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Sarasota’s nightlife scene lights up once the last dinners are served, transforming many of the city’s restaurants into popular hangouts. Restaurant lounges fill up early for happy hours, and the young (and young-at-heart) come out to dance and romance sometime after 10pm.

Sarasota Nightlife

15 South Ristorante Enoteca

Latin-music lovers get their fix every Friday and Sunday night, sambaing around the dance floor as this Italian restaurant transforms into a weekend hot spot. (On other nights the entertainment varies, from jazz to rock ‘n’ roll.) Rest at one of 25 bar stools or venture outside to soak in St. Armands’ lovely Mediterranean setting from a second-story balcony.

15 S. Blvd. of Presidents, FL, 877-708-8312,
Tags: nightlife | moderate | trendy | live entertainment | dancing

Cà d’Zan Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota

The dance floor can be packed just as equally with locals as resort guests, depending on the live entertainment that is rocking this elegant lounge. Clubhouse furnishings inside and clusters of seats on the veranda offer plenty of places for a breather as you sip a signature chocolate martini.

1111 Ritz-Carlton Dr., FL, 941-309-2000,
Tags: nightlife | expensive | smart splurge | live entertainment

Five O’Clock Club

Although an 8-hour happy hour beginning at noon is certainly an enticement to arrive early, the party doesn’t really get started at this legendary dive until about 10pm, when live entrainment takes the stage. Looking for blues and jazz worthy of Chicago or New Orleans? You’ll find it here on most Mondays. Wednesday is ladies’ night; the rest of the week brings eclectic sounds, from reggae to rock.

1930 Hillview St., FL, 941-366-5555,
Tags: nightlife | moderate | live entertainment | jazz


Designer drinks are the lure at this hipster lounge at Libby’s Cafe. Sip any of 20 zesty and refreshing $6 cocktails during daily happy hour from 4 to 7pm. The lounge regularly attracts Sarasota’s beautiful people, who look model-perfect in the soft-blue lighting.

1917 S. Osprey, FL, 941-487-7300,
Tags: nightlife | moderate | trendy | bar | happy hour

The Beach Club

This quintessential beach restaurant (à la Key West) transforms into a nightclub with the setting sun, offering a nightly play list of live entertainment that covers ’80s hits, reggae, and classic rock ‘n’ roll. Celebrities and celebrants prefer the bottle service in the VIP room, but this six-decade-old Siesta Key club has an anything-goes atmosphere that attracts folks of all ages, many of them wearing shorts, T-shirts, and even bikinis.

5151 Ocean Blvd., FL, 941-349-6311,
Tags: nightlife | historic | dancing | cover charge

The Gator Club

The hands-down destination for weeknight entertainment, the club’s nearly century-old building has an illustrious past, evident in its leaded-glass mirrors and wood floors. Entertainment is offered most nights by local musicians, who get patrons – from college coeds to hip retirees – on the dance floor. The second-floor lounge has a quieter setting with vintage sofas, billiards tables, and a scotch bar.

1490 Main St., FL, 941-366-5969,
Tags: budget | nightlife | historic | live entertainment | dancing | bar

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