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Cock & Bull

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

43 Ratings
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 4.42
pDev: 16.74%
Taps: 38
Bottles: 600
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

975 Cattlemen Rd
Sarasota, Florida, 34232-2809
United States
phone: (941) 363-1262

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: dpend)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by AdamBear:
Photo of AdamBear
4.29/5  rDev -2.9%

Atmosphere: the inside is very large with a large outside yard with a lot of seating. It is not however particularly nice. It is basically a dive bar based on atmosphere alone.

One problem I've noticed with this place is that they have concerts on the weekends. I find this quite undesirable as the concerts bring in rather large crowds full of some sketchy types of people (of the BMC type if you know what I mean). On these nights, there is a cover charge to enter, tho not too expensive. Two positive things are that the concerts are not too loud and even though they bring in a lot of people, it is rarely too crowded to fill up all the tables.
**However, the most undesirable thing about these concerts is that the concerts force the staff to pour all beers into....PLASTIC cups...I find this absolutely inappropriate..I had to drink a Bell's Hop Slam and a Dogfish Head Chicory Stout out of plastic cups.

The service is great. The people there will get to know you and help you out with selections and other deals.

The selection is just about perfect. The large tap list is impressive and the cooler is filled with amazing and rare brews.

It is however way overpriced in my opinion. Dogfish Head Bitches Brew is $37.50. Any of their rare beers are just way overpriced. They're taking advantage of the rich Sarasota people, which makes it hard for someone like me to enjoy the beers that would other be expensive...but not completely overpriced by threefold.

AdamBear, Dec 23, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of sirhoward
5/5  rDev +13.1%

sirhoward, Oct 02, 2014
Photo of sd123
3.93/5  rDev -11.1%

Very nice place but very frustrating that they didnt have a beer menu so you have to pick a bottle out of the rows of refrigerated beers behind the bar or choose a draft beer from a scrolling list on a computer screen. Pretty frustrating but other than that a fantastic bar with games and nice people, highly recommended

also they said they are working on making a menu so maybe this problem will be fixed sometime soon

sd123, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of Kubes83
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Kubes83, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of SHolland
3.54/5  rDev -19.9%

Every one seems to love this place, but I have been maybe half a dozen times and decided there are much better places to go in Sarasota, albeit not with the same selection.

It isn't totally my style, but I commend the owners for creating such a unique atmosphere. I wish more business people would be willing to take that risk. It has kind of an old Florida, woodsy, artsy flair to it, inside and the patio. It could use some brighter lighting though.

Service is not the best, as others have also pointed out. It isn't terrible, but they clearly are not on top of their game. They are too laid back to pay the correct amount of attention to each and every customer. Keeping regulars happy is important, yes, but you won't convert others if you don't show them the same care you do to the current regulars.

Prices are average. We bought a Raison D'Extra once for around $40, which is crazy, but I don't think it was outrageous for what it was. At least they had it to offer.

We (bf and I) have only ordered food on two or three occasions...typical bar food/munchie menu, with not much more creativity that what comes out of the freezer. Pizzas are ok. Everything takes forever to come out of the kitchen. The pizza we ordered once wasn't fully cooked and was missing one of our requested toppings.

In terms of quality of beers, stick to the bottles. Personally, I go out to drink beer on tap; I can buy and drink bottles at home. But the beers CnB have on tap are never as good as you expect unless you know for sure they were hooked up within the past couple days. I have heard from multiple people in the beer scene, beer drinkers, beertenders and beer bar owners alike, that they do not regularly clean their tap lines. funk = nasty beer.

An example of 'quality': Around the time that DFH first came out with Palo Santo Marron we went to CnB to try it because they had it on tap. They really dislike offering samples of high gravity beers (I get it, it's costly, but it makes you look cheap, do a half of a regular sample if you want), including most of DFH's beers. I wanted to sample it first but I decided that since I liked 90% of everything DFH I had tried up to that point I might as well just go for it. What I got was a flat, slightly warm, unpleasant beverage that BAers probably would have rated in the Bud Light range. I wasn't sure if it was a DFH screw up or if the keg was so old the beer tasted bad. I got the impression that they would have blamed it on DFH, and if they did agree to pour me another, they would have trouble concealing their displeasure. I decided to man up and finish the pint. About 9 months later I got the opportunity to visit DFH's brewery, went on a tour, and lo and behold, found Palo Santo on the free tasting list. Out of curiousity I accepted the sample...and that beer cannot be compared in the least to what I had at CnB.

That was the worst experience I had at CnB. Other visits we shared bottles (which were kept at the correct temp) and tried some other pints, but the IPAs we bought just didn't taste...fresh. Think Heady Topper taste one week old, versus two months old (I have had both).

I have chatted very briefly with the owners...they are not bad people. They are friendly and welcoming. But they do not act as if they fully understand how much better their bar can be, if they just adjusted their service and cleanliness standards. If your customer volume does not go through kegs before they become old, you should consider cutting a couple taps until the volume increases. No one wants old beer. Unless they like Bud Light. In which case, they wouldn't be able to tell if the beer is good or bad, old or young, stale or dry hopped on premise.

I would recommend Mr. Beery's, North Bridge, Shakespeare's, and the Shamrock before I suggest Cock and Bull.

SHolland, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of dmincer
4.38/5  rDev -0.9%

I counted 450 bottled beers and about 30 on tap, all great selections. Best beer selection I've found in Southern Florida. The bartender was friendly and knowledgeable. The place was dark and not really decorated in any way. The parking was slim. Its out of the way and I'll probably come back occasionally when in the area due to location. I'll visit other beer places downtown and in more busy areas (Blue Owl Tavern and Mr. Beery's) because although the selection is less, the location and/or deals/price are better.

dmincer, Jul 27, 2012
Photo of baby4rose
3.13/5  rDev -29.2%

I am happy to had found a great pub like Cock n Bull... I had learned allot about beer style from the many visits. It was like a home away from home, with tons of beers to choose from and knowledge to gain. In which, I completed the alchemist program! The staff was not always the best at service, especially if the did not know you. They use to help me to find the perfect "beer" / fit for the evening. I use to suggest CnB every where I go when I lived in Sarasota. Overall, I still visit the place but certainly not as much and defiantly don't appreciate or enjoy it as much as I use to. Have yet to find someplace like CnB up in Raleigh.

baby4rose, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of mayastack
4.53/5  rDev +2.5%

The original Sarasota beer bar! They were doing it ten years before it was cool. Great atmosphere and great peeps, which is not always easy to find in SRQ. The bar is set in a farmhouse from maybe the turn of the century, which makes it really friggin old and unique by Florida standards. They have an outside deck and courtyard that features an awesome fire pit in the winter and a large stage for bands. Avid supporters of local music. Fantastic beer selection, especially when it comes to microbrews. Great ownership and warm staff...as long as you don't act like a douchebag. Great draft beer selection, including several beers that are off the wall and not seen at the more corporate beer bars.

mayastack, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of AintNoWino
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%

To be perfectly honest, this place looked like a total dump when I pulled up. ( I later found out it was an old feed barn that had been turned into a bar.) It was about 6pm on a Wednesday and there was one car parked out front with no open sign or anything but the front door was propped open. A friend of mine told me I HAD to check this place out so I decided to give it a chance, despite my scepticism.

I walked through the front door into a beer fans heaven. The first thing you see as you walk in is the awe inspiring sight of an 8 door cooler filled with roughly 900? bottles and a wall of 40 taps. The atmosphere is a very cool old world style pub. Lots of wood, knick knacks on the wall, and some amazing paintings that I found out were actually painted on the premises by local artists at an event the pub hosted. The back yard was a very cool beer garden with a fire pit and lots of seating, plus a covered back porch. I was also very pleased to hear smoking was only allowed outside.

Their selection was great. Lots of American craft and micro-brews blended well with an obviously hand selected import list. I was extremely pleased to see that there was no bud, miller, or coors products on any of their 40 taps. In fact, I didn't even notice them on the shelves until about two hours later when I noticed them tucked away in the far door. I couldn't help but laugh when a woman ordered a coors light and the bartender all but begged her to try something else. He explained that he would feel like he hadn't done his job properly if he served that to her. He talked her in to trying something different and she loved it.

The bartender greeted me with a very warm welcome. This "kid" was probably late 20's which made me very sceptical about how much he could possibly know about beer. Boy was I wrong. I believe his name was Collin so that's what I will call him(sorry if I'm mistaken). This guy was great. He was very welcoming, friendly, and helpful. This kid knew his stuff. He picked out 6 beers for me throughout my stay and every single one was exactly what I was looking for. He even knew lots of the histories and stories about the breweries and beers. It was a slow evening so I got the pleasure of extra attention. It was very obvious that he actually had a passion for what he was doing and was not there just to make a buck. The service alone would keep me coming back to this place. Thank you Collin.

My understanding is that they have live music every Saturday and liter specials on their drafts every wednesday. Unfortunately, I have yet to experience either of these but can only imagine them being great events.

I did not get to try their food but did see one pizza come out that looked amazing. Their menu basically consisted of pizzas and sandwiches but they're apparently all made from scratch. They had some very interesting specialty pizzas as well, such as an oyster pizza?

I left and felt guilty for my first impression. The atmosphere was very interesting, relaxed, and welcoming. The selection, amazing. The service, top notch. The service and selection will keep me coming back for more. BEST BAR I'VE EVER BEEN TO.

AintNoWino, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of DosBeerigos
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%

Welcome to Sarasota, Florida....what the hell is there to do here? Well lucky for us all this is a true beer community. At the heart of Sarasota's Beer Community is The Cock and Bull Pub.

OK, well pull up to this location and the first thing that comes to mind is maybe I have the wrong place....or maybe we all just forget where we came from. Beer Bars are not suppose to be glitzy and glamorous. The Cock and Bull is what a true beer bar should be.

Based out of what appears to be an old house, The Cock and Bull shines as a beer lovers paradise. Once inside we were all welcomed by owner and beer lover Howie. After a quick tour of the bottles, taps, and the outside area, I was able to sneak a behind the scenes tour of the bar.

The Cock and Bull is an extremely comfortable beer bar, you almost feel like you are at your friends house drinking a beer and shooting the shit.
Outside is just like a backyard, with a huge fire pit and two small stages for live music. Pull up an empty keg, chill by the fire and listen to some live music all while drinking a fine selection of beer.

BEER! That's right, if 40 draft lines and 500+ bottles of beer don't strike your fancy then there is the Sake and Wine selection.
The knowledgeable and hospitable staff will help you find something that you like to drink.

So lets review; comfortable atmosphere, fantastic outside area, amazing draft and bottle selection, great staff, sake and wine (for the non-beer drinker), pizza's, and a bad ass name....yep that's the Cock and Bull!
I give this bar a 5.0/5.0, there is nothing I would change about it. If I was to own a place of my own, I would model it after the Cock and Bull. This is a must visit!

DosBeerigos, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of svraines
5/5  rDev +13.1%

I am an occasional visitor to the Sarasota area, but this trip I went out of my way to try this place. If you are from the area, you should get acquainted with C&B Pub if you aren't already. We went on a Thursday so it was pretty dead, good for us, bad for tips. I was looking to get some Cigar City beers without driving up to Tampa and Dawn at the bar hooked me up. I like to try the standards from a brewery so the Maduro Brown and Jai Alai IPA were on my list and had a little bit of the Cubano Espresso on tap.
Taps were great, standards and 'whales', and bottles almost unparalleled. Great prices for the quality ($4.50 Snifter of Cubano) and good pours, maybe even too much in the snifter of some big beers. It was a pleasure to talk with Dawn about beer. They even had a beer brewed for them on tap with Florida mandarins and local honey. I will definitely make it out to C&B every time I am in town.

svraines, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of dainbramage
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%

The Cock & Bull is what a tru pub should feel like. Everything about this place screams beer. As soon as you walkin the heavy entrance door you see the coolers lining the back of the hand crafted bar. Look up and to the right and you will see the draft beer menu. With roughly 38 on draft and about 300 bottles on hand you will find something you like. The staff is very knowledgeable and willing to make suggestions if you are unsure.
The bull is a Non smoking establishment so for those who do and those who do not there is a huge back lot with a fire pit and 2 stages for local bands. I would highly recommend that if you are even close check this place out you will not be dissapointed.

dainbramage, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of Brysky
5/5  rDev +13.1%

This is my favorite beer bar as there are a few in our town, this is the top dog. The owners have been in the business for decades and know their beer. The staff knows it as well and anything they don't know they will be the first to say it and ask the owners.

Some of the beer is a bit costly to some but you have to think of it as quality to quantity. The beer that is more priced then others is higher in abv. % so it evens out and they are defiantly comparable to other places around town if not cheaper.

The pizza is some of the BEST in Florida and a very under estimated part of the Cock & Bull experience. They supply on their menu different pizza's pairings of what type of beer should be had with each. They also have subs, newly added wings, spring rolls and soft pretzels with either marinara or warm beer cheese which is so good.

When it comes to the taps they have over 45 taps and bottles are over 400 and the beers are ever changing.

It is a rather large place with a pool table, and a large back outside area with a newly installed stage where they have live music shows often. and during the winter they have a fire pit to keep warm.

They have specials all the time, whether it is Karaoke Rock Band on Mons., free topping Tues. or $5 liter night on Weds.

I recommend this place to anyone, there is no creepy guys trying to pick up girls as this is a real chill place. Is a very great place to just hang out and have a beer alone, try something new or meet friends.

Such a great place.

Brysky, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of nopucophop
3.88/5  rDev -12.2%

The atmosphere of this place is great. Lots of wood, cool decor, and a outdoor fireplace. I myself like quite places and even with all the great reviews it is never packed when I go, again to me that is a good thing. There really is not anything more I could look for in a place. If I lived close by this would be my home away from home. The guys I have met behind the bar have been great. Thanks Howie and Frank. They really go out of there way to make you feel at home. The selection is massive. I would like to see some of the more rare Belgiums but that is my personal taste. On my last visit the had the following on tap TenFidy, Storm King Stout, Shiner Black, Delirium Noel, Lindemans Framboise, Brooklyn Cookie Jar Porter, Bells Cherry Stout and many more. I have only had the Pizza and I believe it may be all they offer but it was actually pretty dam good. Now I am not saying this is the place to go if food is your focus but the pie I had kicked ass. All in all I really enjoy this place. I would tell any lover of beer to be sure to visit this place if your anywhere in the area.

***UPDATE****
Upon my most recent visit to Fl the service here has taken a step back. Frank is no longer there and he was a key component. I actually was served a DFH Shatea in a plastic cup. They said that they were waiting clean cups. C'mon, it's that hard to have clean cups? I would get it if the place was packed, but it was quite the opposite. The attitude of the place has move more to arrogant which I did not like either. This is no longer my favorite Sarasota bar. Sorry Howie! I will still visit as the beer is awesome but the other elements are failing.

nopucophop, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of gunnerman
3.4/5  rDev -23.1%

I have had plans to stop by this place for years now and finally had the chance. The atmosphere is where this is at, The place just oozes beer from the cool tin to the awesome lights in the window it just screams craft. The door going into this place was awesome it was on a pully type system with maybe a weight attached to it, very cool. The bottle refrig's were some of the nicest around and displayed well over 300 different beers, well lit and art like. The outside was pretty nice with a bond fire going, it had that college feel to it. Now getting on to the drafts, what a dissapointment they had litterly weak drafts, I was expecting a selection like Redlight Redlight but it was not like that, wrong tap handles, wrong glassware, horrible service, the bartender had no clue. Overall I don't want to bash this place to much the amazing bottle selection, was a plus. I think this place could be one of the coolest beer bars if they bring in rarer drafts. I was a bit letdown for hearing such good things about this place.

gunnerman, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of GOGRANDE
4.88/5  rDev +10.4%

So I am in Sarasota to visit some friends and hit up Cigar City Brewery. And one of my friends says that she wants to take me to the cock and bull cause I would love
it. Holy crap...she was right.

It def looks like a dump. From the outside I would peg it as a local bar with a bunch of older white guys playing pool and driking Budlight. BUT...its quite the opposite.

As you walk up the ramp and into the front door your greeted with a massive wall of beer fridges.
Insane...I could not stop starring. I was mezmorized! Great selection...BUT some of the big boys were mad pricey. for example. 750ml of Mikkelers, Cigar City, and other great high end beers were well over $15...I was most suprised by the cost of a bottle of DFH 120. $26!!! but yea...other than the really high end stuff. Everything was priced fair. Atmosphere was awesome. Local young people, pool table, pub vibe, There was this cool living room set up in the back. Plus a porch and back yard complete with bone fire and kegs to sit on as chairs. Friking bad ass place.

GOGRANDE, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of JAA
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%

Only been there once, and it once absolutely empty. Just me and a couple of bartenders. It just opened for the day, but Jesus, it was after 5 P.M.

The place looks like a dump from the outside. It looks like a standard pub on the inside. Nice wood bar, dart room, pool tables, and a decent size outside deck.

Service was good, probably because i was the only patron. However, the bartenders didn't really talk all that much. It was a like drinking alone.

Selection is phenomenal. The best bottle selection in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Mostly american craft in twelve ounce bottles. About thirty beers on tap, and good beers, hard to find stuff and big beer. I liked the coolers with all the beer lined up in them. Easy for me, because i have great eyesight.

Overall a great bar. Probably more enjoyable on a friday or a saturday night when it gets a little busy. Quite far from my house in Palmetto. I would go more often if it was closer.

JAA, Jul 09, 2009
Photo of Zeckster
4.28/5  rDev -3.2%

So I went here a couple times over the years and it was okay. Then they did the redesign. Wow. I love it there now.

Let me start with my only issue. No menus for the beer. This is an issue because it was hard for me to see what was in the cases. Wayyy easier than it used to be, but still a little bit of trouble. When the staff had time they did tell me what I was looking at though. So, good marks for the staff.

Also they were all very helpful and friendly, even when super busy. I said I wanted a quad and damn if it wasn't the one I love the most.

The bottle selection is pretty good, but I was very impressed with the tap choice. Over the few days there I had the Dogfish Worldwide, 120 and Pangaea. Pretty sweet. They also have an excellent Root Beer on tap. That was nice to have after so much alcohol.

I didn't have any of the food, but I hear its been quite well received. And thanks to Todd for suggesting that I head back here. It totally changed my mind.

Zeckster, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.43/5  rDev +0.2%

Been going to Sarasota for years and was aware of downtown location but no reason to use it. Great place with new coolers, bar and taps. Great people like Howie, Dawn and Tony. Selection is very good and all three will go out of their ways to suggest brews when they know your level of interest and the nature of you taste. I looked over the menu of pizza and sandwichs. Very good. When you have great beer, I don't need food. I will go the five nights I am here and take son and his lady to see what they think.

A Must Visit!

tmoneyba, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of aubuc1
4.31/5  rDev -2.5%

The cock & bull is a great beer bar. Others have mentioned the great beer selection, which it does have as nice as possible in FL. They do have a great back patio and large backyard. I would go more frequently if it weren't smokey. The servers smoke while serving, a big negative for me. The place could use much better marketing and more customer friendly hours- they don't open until 8pm on weekends. They do get brewery direct offerings sometimes. Bottom line is that they have great beer. I wish I were able to go more frequently.

aubuc1, Sep 24, 2008
Photo of plastroin
4.78/5  rDev +8.1%

The Cock & Bull Pub is an oasis in Sarasota, where there are only a few other bars with decent selection. C&B blows them all out of the water, though. It's located close to the interstate, in an older industrial part of town. I believe the building used to be a celery-processing plant. So yeah, it's rustic and not spiffy and shiny, but it is by no means a dive.

Walking through the door, you are greeted by the brand new beer cooler and bar, and it is a wondrous site!

Behold:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/plastron/2304556945/sizes/o/in/set-72157604028815761/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/plastron/2304556901/sizes/o/in/set-72157604028815761/

(In the first pic you see most of the lineup, but there are at least two cooler doors that couldn't fit into the pic-- one is around the corner.)

So, outstanding bottle selection.... this was not always on display, as the previous coolers weren't large enough. They've got around a dozen taps at this point in their remodeling, though I understand they're getting more. They frequently get specials on draft, such as Rogue's John Locker Stock series, or special one-offs from Brooklyn.

The selection runs the gamut of American, British, German, and Belgian offerings, along with all kinds of stuff from other locales. I'd say their heaviest concentration is Belgian and American. Several Abbey Ales and Saisons to choose from. Prices are generally fair, but can be high for some unique items (like Fantome). You have the option of buying bottles to take home, which is nice.

Foodwise, they've got pizza and sandwiches, and sometimes bratwurst or big pretzels. It's all reliably good, but nothing special or fancy (which suits me just fine). From time to time, they also host exclusive beer-pairing dinners, like one I attended with Garrett Oliver recently.

Once you tear your eyes away from the bottle selection, you notice the charming atmosphere. This is what I imagine British pubs to be like, except that maybe this is larger (there's a second story, closed off now, but that provides a nice high ceiling). Wood everywhere, nice round tables, a pool table, and a cozy side-room that has a couple of couches and a comfy chair. Classic beer bottles set up all over the place.

Moving outside, there is a large porch (with a roof) with big tables, plus an extra bar for really busy nights. Down the porch steps, and you walk out into the large beer garden. Straight ahead is a big fire pit, set in the middle of a brick walkway. Spent kegs and plastic chairs surround the fire. On either side are many large picnic tables, and beyond is a modest patch of lawn, big enough to walk your dog around (folks readily bring their dogs, and I've even seen a cat on a leash there!). Still outside, there is a small makeshift stage for bands to play-- I understand they're going to remodel this and make it more professional. I love the beer garden.... this is usually where I head, because I can't stand smoke. It's nice to gather with a bunch of friends around a picnic table and talk.

Howie and Dawn are the owners, and if you get the chance to talk to them, you should. They're very friendly and love to talk beer, and are loyal to their regulars. Anytime I come in, I feel like family. The other bartenders, Tony, Frank, and Leah, are also nice folks and fun to hang around. These folks are not rude-- in fact, I have witnessed their amazing patience and good humor as they attended to asshole fratboys who whistled for the bartender.

Now, here's the thing: the warm, welcoming atmosphere I enjoy here is not going to be experienced by every visitor, especially if it's on the weekend. Fridays and Saturdays the place can be very busy, and at times there are bands playing, bringing tons of folks who would not normally be at the best beer bar in Florida. During these times, you may encounter rude fratboys or perfectly friendly death metal fans. Take it in stride. Also, if it's really busy, you're not going to get to chat up the bartenders, they just do not have the time. Unfortunately on these nights, you may also only have the option of a plastic cup for your beer. Otherwise, you can enjoy nice Belgian chalices and tulips, large German steins and the like. But, I imagine that they've probably lost too many of these to theft or damage on rowdy weekends. So, I recommend stopping in during the week, or on Sunday nights.

After visiting well-known beer bars in other cities, such as The Toronado (San Francisco) and The Map Room (Chicago), I can appreciate them, but I really value how much space and personality we have here at the Cock & Bull. This is a place where you can chat up a stranger, gather with 30 of your friends to party, or just sit by yourself with a beer and a book. I will miss it when I leave town.

plastroin, May 04, 2008
Photo of gatordan
4.9/5  rDev +10.9%

With a complete remodel of the bar area they are second to none. The selection is unparalleled in the Southeastern United States and one must travel to New York City or Boston and still you may not surpass their selection. All the different styles are represented as well as many of the great beer producing countries. If you are a beer person than this is your place. There are over 600 bottles and 42 draft beers to chose from. The staff are helpful and knowledgeable and I have found are quick with a recommendation. I have watched many people stand in front of the new cooler, mouth agape and requiring assistance. The challenge is not what to drink but where to start! This is must visit if you enjoy your beer.

Also, they are pet friendly! WOW, beer and pet friendly, what more could you ask?

Cheers!

gatordan, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of thryn
4.58/5  rDev +3.6%

I'm not sure what happened to my old review, but it's gone. So here's a new one.

I'm usually in here twice a week, and haven't yet found any place else in Sarasota as likely to draw my dollar for a pint. The atmosphere might not be everyone's idea of awesome -- it's an old barn-type building in an old agricultural district, and smoking is allowed inside. But the high ceilings do a lot to mitigate the cigarette smoke, and the back deck and fire pit(!) offer room to spread out and enjoy Florida's cool winter nights. The crowd can get a bit raucous but is usually pretty laid back.

The owners, Howie and Dawn, know their beer, and the bartenders have good knowledge as well. Sometimes there is table service, but usually, patrons are expected to go to the bar and order and bring their empties up. Food is brought out to the tables when it's done.

Let's mention the food, shall we? A pizza oven makes for some excellent and creative pies and grinders, and toppings are plentiful for both. Pretzels are doughy and warm, served salted or unsalted with beer cheese or mustard available. I recommend the beer cheese. There's not a full kitchen menu, but what is available is decidedly tasty. It gets a 4 only because the variety is limited.

The draught selection is diminished right now because of renovations, but there are six taps up, I believe, which on a recent visit included Avery's Keiser and Penn Weizen, though the taps do change frequently. I think the plan is for 40-something taps, all told (there were 20 or so before renovations started, IIRC). The renovated bar has finally come out from behind a tarp, and it's lovely, with slices of trees lacquered into the surface and the gorgeous new cooler behind the bar shows off plenty of craft brews and imports behind its five? six? glass doors.

Some of the brews will set you back a piece; others won't hurt the wallet. Yes, some are available cheaper at Whole Foods, but that's a grocery store, not a bar, and Whole Foods doesn't pour them into appropriate glassware for you. If you haven't been lately, give it another whirl!

Edited to add: One thing that does detract from the atmosphere is some of the graffiti. While bathroom graffiti is expected in a bar, such liberal use of a certain anti-gay slur is a bit off-putting, and made one of my friends feel downright uneasy in a place that should be welcoming. Also, I'd have expected more clever graffiti from the eclectic bunch who frequent the pub. I look forward to those walls being completely covered with the cutouts from beer packs and cases that now just provide a smattering of the decor.

thryn, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of DrummerDan
5/5  rDev +13.1%

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.

DrummerDan, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of goethean
1/5  rDev -77.4%

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.

goethean, Dec 04, 2007
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Cock & Bull in Sarasota, FL
97 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.