The Angry Pickle's house-made spicy pickles sit across the high-topped tables from hand-shaped burger patties and a selection of 14 draught beers in a casual eatery. Appetizers such as fried pickles, available in dill or a house-crafted angry spicy blend, named after Sporty Spice after her exposure to hulk-inducing gamma rays, dance across taste buds, and palatable jalapeño poppers burst into a culinary fireworks display of gooey cheese.
For 25 years, Big Top Brewing Company's founder Josh Wilson cut his teeth crafting small batches of beer for family and friends. Now at his own brewery, he brews a variety of craft beers inspired by Sarasotan history—especially its close ties to the Ringling Circus. His Circus City IPA, for instance, offers hoppy flavors with a bold finish. The Trapeze Monk, on the other hand, combines light notes of wheat and citrus, which is rumored to give trapeze artists confidence. In addition to five year-round beers, Josh also whips up 15 seasonal varieties and other experimental brews to expand his catalog.
Hearty brews from the local area, around the country, and all over the world take center stage at World of Beer Sarasota, with countless varieties on tap and hundreds of selections by the bottle. The selection is updated frequently, so each visit to World of Beer can mean discovering a new favorite brew. For those who aren't certified beerophiles, the modern brick-lined space also offers a selection of white and red wines. After grabbing a drink, patrons can head out to the outdoor patio to enjoy some of the bar's Rocky Patel cigars. In addition to serving the masses, World of Beer also hosts a constant stream of events, including ladies' nights, trivia nights, and performances from live bands.
"Hookah should always be an enjoyable, chillaxing experience." So says the staff at Lunar Starburst, where hookahs blossom into great clouds of steam and smoke. Puffing a choice of herbs, tobacco, or steam, guests relax in "a fun and carefree hookah lounge" that eschews intimidating staffers and strobe lights in favor of a more welcoming atmosphere. Lunar hosts encourage guests to plug their own iPhones and MP3 players into their sound system. They also schedule DJ visits, art gatherings, tarot readings, board-game nights, and video-game nights.
At Tiki Joe's, guests leave behind the worries of the workweek with the help of tropical cocktails, sports, and a spread of bar food. Fish tacos come loaded with blackened barramundi, and burgers are topped with grilled pineapple. There's baskets of zesty chicken wings, too, and pizzas piled with bacon and sausage. In addition, two full-service bars offer drinks such as the Sneaky Tiki—a blend of rum and fruit punch garnished with caged seagulls.