There are a number of great places in Sarasota to listen to live music. Over the years, venues have changed hands and changed names, but there are a few standouts that consistently offer places for musicians to share their songs and for music fans to enjoy the experience. If you're looking to either kick up your heels or to sit back and soak in the tunes, these are the places you should most consider putting on your list.
Blase' Cafe - Siesta Key's Blase' Cafe offers upscale dining and live music seven nights a week. Located on Ocean Boulevard in Siesta Key Village, the restaurant features indoor and outdoor dining, where diners can enjoy some of Sarasota's local bands while under the stars. It's also just a few steps away from the Siesta Key Oyster Bar, which offers local musicians the opportunity to play original and covers at their weekly open mic nights.
Marina Jack - There are few places in Sarasota where music fans can enjoy live music and be on the water at the same time. At Marina Jack, the open-air raw oyster bar looks out over the marina and features regular local favorites like Kettle of Fish and Bain Beakley, as well as other bands playing a variety of Latin, soul, funk, and rock music.
Mattison's City Grille - If you're strolling down Main Street in Downtown Sarasota on any given evening, chances are good that you've heard the music coming from Mattison's. As the only outdoor music venue on Main Street, Mattison's offers a variety of acts playing blues, classic rock, jazz, and plenty of songs for dancing.
The Gator Club - Directly across Main Street, The Gator Club has been a part of Downtown Sarasota since 1913, and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The downstairs stage has been a regular home to a number of local favorites like Spark Notes, The Hydramatics, and Jah Movement, always offering a place where people can dance the night away.
Cock n Bull - Cock n' Bull has been serving up beer on Cattleman Road since 1997. With 40 draughts and over 900 bottles, it has been ranked by BeerAdvocate.com as the #6 beer destination in America! Yet they are also known for music festivals. Music is intermittent, but the two outdoor stages have hosted many a local band, as well as the Black Diamond Burlesque performances, and the large backyard with open fire pit always makes the experience a memorable one.
5 O'Clock Club - Although it recently changed owners, locals were happy to hear that the 5 O'Clock Club would continue offering live music. As one of the mainstays in the Sarasota music scene, the bar on Hillview Avenue has been hosting local and touring bands for decades, always offering a variety of reggae, blues, rock, and funk for those who want to get up and dance.
Sarasota Sky - Relatively new to the scene, the Sarasota Sky bar has been showcasing local and touring acts since it opened last year. The Downtown Sarasota venue in the Charles Ringling Building near McCurdeys Comedy Theatre has gone by a number of names, but recently teaming with Kelly's Live, which launched at the Cabana Inn, we hope Sarasota Sky stays around for a while.
Cafe In The Park - Located in Payne Park near Downtown Sarasota, Café in the Park hosts a live music event showcasing original and creative acts nearly every Friday. Those who have discovered this little gem quickly become regulars as they enjoy Latin music, gypsy jazz, and acoustic performers on the outdoor terrace under the trees.
The Blue Rooster - With an incredible sound system and amazing comfort food, The Blue Rooster has become one of Downtown Sarasota's most vibrant music venues. Hosting both local and touring bands, the establishment is known not only for its rock and blues performances, but also for the Sunday morning Gospel Brunch.
Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center - A block away from The Blue Rooster, Fogartyville offers one of Sarasota's true listening rooms. Connected to the WSLR radio station and used throughout the week as the Peace Education and Action Center, every weekend Fogartyville features a wide variety of musical touring acts. With a food truck outside and a place to buy beer and wine in the back, Fogartyville attendees are never bothered by roving waitstaff, making it one of the few places in Sarasota where music fans can completely focus on the music.
Because Sarasota does have so many venues that host live music, this list only covers a few of the most notable. Feel free to leave a comment below about your favorite local music spot.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist