Flashback: Old Heidelberg Castle, 1972-1995

With its Tyrolean show band and plenty of German brew, it was one of Sarasota’s liveliest restaurants.

By Ilene Denton May 13, 2020

Old Heidelberg Castle

If hoisting a stein of German beer, digging into a plate of schnitzel and dancing to the lively tunes of a Tyrolean show band direct from Munich was your idea of entertainment in the 1970s and ‘80s, the Old Heidelberg Castle provided plenty of oom-pa-pa. (Think dirndl-skirted waitresses and accordionists in lederhosen.) Set on the corner of North Washington Boulevard and Fruitville Road, the Old Heidelberg was a Sarasota nightlife institution from 1972 until its closing in 1995, when it was torn down to make room for a sadly far more nondescript Walgreen’s. The “castle” was originally built as a Studebaker dealership, then became the American Legion Coliseum in 1931; old-timers will remember seeing boxing and wrestling matches there.

The lively restaurant scene.



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