Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Shamrock Pub

Firkin Around...Sarasota, Florida.

Sarasota.  My town.  Craft beer is here to raise your spirits and your pints.  Here is a wee bar with a wee bit o' history.

The Shamrock has been a tiny but humble part of the Sarasota turf for many years. Over 40 if I'm not mistaken. You can get a glass of wine or your favorite brew in this quaint pub on Ringling Boulevard.  There's plenty of brew signs, flags and beer memorabilia, along with a unique UK call box right in the middle of the pub.  The only call you won't be missing will be last call!  Two dartboards and a bar game, along with just a couple of televisions are there for your distraction between pints.  The conversation will keep you entertained as well.

Tullamore Dew
As my ramblings have taken me through bars across the land, I can tell you one of the measures of a good bar is the quantity and array of beers, both on draught and in the bottle.  But one of my favorite personal measures is if a bar carries one of the best blended Irish whiskey products you ever laid eyes or lips upon.  That my friends is none other than Tullamore Dew.  Uisge baugh.  The tears of Angels.  Lo' and behold, tucked up neatly on a shelf near the back of the bar, sat a crock of the delectable dew.  Though the bottle was empty, (no whiskey here), it made me glow that this bar had already exceeded my expectations.

Back to the beer selections.  There were two tap stations that dispensed about five draught beers apiece.  Good and varied selections, I would add, many uncommon to typical watering holes.  Mainly they were American craft beers, but true to their Irish roots, a nitro 'sheleigly' of Guinness was prominently on display.  A fridge at each end rounded out the bottle and can selections with everything from PBR up to some hard to find micro brewery selections.  Cripes, they even had a few cans of sparkling white wine in stubbly little pull top cans.  Our hostess, Aly, was friendly and a great beer enthusiast. An easy going conversation about good beer and good local beer establishments ensued.

Cozy, quaint and comfortable. Atmosphere and character abound.
Returning our attention to the interior of the bar, you notice among the many beer signs hanging are some large photos of old Sarasota.  The pictures are from the surrounding neighborhood; some from over 70 years ago.  There is one in particular of nearby Payne Park, complete with the old spring training baseball field.  These super sized photos give new meaning to the expression, "...if these walls could talk!"  Interesting bits and pieces of what it takes to run a bar are all around you.  Tap handles from spent (or perhaps incoming) kegs are tucked in the nooks and crannies along the bar-back.  Lots for the eye to take in and absorb in one sitting.

There is a door at the opposite end of the lengthy expanse of a room.  It leads out to the back of the building and also serves as an alternate entrance.  At times, The Shamrock is host to some of the latest musical artists the Sarasota Bay area has to offer.  I will be back to check that scene, for sure.  Prices for beers and ales are very reasonable. A tiny gem of a spot right in the downtown area, just off the beaten path.  Be prepared to be nicely surprised.

Firkin Begorrah ! 

The Shamrock Pub
2257 Ringling Blvd
Sarasota, FL 34237

Shamrock Pub on Urbanspoon

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