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Cock & Bull
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Taps: 38 / Bottles: 600
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
$$ - reasonable
[ Bar, Eatery ]
975 Cattlemen Rd
phone: (941) 363-1262
(Place added by: dpend)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 40
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I find it hard to believe anyone, especially those familiar with the west coast of Florida, could give this place anything other than all fives. Yes, I did receive a plastic cup over Thanksgiving weekend, but I knew I would. It was on their website, posted outside the front door and all around the bar and still they apologized for serving me a Zagorka in a plastic cup. Though one of the ceramic towers does sport a Warsteiner logo, they say they've never had it draft. In October they did have Warsteiner Oktoberfest. On my visit last night the following drafts: Dogfish Head Festina Peach, Avery Czar, and Rogue Imperial Porter. I finished off with bottle of Buffalo Stout from Belgium that I split with someone at the bar (I was introduced to the young man by the very knowledgeable bartender, Tony). I've never seen 20 select drafts in this area and I verified the fact that they are one of only a few hundred places with Rogue Locker Stock offerings before beginning this review. Rogue Locker Stock is not available bottle so this is a huge plus for beer lovers. I think perhaps the last few reviewers were accidently in the small roadhouse-style bar that is directly behind the Cock & Bull Pub and not actually in the Cock & Bull Pub (I'm not being funny here, they are parallel and only one road apart and neither has big signage). Their selection, knowledge, and service are outstanding. Selection is 20 plus drafts and no Bud, Miller, Coors types, there are 3 glass doors FULL of beer (more than 200 displayed) plus there were many in the back that I couldnt see. Now you decide, I'll give you my best in terms of atmosphere description. Entry is via a huge wooden ramp, that ends at a dungeon-style, planked door that is weighted with an antique window slash (creative). I am always greeted when I walk in and the bar is about 10 feet from the front door and stretches about 20 feet to the left. There are three banks with two towers each. Each tower has approximately 5 drafts. There are two stout faucets to the left of the rear towers. I missed the Brooklyn Chocolate Stout - darn. There is a ton of polished wood and antique furnishings. There are no televisions. Music is quite eclectic and sometimes live. I've begun a ritual of eating dinner here on Friday nights. There grinders are fantastic but their pizzas are what keep me eating here. I heard a customer call them "orgasmic" the other night. Everything is fresh and made to order. Back to the virtual tour, to the right of the bar is a pool table and beyond that is a huge beer garden with picnic tables and a fire pit. As far as finding beers in package stores, there is no doubt that happens. The industry has changed with the big beer companies swallowing up the independents. You can buy Dogfish Head from the guy who sells Coors. The Cock & Bull Pub should not be faulted for that, nor should anyone else. The World is starting to recognize craft beers and the big boys are buying up what they can. This should help all of us by making it easier and more likely to find good beer. I've been coming here for awhile but was saving my BeerFly review for when I had been to a few other places. Nothing compares to The Cock & Bull Pub. Nothing. There is some graffiti in the bathroom, but I don't mind much. The place is clean and friendly. They know their beer and their selection is incredible. These folks are out to make beer lovers of everyone they encounter and offer an education to anyone willing to learn. I love the Cock & Bull Pub.
12-16-2007 03:55:49 |
More by DrummerDan
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 1 | food: 1 | $$
I agree with the other reviewer (maltysfalcon) who questioned the oddly high ratings on this bar (one of the highest in the US for a mediocre bar). The people who are saying that this bar compares to the best in Europe, etc. are spammers.
This is basically a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere with pretty bad service. When I asked about nearby restaurants, Applebee's and Chili's were mentioned --- huh? The bartender didn't know anything about craft beer, frankly. This place strikes me as a college kid/spring break-type place. Whether you consider that to be "unbeatable character" is your own judgement. Beer is served in plastic cups here.
Eight taps, one of which was Warsteiner, does not equal an unbelievable selection of beer, even in Florida. Not a must-stop place.
The one positive thing that I can say is that it is aptly named.
12-04-2007 22:43:30 |
More by goethean
vibe: 1 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
You have to be kidding me with this place! Number 6 in the nation?? First of all, it's in the middle of nowhere as far as Sarasota is concerned. I understand that this should not affect the rating. The first thing that I noticed when I stepped in the place is that it's a DIVE. Its patrons were mostly biker-looking types and the two employees that were working were wearing dog-collars, studs and blue hair. I must admit that they were friendly enough and greeted me upon entering. Looking around, there were various beer glasses and mugs on the bar and hanging from above. They made an interesting collection, but unfortunately all of them were filthy dirty (visible from several feet away)!! Other than that, it was dim and dingy with bar stools that did not match and a mostly wood and barrel motif that was pretty standard bar surroundings.
Like I said, the staff was friendly enough but when I asked for a beer list, they explained to me that they didn't have one because the inventory changed so frequently. I was told that most of the beers were on display in these two little coolers behind the bar and there was a handwritten list of draft offerings down at the other end of the bar. They claimed to have some more in the back room. I later asked if I could see some more of the collection but was told they needed appproval from the owner, who was absent. Anyway, I had come here to really enjoy the selection of (what is reportedly about 800 beers). I started out asking if they had a few of the very difficult to find beers that I've been looking for. They had none of these, and the barmaid appeared to have no knowledge of them either. Then I asked for some good beers that I KNOW are available in the area. Of these they also had none (or did not know where to find them). Finally, I resorted to craning my neck and straining my eyes to peer into the cooler to make a selection. Don't get me wrong, there were some very good beers here and quite a few of them. Upon reordering, I had asked for a recommendation on a specific type of beer and the bartender appeared puzzled. I then just asked for on that I've had it in the area before. Twenty minutes later, she came back with it and a couple like it. My point is, I don't think there are 800 beers to choose from. I could only see about 150 in the cooler and the back room is a mystery. Also the staff seemed to know little about the selection.
That brings me to food. I ordered a pizza. The pizza was okay (as pizza usually is), but I didn't really come there to eat. However, I do take issue with the fact that people can be reviewing this place and giving it the highest marks for the food, which clearly is nothing special at best.
All in all, this was a tremendous let-down as I thought I would be enjoying one of the best beer places in the country, but ended up to be pretty mediocre. It's a shame that there are other places listed on the top 50 list that are as many as 25 places behind this that I have visited and are far better.
09-08-2007 15:57:55 |
More by maltysfalcon
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
This is a neat place.
We were staying out in a hotel on the water on a Friday, and drove over to the Cock & Bull at 6pm looking to get a couple beers. We got there and discovered a handwritten sign saying they weren't open until 8pm. They're missing the Friday after work crowd? Interesting. Their website said that they usually open at 5 on Fridays. Oh well.
So we came back. It's definitely a unique place on the inside -- lots of antique beer paraphanalia, worn down tables, lots of little nooks and crannies, and a cool outside area. There were about a dozen taps on the wall. I had an Old Chub and my wife went for a Stoudt's Oatmeal Stout. Prices were pretty reasonable. There was also 2 cooler's worth of beer behind the bar, but I had trouble peeking over all the shoulders lined up at the bar. I asked for a bottle list and was told that they didn't have one. Bummer.
It is the place to go when you're in Sarasota, but #6 beer bar in the country? Um, ok.
08-06-2007 14:10:06 |
More by DaveFL1976
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$
this is an absolutely fabulous establishment through which i discovered a world of beer and beauty i could not have previously imagined. the staff are extremely knowledgable and every recommendation is right on the mark. perfect low-key old-florida atmosphere with a lot of wood and space. the food will redefine anyone's previous conception of bar chow. the crowd is consistently diverse with a hefty group of every-night regulars. no snobbery to speak of, just a great bunch of people with a passion for great beer.
this bar just might change your life.
07-03-2007 20:51:27 |
More by bitterbeauty
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
I found this place on beeradvocate.com before I even moved to Sarasota. Going by all the reviews on here I had pretty high expectations, and I was not let down! There are usually around 13 beers on tap, and as far as bottles, a selection of literally hundreds of beers from around the world are available on any given day. This place is all about quality beer and that is apparent when you get to talk to any of the people working there.
I am also told that within a few months they will be updating the bar and will have even more taps and an up to date inventory of all the beers available. Since my only complaint is the lack of a beer list, this will be excellent!
Also, the pizza is always fresh and worth a shot if you need some good grub to soak up the beer! Prices are all reasonable for the great beers and service you are getting. You can always ask Howie or one of the other knowledgeable people working to recommend a beer for your current mood.
06-09-2007 00:34:45 |
More by tanarm
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
When it comes to bar owners, Dawn and Howie are the best! They love to converse with the clientele and you get a genuine feeling of commraderie. Everyone in the place is very laid back and helpful when a novice (not unlike myself a year or two ago) is making a selection, getting a feel for your likes and dislikes and suggesting a barley-pop that may be agreeable. I make a point of stopping in @ "the old celery packing house" when I'm passing thru, fortunately I have friends in the area that allow me to "sleep it off" at their place before continuing on. My only wish is that they, or someone, would open a similar place in South Florida, preferably within walking distance of my house!
Thanx for being there, C&B!
06-02-2007 13:21:11 |
More by Bospher
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
This is a great place that I would have loved to have spent more time in. Great place for either a big group (there is a large fire pit and beer garden in the back) or just one or two at the bar. Nice selection on tap and in bottles. The staff was great except that it was at the end of the night and I was given my beer in a plastic cup. I asked for a glass but was told that they were out. In other words they didn't want to wash anymore dishes. However, you can bet that I'll be back the next time I'm in Sarasota.
05-04-2007 00:10:13 |
More by Maerzen
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Character, athmosphere, friendly and well informed service and an exceptional (especially for the area) range of beers made this funky, beat up, no frills, no pretension, dark, multi-roomed, down to earth, swamp boogie, fun place, well worth visiting. The wifey and I also especially enjoyed the outdoor deck, the picnic and fire pit in the run down additional outdoor area. Dont expect anything fancy or what you would expect..go have fun and enjoy some down home Florida hospitatility and many fine beer selections...differant and worthy place for a visit, I'd surely be a regular if I was local...Bring your own food in...
02-25-2007 17:36:41 |
More by Billolick
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
The Cock & Bull is an oasis of beer advocacy in the Southeast.
I learned of the C&B based on reading reviews on BA, and made a point of spending a night there during my trip to Sarasota last week. I stayed at a Hampton Inn which is only about a mile south of the C&B. The C&B is located just off of I75 in Sarasota, and is a must stop when you are anywhere between Tampa and Ft. Myers on the west coast of Florida.
Howie and Dawn, the owners, are pioneers, in my humble opinion, of bringing good beer to Florida...I imagine that it is not easy in this land of Bud Light. They both were very personable and obliged me in discussing beer and breweries...great service
The C&B has a roadhouse feel. Dark lighting, dark wood. Pool table in the back and beer garden in the way back. It was a little intimidating at first.
The C&B has 20 or so beers on Draught, 3 engines for casks (though none were on during my visit) and roughly 400 bottles...and NO B/M/C!!
I think they carry every beer that they can get their hands on...which is difficult in FL....nothing from the Midwest and not much from the Northeast.
They had tons of European beers including many Belgians. They also carry pretty much the entire lines from Rogue, Dogfish Head and Avery. I would give the selection a 4.5 if they were in the Northeast, but for FL it is a solid 5+
I had a SN Celebration on Tap and in bottles I had several Christmas/Winter beers including Anchor Christmas, Great Divide Hibernation and Avery Old Jubilation. The Anchor Christmas was my favorite...it was a perfectly aged 2005 edition.
I tried the pretzel which was great.
I will be back!
12-22-2006 03:33:05 |
More by dlee
Cock & Bull in Sarasota, FL
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