Close to Siesta Key and right off Osprey Ave., it’s less than 8 minutes from downtown. Hidden away in a small shopping center, Shakespeare’s is well-known among the locals. With plenty of parking, a few outdoor tables and a cozy sports bar pub atmosphere, it makes me feel at home.
The Spicy English Beer Dip served with pita chips is one of the favorites among locals on the menu (dip made from cheddar cheese, English Ale, spices and green onions). I dunk my perfect lightly fried pita chip into the spicy beer dip, close my eyes and experience the ultimate flavor combination. I could sit alone and eat the entire dip by myself, that is how good it is! Follow that with my all time favorite triple golden ale; La Fin Du Monde (end of the world) and this place is already becoming a favorite.
As I wait for my order, I observe a constant flow of people coming though the door. Some of those people are alone and head to the bar, others a group of three or four who sit at a booth and a table outside. I can see why Shakespeare’s English Pub is a winner; the year round holiday lights, along with dark wood furniture and cranberry coated walls, bring a cozy warm festive atmosphere, paired with multiple televisions to keep it sporty and fun.
Known for their gourmet specialty burgers, I order the best seller; British Burger (bacon, Stilton cheese, mushrooms and onions). I do want to go back and try Caramelized Onion & Brie Burger next time or the Horseradish Cheddar & Bacon Burger, they have nine to choose from and they all provoke my taste buds. When my burger is set in front of me, my first impression: How am I going to get my mouth around that? – it is massive! I smush my burger with my hand, cut it in half and take a bite…. deliciously juicy (get extra napkins) with a toasted rosemary bun followed by a few french fries – Table for One highly approved.
With a menu and beer selection to please any world traveler, and an atmosphere that will coddle you, Shakespeare’s English Pub is one of those places to put at the top of your list for a Table For One.
Voted one of The Suncoast’s 50 Best Restaurants
“Winner of Creative Loafing’s original Burger tournament a few years back, Shakespeare’s still manages to serve one of the best burgers in Sarasota. This one is thick, with a salty crust that crackles under your teeth to reveal a beautiful red interior that positively oozes rich juices. The patty is held in check by a hearty rosemary-infused bun that can handle a surprising amount of toppings, if that’s your thing. Brie and caramelized onions? Thai peanut sauce and Swiss cheese? Sure, or even more unusual combinations depending on the specials board. And good beer — the perfect burger pairing — is right at hand.” – Brian Ries, The Herald Tribune Ticket
“My god, after eating at a dozen or so restaurants in Sarasota (where Yeungling is about as crazy as it gets) that are either the same corporate crap you’d find anywhere or are “indie” yet seem to cater to the city’s tastebud-challenged elderly population, I was beyond ecstatic to discover Shakespeare’s English Pub!!!!! Their beer selection is superb – I would estimate that there are 30-50 bottled beers from around world, as well as 15 taps. Two of the taps appear to be on a rotating schedule and the other 13 are always on the menu. My wife, father, and I went here 3 days in a row for multiple pints of Raging Bitch, for blackened Indian spiced hamburgers, for other food that was just delicious, and for celebrating that not all of Sarasota’s restaurants are on life support. ‘Nostrovia’ to you, Shakespeare’s!” (Review from UrbanSpoon)
“Although Sarasota is now loaded with quality beer bars, few serve food at all, let alone food of the quality Shakespeare’s dishes out. There’s the usual Brit pub fare — crackling fish and chips, various pies and pasties — along with the best burger in town. A little tip: The beer cheese dip is better with fries than the homemade pita chips.”
“Although the winner of CL’s 2008 Tournament of Burgers serves the usual array of grilled, blackened and fried fish sandwiches, it’s understandable that the British pub focuses on the deep-fried version. And for good reason. Shakespeare’s breading is crackling crisp, thick enough to provide a lot of contrast to the moist fish inside, and seasoned just right. The result is a sandwich that eminently satisfies and provides a benchmark for fried fish sandwiches everywhere.”
*18 GREAT BURGERS IN SARASOTA-MANATEE*
One of the best and longest-running beer bars in Sarasota, Shakespeare’s also excels at pub grub, particularly burgers. All the burgers are made with eight ounces of Black Angus beef expertly seasoned and cooked. Ordered “medium,” they come out with a charred crust of salty and spice and a nice, juicy pink inside. The British, Horseradish Cheddar & Bacon, Texas Cowboy and the others are all outstanding burgers but my favorite, and the most popular, remains the Caramelized Onion & Brie Burger that comes with a side of fries for $11.95. As magnificent as the meat is, the sweet balsamic caramelized onions are just as good, cooked slow and low. I could eat a bowlful. What to drink at this cozy pub with a killer selection of craft beers that also makes perhaps the greatest of the great burgers in Sarasota? (Sarasota Herald Tribune)