Downtown patrons might have noticed the sign in the old Yumé Sushi location at 1537 Main Street — "Coming Soon: Famous Tavern." The bar, whose sign boasts the tagline, "Food. Drinks. Tunes," plans to provide just that. Owner Mark Sherman hopes to combine his love of good food, music beer and wine into Main Street's newest option.
The Famous Tavern, which is slated to open its doors Labor Day weekend, aims to fill the gap for downtown customers seeking a casual experience, and it will offer live DJ music, craft beer, wine and perhaps most importantly — late-night food (gourmet sandwiches, no less).
We caught up with Sherman to discuss his newest venture.
How long have you lived in Sarasota?
I've been coming here to visit family for about 30 years, and I decided to move here about a year and a half ago. I've watched it change a lot over the years.
What experience do you have with the bar industry?
My background is in finance and insurance, and eventually, I realized I just needed to do something on my own, because everything else can be so unstable. So me wife and I decided to try to find a good spot and do this. I've always been a big music fan, so I wanted to combine beer, good food and music.
Tell me about your concept for Famous Tavern.
Everything is so processed these days, so I wanted to do something where we baked our own bread and prepare our own meats here. I want to offer gourmet sandwiches and appetizers and get away from processed things. I'm going to have 16 craft beers on tap and a few dozen wines. I think wine drinkers get left out a lot at bars.
Do you have any specific plans for the bar?
In the evenings, we'll have live DJs playing music, and we'll do themed nights, like ’80s college radio, modern alt rock — anything. I want to be a modern tavern with good music, and not just a jukebox — people will be able to interact with the DJ and we'll try to do music trivia nights and other events. We'll also serve late-night food.
Where do you see yourself fitting into the downtown nightlife scene?
I think we'll be a casual alternative to a noisier dance club or a fancy or expensive bar. We'll help fill that niche. And we'll definitely appeal to music-lovers. I'm looking forward to getting to know all my neighbors here and bridging that gap in options downtown.