Standing on the balcony of the two-story building at 1888 Main St., World of Beer co-owner Dean Lambert can hardly hide his excitement.
After months of anticipation, he finally has an opening date for the new downtown location of the popular craft-beer bar: Tuesday, April 7.
"It's been a lot of work," he says. "But I'm so excited to open this new location. And it couldn't be in a better spot. Downtown Sarasota is really growing, and a lot of new businesses are opening up. We're happy to help spread that growth to this end of Main Street."
Lambert, who became a managing partner of the business in 2011, says he hopes to bring the same familiar atmosphere found in other, more established locations to the new downtown incarnation — but with a few distinguishing features, not least of which is an attached parking garage.
For one, this location, housed in the former Eat Here building, features two stories, including a balcony where customers can enjoy their beer with a view or watch the game on one of the 20 available TVs.
Custom-fit coolers have been installed on both floors to offer 270 bottles and 36 taps downstairs, plus 250 bottles and 15 taps at the upstairs bar. A beer engine will also be on hand to allow for a firkin to be tapped at all times.
Another distinguishing feature will be the location's inclusion of a kitchen, which will offer menu items such as the popular German pretzel and other shareables, as well as flatbreads, burgers and sandwiches and more, all with suggested beer pairings from 11:30 to 2 a.m. daily.
Although he's still finalizing the menu, Lambert says it will closely resemble the offerings at the bar's Brandon location.
Sunday-morning diners can also look forward to World of Beer's aptly dubbed "Beer-unch" menu from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., which features bloody marys and mimosas, as well as traditional and beer-inspired breakfast and lunch items with suggested beer pairings.
World of Beer will celebrate with a grand-opening event Saturday, April 25, with live music, food and drink and a radio-station broadcast. He also plans to continue hosting football-season customer-appreciation cookouts and hopes to eventually incorporate a downtown version of the annual WOBtoberfest celebration.
"The amount of people who have shown an interest in this new location is huge for us," says Lambert. "I'm looking forward to getting this opened up for our new customers. Imagine sitting up here on the balcony, drinking a beer for happy hour and watching the sun set. What could be better?"
Lambert expects to hire a total of 40 to 50 employees and advises people to send resumés to General Manager Mark Stewart, formerly of Gecko's, at [email protected].