Let's Get Holly Jolly

Six Sarasota Bars Making Spirits Bright

Gather for merry company, bright decor and Yuletime cheer.

By Sarafina Murphy-Gibson December 10, 2021

It’s impossible to be a frosty Scrooge when you’ve got a warming drink in your hand. Here are six local spots to gather for merry company, bright decor and Yuletime cheer.

Sage Restaurant

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Sage, where pine boughs and red accents create a rustic-chic holiday atmosphere. Master mixologist Cliseria Padilla-Flores recommends stopping by for a Chai and Compear, made with masala chai tea-infused Brugal 1888 rum with St. George spiced pear, orange and demerara. Also on the menu is the Amongst Friends (Mijenta Reposado tequila, pistachio, Tippler’s and manzanilla sherry) and the Plum Intended, made with Roku gin, grapefruit, umeboshi, shiso, lime and Yuzu soda.

The Mable

Designed to feel like “Grannie’s living room,” The Mable’s festive decor blends right into the bar’s homey eclectic vibe. There are stockings above the fireplace, a wintry miniature village on the mantel and a clown in a Santa hat. On tap, you’ll find limited-edition brews such as Anchor’s Christmas Ale and Spoetzl Brewing’s Shiner Holiday Cheer. Keep an eye out for mistletoe!

Pangea Alchemy Lab

Are you a more of Heat Miser (cinnamon habanero infused tequila) or a Snow Miser (candy cane vodka with white chocolate liquor)? Find out at Pangea Alchemy Lab where owner Brad Coburn and his team whip up festive treats for those on the nice and naughty lists. Done up in its Yuletide finest, the liquor laboratory is serving concoctions such as X-mas Head, hot spiced wine flavored with rum and berries topped with chicory whipped cream, and Yellow Snow, a lemon creamsicle with house-made honey shrub and applejack brandy.

Shakespeare’s Pub

If you’re withholding from a trip across the pond this year, you can pretend you’re having an English Christmas at Shakespeare’s Pub. The cozy corner eatery is kept cheerful year-round with colorful string lights but steps it up at the holidays, adding a tree and seasonal touches. Rotating drafts include a variety of wintertime beers such as Abita Brewing’s Christmas Ale, a pale malt flavored with caramel, chocolate and biscuit.

El Melvin

With ornament-laden garlands, twinkling lights and candy cane columns, El Melvin is certainly wishing you Feliz Navidad. Starting next week, swing by to sit in the glow while sipping seasonal cocktails made with the restaurant’s assortment of fine agave and tequila liquors.

Cask and Ale

A luminous tree greets guests at Cask and Ale, where the walls are hung with bows and icicle lights. The team has also crafted a batch of seasonal cocktails worthy of the North Pole. On the list is the Gingerbread Old Fashioned (Four Roses bourbon, gingerbread simple syrup and black walnut bitters), the Not My Gumdrop Buttons (Hiatus Reposado tequila, Godiva white chocolate, Fernet menta and cinnamon simple syrup) and a classic Holiday Hot Chocolate, which can be spiked any way you like.

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