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Sarasota, Florida – September 4, 2019 – Representatives of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals are pleased to release details on their 3rd annual signature cocktail contest “Set The Bar.”  


When | Friday October 4, 2019 

Where | Universal Flight Training Hangar, Sarasota 

Event time | 6:30 to 9PM 

Each year, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals bring together the area’s best bartenders, distillers and other bar and spirits professionals for the annual “Set The Bar” Cocktail Competition. Designed to showcase the creative beverage talents behind the area’s locally-owned, independent restaurants, this year’s 3rd annual Set The Bar will highlight 20 accomplished mixologists representing establishments from the northern tip of Anna Maria Island to the southern shores of Venice Beach, nearly double last year’s field of competitors. The Sarasota-Manatee Originals are proud to partner with the Child Protection Center, Sarasota to host Set the Bar. Event proceeds benefit the CPC, whose mission is the prevention, intervention & treatment of child abuse. 

“The bar program is a highly integral part of the health and innovation of today’s dining industry,” states SMO Executive Director Sarah Firstenberger. “Like the Chefs in the kitchen, our bartenders are driving the guest experience, delighting guests with thoughtful and creative cocktails and perfect pairings. Set the Bar was created as a playful platform to showcase their enormous contributions.”   


“The Best” libations will be decided by an expert panel as well as event attendees who will be tasked with sampling and savoring each creation before judging the competitors on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination. The competition will feature innovative concoctions blended with Plymouth Gin, Absolut Elyx Vodka, Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon or Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila. In addition to exclusive access to the most skilled beverage innovators in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, guests at Set The Bar will enjoy live entertainment, raffles, and delicious dishes presented by fellow Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ member restaurant Icon Eatery & Bar and several other Originals to be announced soon.

“The field of competitors is fierce,” added Firstenberger, “with last year’s top winners The Waterfront Restaurant (People’s Choice) and Duval’s (Judges’ Choice) returning and determined to defend their coveted designation.” This year’s contenders also include representatives from: 


Blasé Café & Martini Bar 

Café Gabbiano 

Element: Modern Mediterranean Grill 

Fins at Sharky’s 

GROVE • Restaurant • Patio • Ballroom 

Jack Dusty 

JPAN Sushi & Grill 

MADE Restaurant 


Michael’s On East 

Ophelia’s on the Bay 

Overture Restaurant & Gallery Lounge 

Pacific Rim 

PIER 22 • Restaurant • Patio • Catering 

Pop’s Sunset Grill 

State Street Eating House + Cocktails 

The Sandbar Restaurant 


Tickets for Set The Bar are available for purchase now via Regular General Admission tickets are offered at $45 each. Space is limited so there is no guarantee that tickets will be available “At the Door.” Must be 21 years of age or older to attend this event.


For additional information, contact Sarasota-Manatee Originals Event Manager Veronica Clinton at (941) 365-2800 or [email protected]. 

About Sarasota-Manatee Originals 

It was 16 years ago that the Sarasota-Manatee Originals was founded: a collaborative of independently owned and operated restaurants and culinary innovators committed to uniting the energies of local restaurants and celebrating the food and friendship that’s indigenous to the area’s Gulf-coastal lifestyle.  

Today the “Originals” are nearly 60 restaurants strong and provide residents and visitors to our area with unique local flavor from the north shore of Anna Maria Island down to the southern beaches of Venice and every neighborhood in between.  

Dining at an Originals restaurant supports the extraordinary efforts of local restaurateurs who share a passion for dining excellence and commitment to the communities in which they work and live.  Members encourage all diners to always “Eat Like a Local.” 

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