysticum, and is typically consumed at a nakamal, or central village meeting area. Bula Kafe transports these traditions to the shores of the Florida Gulf, filling coconut shells with the cool beverage and serving them at its outdoor commons. Known for its medicinal properties, the kava root is first ground into powder and then steeped in water, resulting in an elixir that helps calm the body and relieve anxiety brought on by a phobia of dry powder. Along with traditional kava beverages, the bamboo-framed hut purveys such hot and cold delights as spiced chai, fruit smoothies, and frozen horchata.
Set amid an all-outdoor bar, Bula Kafe turns up the fans during hot months and warms its barstools with space heaters and tiki torches during the winter. Throughout the entire year, guests enjoy bouts of table tennis and darts, or compete in high-stakes sessions of board games such as Apples to Apples and Battleship as others strum on acoustic guitars, sip silently as they read a book, or surf the internet on free WiFi. Though the listed closing times are midnight on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends, the staff is known for accommodating late revelers with advance notice.
Tryst Gastro Lounge’s chefs draw in diners with their roast duck breast with maple glaze, which helped earn them recognition as one of America's Most Popular High End Restaurants in 2012 on Urbanspoon.com. Behind the full bar, Logan Owens, the Tampa Bay Times’ Ultimate Bartender in 2012, also does his share to lure customers as he crafts specialty cocktails with muddled fresh fruit, herbs, and spirits. Owens infuses a pear lychee-tini with lychee purée and sake or custom blends an off-menu libation dubbed a "Logan Special," which he designs to suit each imbiber's palate. Tufted leather booths inside the black-and-white-wallpapered dining area absorb posteriors while taste buds absorb cocktails. Alternately, the outdoor patio gives guests the chance to raise their glasses up high in a toast to clouds that look like Winston Churchill.
For fairly-priced sushi in St. Petersburg, you can't beat Rollbotto Sushi. Featuring a simple menu of foods that are served with the elegance and style of a high-end sushi bar, Rollbotto is perfect for someone seeking the seemingly impossible combination of low prices and high quality. Start with a cucumber salad or a bowl of piping-hot miso soup and then move on to an order of rolls—you can get your sushi rolls customized by requesting they be topped with one of Rollbotto's signature mixes, such as the volcano mix featuring spicy mayo, teriyaki sauce and a seafood blend. For a great Japanese meal that won't burn a hole in your wallet, try Rollbotto's.
Let them take you to downtown Tokyo at Hiro’s Tokyo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. The decor at Hiro’s is modern with its clean lines, exposed pipes, and red and white accents. The food at Hiro’s reflects its style. It’s fresh, enticing, and innovative. The menu includes dishes like seasoned baby octopus, seared steak with ponzu sauce, and the Jump Up and Kiss Me. Join them for lunch or dinner and enjoy an array of options from the kitchen and from the sushi bar. And, don’t worry if you’re a sushi beginner! The servers and chefs here are more than happy to help you out. Be sure to check out their late night special menu!