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Art and About: After Dark

Feel like staying up past your bedtime? The good news is you’re an adult, so you don’t have one!

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Night owls looking to salsa until the wee hours flock to The Venue on St. Armands Circle. On Fridays and Saturdays, the joint is jumping until 2 a.m. with sizzling Latin bands, and a deft DJ spins Latin dance tunes on Sunday nights. Weekday evenings are a rainbow of genre-bending musical talent. Al Hixon and his band kick up a New Orleans jazz spirit on Mondays; local bands jam Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For a special treat, jazz and R&B song stylist Katt Heffner turns up the heat with her “Lady K’s Jazz Cookbook+” on alternate Thursdays. Heffner and her hand-selected guest artists serve up a gumbo of tasty sounds. If all that fun makes you famished, no worries. The Venue’s kitchen stays open until midnight Saturday and Sunday and until 10 p.m. on weeknights. The gourmet burgers and artisanal pizzas are always a hit. 15 S. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota; 941-388-1555;



Art Ovation Hotel offers two late-night spots. For a civilized sip, try the Gallery Lounge, where you can enjoy works by regional artists, listen to great live jazz and enjoy crafty cocktails and light bites until 9 p.m. On a date? Cuddle up in the cozy cushions with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot and grilled oysters. For an elevated experience, move up to the Perspective Rooftop Pool Bar, where you can sip and sup under the twinkling stars and view the illuminated cityscape until midnight. “The Ringling” is the ideal cocktail to accompany your nighttime contemplations. Created with rum and injected with anise-flavored absinthe, it’s as dreamy as the star-studded sky. 1255 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota; 941-316-0808;


If you’re looking for lively music, great beer and companionship, Craft Growlers To Go and Tasting Room is the place to be. This intimate pub boasts 45 beers on tap and live music three days a week. (It rotates the brews weekly, so the selection is always open for discovery.) Owner Jeanne Dooley does her best to bring spirit of the fictional “Cheers” bar into the real world. Yes, everybody knows your name — including the bartenders and servers. Bands include the Michael Weiss Trio and the Gabriel Brothers. The grill serves excellent pub grub (ask for the Jamwich, a toasty delight with cashew butter, raspberry jam and bacon) and stays open until 11 p.m. 8141 Lakewood Main St., Unit N103; 941-822-8131;



Grove: Restaurant Patio and Ballroom has fast become Lakewood Ranch’s favorite late night hot spot, with a happy hour from 10 p.m. until midnight. Happy yet? You will be with the potent craft cocktails, top-shelf liquor and most beers for $5 — or try the flights for $15 (the On the Lash, with Teeling Small Batch, Teeling Single Grain and Teeling Single Malt is definitely not your traditional bedtime toddy). The inventive menu comes from Executive Chef Greg Campbell of Bradenton’s Pier 22. During happy hour, the selection includes fried pickles, flatbreads, mussels and tuna nachos. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch; 941-893-4321;


Euphemia Haye is famed for its formal gourmet fare. But formal’s only normal downstairs. Upstairs at the Hayeloft, the vibe chills out. You step into a dynamic bar scene, superb late-night menu, creative cocktails and live jazz most evenings until 11 p.m. Local jazz heroes include pianist Michael Royal and pianist and vocalist Debbie Keeton. 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key; 941-387-0495;


Don’t Miss This!

Here are a few of our favorite things happening under the radar.


The “Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed” exhibit at The Ringling reveals many stunning examples of Syd Solomon’s oeuvre — many shown to the public for the first time. The museum’s connection to the artist dates to 1962, when his work became the nucleus of its emerging contemporary art collection. Solomon’s art defies category — except the witty label the artist created for himself. He called himself an “abstract impressionist,” reflecting his fusion of abstract expressionism and impressionism. Solomon’s paintings also reflected his experience as a camouflage designer in World War II and his mastery of calligraphy and graphic design. But Solomon’s main influence was Florida itself and the magnificent vistas both above and below our region’s shimmering waters. This powerful exhibit brings it all together. Dec. 15 to April 26; The Ringling; 941-359-5700;


“Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express” is a killer comedy and the ultimate locked-room mystery. In this case, the “room” is The Orient Express — a gleaming luxury train for the global elite. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for starters, a snowstorm that stops the liner. After that, the discovery of a corpse in a cabin that’s been locked from the inside. An unpleasant American industrialist has apparently been repeatedly stabbed. Quelle horreur! Who could possibly do such a thing? For what motive? Fortunately, detective Hercule Poirot is on the train. He’ll find the answer, bien sûr. This Asolo Rep production of Ken Ludwig’s adaptation is sure to be a moving experience. Jan. 8 through March 8; FSU Center for the Performing Arts; 941-351-8000;



“From Downton to Gatsby: Jewelry and Fashion from 1890-1929”

In 2012, the producers of “Downton Abbey” commissioned Andrew Prince to create a vast collection of period-accurate tiaras, combs, earrings and necklaces for the main characters. Needless to say, his artistry dazzled. Prince’s in-depth knowledge of jewelry, fashion and history has made him a popular lecturer throughout England and the U.S. In this New Topics lecture at New College, Prince will explore the opulent age between 1890 and 1929 — a time when the world’s finest couturiers and jewelers collaborated to create unmatched style and artistry. 5:30 p.m. Jan. 23; New College’s Mildred Sainer Auditorium; 941-487-4888;



Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Riccardo Muti has earned a reputation as “the maestro of maestros,” and we have the rare opportunity to witness him conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in celebration of the Sarasota Concert Association’s 75th anniversary. In keeping with his fierce devotion to excellence, Muti will conduct two incandescent pieces by Sergei Prokofiev: “Suite from Romeo and Juliet” and Symphony No. 3, Op. 44, from “The Fiery Angel.” 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12; Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; 941-25-6500;


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