With Sarasota’s mixed population of retirees and college students, younger audiences may feel like they have less access to nightlife activities than other university towns do. For night owls looking for entertainment past 7 p.m., there are plenty of hidden gems in the Sarasota-Bradenton area for you. Whether you enjoy flavorful ramen, kava kombucha tea or action-packed arcades, SRQ has it all—despite its reputation.
For those needing a bite to eat past midnight, you don’t need to settle for McDonald’s. Sushi Ramen is a sit-down restaurant and karaoke bar open until 2 a.m. The establishment is located on North Beneva Road in Sarasota, about a 15-minute drive from campus, and has a variety of Japanese and Thai cuisine to choose from. The restaurant received a five-star rating on Facebook and a four-and-a-half-star rating on Yelp.
“I am working late and want to find a great sushi place near me,” Kyle H. stated in a Yelp comment. “This restaurant is open seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., perfect. Our server Poo was kind and funny. We ordered a very tasty Tom Kha soup, then the fresh chef’s Sashimi.”
The food and environment earned them a feature in Sarasota Magazine, which discusses the appeal behind this Japanese karaoke bar.
“The restaurant is quiet during the early hours of the evening, with a handful of tables enjoying Japanese dishes alongside the restaurant’s new Thai menu,” Lauren Jackson from Sarasota Magazine explained. “But after 9 p.m. is when the restaurant starts to shine. Servers and chefs from nearby restaurants pour in, still wearing their uniforms and settling into booths and tables to rest their feet after a long night.”
Kava Social Club is another great option for a relaxing weekend out. Kava Social Club is a family-owned, Polynesian-themed tiki bar centralized around kava root-infused teas and coffee. Kava Social is open 24-hours and is described as an “adult play space” with open mic, karaoke, trivia and games weekly. Fresh sushi, noodles and poke bowls are available at customers’ convenience.
On the Discover Bradenton Directory, Chard Breed offers a public comment on the establishment.
“A phenomenal gem, with a weekly schedule of music and events, which challenges any local alcohol bar offerings!” Breed said. “A very well-trained staff will guide you into the understandings of Kava, and their collection of other innovative beverages, coffees and teas.”
New College students also frequent the kava bar and rave about their experience. First-year Emily McGoogan attended the Kava Social Bar a few months ago and offered her opinion on the space.
“The atmosphere was nice because you could be both inside and outside,” McGoogan stated. “There’s great lighting and music!”
For more information about Kava Social schedules, the Discover Bradenton Directory provides information about weekly events occurring.
If you want some fun evening activities for the weekend, Arcade Monsters is the place for you. Arcade Monsters is located in Saint Armands Circle and is a two-story arcade with graphic wall art and an open bar. Neon-painted walls glow fluorescently while you can enjoy over 150 games and seven rooms until midnight on Mondays through Thursdays and Sundays, or until 1 a.m. for Fridays and Saturdays.
Along with the games, Arcade Monsters provides Cuban cuisine and classic bites to eat in its restaurant section of the arcade. The price is $19.99 for an entire day of unlimited play, and the wristband allows you to enter and reenter the premises. A freshman at Valencia College Luke Watson frequents the arcade and shared his thoughts on the establishment.
“It was a good time!” Watson said. “I really enjoyed the deck area that overlooks Saint Armands Circle. They had a variety of games and the best part is that you only have to pay once for a wristband so you can leave and come back the rest of the day.”
Another honorable mention is the Gator Club, which is known for live music events, mixed drinks, burlesque performances, karaoke and adult bingo nights. The historic bar and club have over 500 bottles of spirits to choose from with new inventory arriving every week. The Gator Club is a hotspot for local bands and DJs which is a great opportunity to support Sarasota musicians. Weekday hours are 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and a short Sunday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
All events are featured on the Gator Club event calendar which is updated monthly.