Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

A Swanky New Champagne Bar Is Coming to Downtown Sarasota

Sugar Champagne Bar will be a nod to Roaring '20s glamour, with a full bar and small plates.

By Kim Doleatto April 11, 2024

A rendering of the interior of Sugar Champagne Bar, which will open at 127 S. Pineapple Ave. in downtown Sarasota later this year.

A downtown Sarasota building that dates from 1920 is being transformed into a swanky Champagne bar, with a pink piano, plenty of velvet, chandeliers, teal and coral details, and a bartender in a tuxedo for the cherry on top.

Sugar Champagne Bar, which is expected to open later this year, will be “less of an overhaul of the past and more a revival of the grandeur and flamboyance of Old Regency Florida,” reads a statement announcing the new business. Expect live piano performances and “elevated small plates, like the world’s finest caviar and artisanal desserts,” the statement continues. And no flip-flops or T-shirts in the intimate, roughly 1,200-square-foot lounge, please.

A rendering of the exterior.

The historic property sits on the corner of South Pineapple and South Lemon avenues, outside The Mark condo building and Paul N. Thorpe Jr. Park (aka the mermaid fountain). It was formerly the home of Malbi Décor. Current owner Ronnie Shugar bought the space in 2021 for $1.8 million, bringing the overall investment in the project to roughly $4 million. Malbi has since moved to North Osprey Avenue.

“It will add bewilderment," says owner Ronnie Shugar. "I want Sarasota visitors to come and see the museum, the Ringling Bridge and that 'pink Champagne bar.' It’ll be iconic.”

The bar's décor was created by Blok Design Group and includes marble, chandeliers and velvet booths.

The space seems like it will be a showstopper, brimming with elegant details. We wrote about Shugar's former downtown condo last year; it has a floor-to-ceiling backlit agate wall, and a crane delivered a piano to the space.

Besides Shugar's condos (there are more than one) and a Harbor Acres single-family home (nay, mansion) that he’s building from scratch, Shugar has invested roughly $15 million in the city since moving here in 2019. (If you’ve noticed the renovation of the row of shops on North Palm Avenue, that’s him, too. He’s also planning two restaurants there.)

Shugar made a name for himself with the lifestyle brand he co-founded in 2014, Raw Sugar Living, a multimillion-dollar company with products in retail stores nationwide. Why settle in Sarasota?

"I found Sarasota underrated, but it's so beautiful," he says. "Downtown, you're a block away from the marina and the people are great. I always thought it was overlooked and it's just getting better and better."

Part of that progress includes a new fine dining restaurant and bar headed to the Fit2Run space just down the street, but Shugar is not worried about the competition.

“It's not how we cut the pie; it's about how big it can get," he says. "I'm an entrepreneur and lover of and believer in Sarasota and I want to invest in the city and help create a better space for residents and tourists."

Perhaps his most meaningful custom design is located outside his offices at 1717 Second St., which has become a signature destination thanks to the Sarasota Magazine-commissioned mural Sarasota Heroes, an homage to health care workers that was created during the Covid-19 pandemic. Shugar is also the vice chair of Sarasota's Downtown Improvement District board and a philanthropist.

For more information on Sugar Champagne Bar, visit @sugarbarsrq on social media.

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