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Downtown Sarasota attracts more nightlife options

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  • | 11:00 p.m. December 14, 2014
Entrepreneur Jesse Biter bought the future site of Paddy Wagon Irish Pub in downtown Sarasota for $2 million in 2012.
Entrepreneur Jesse Biter bought the future site of Paddy Wagon Irish Pub in downtown Sarasota for $2 million in 2012.
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Entrepreneur Jesse Biter’s vision for a more vibrant downtown Sarasota continues to take shape, as another bar prepares to open on Main Street.

Owners of the Paddy Wagon Irish Pub have asked the city to allow the use of a liquor license in at the space between Pho Cali and Drunken Poet Cafe on the 1500 block of Main Street, in a building Biter purchased for $2 million 2012. The Irish-themed bar, which has another location on Clark Road, aims to open this summer.

“We’re an upscale, new millennium take on the neighborhood bar,” said owner Tom Elliott.

Elliott, who already owns eight Paddy Wagon locations and more than 20 concepts in total, is no stranger to downtown. As the former owner of Smokin’ Joe’s, he said his new site on Main Street is far enough away from residential developments that problems arising from their proximity shouldn’t be an issue.

“It’s a trophy property for us,” Elliott said. “It’s a chance to showcase to our customers and franchisees the vision we have for Paddy Wagon.”

The city will host a community workshop to consider the bar’s request at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, at City Hall, in conference room 112.

"Downtown should be a fun and exciting place to visit that has something for everyone," Biter said. "Paddy Wagon fills a few voids that currently exist on Main Street."

Taco Bus and Evie’s will join Paddy Wagon in an adjacent Biter building next year, the latter of which will come with a three-lane bowling alley. And World of Beer plans to open Feb. 1, on the other end of Main Street, in the two-story space Eat Here previously occupied.

“We should be getting our final permits this week,” said World of Beer co-owner Dean Lambert.

Downtown Economic Development Coordinator Norm Gollub said the influx of new bars and restaurants is in response to the more than 2,000 dwelling units and five hotels poised to spring up throughout the area beginning as early as next fall. Biter has helped buoy plans for a 10-story building on Second Street, which puts him in a unique position on either side of the downtown market.

“I think (Biter) is taking a holistic view” Gollub said. “I think he’s creating the demand and the solution for that demand.” 


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