Experience Sarasota: Pub 32 Irish Gastropub
Much like Ireland, the country of its inspiration, Pub 32 is a small, yet proud destination next to the behemoth of its neighbor.
Set across the street from Westfield Sarasota Square Mall on US41, this gastropub has all the luck of the Irish and then some.
With a bar stocked with what owner Ross Galbraith considers “the best selection of whiskey in Sarasota” and a menu inspired by the gourmet restaurants of Northern Ireland’s County Antrim, Galbraith is justifiably proud of what he and wife, Louise, have achieved in the seven short years since their arrival in this country.
“We opened last February,” said Galbraith. “We had no publicity, no advertising. We wanted to greet whoever walked in the door that day and make them feel welcome – it’s a family place.”
And instead of plastering the walls of the restaurant with meaningless memorabilia of a country both Galbraith and his wife call home, their desire for authenticity was paramount.
“We wanted to create a comfortable environment that was more upscale than a dark and dingy pub – to have a good craic and choose from a menu that is unique in this city – the choices on our menu are not your typical frozen, straight out of the microwave-type food that many pubs offer. I pride myself on the quality of the food I serve.”
For those who want to take a bite out of Irish cuisine, the pub’s Guinness and onion soup or the perfectly fried fish and chips will have you yearning to kiss the Blarney Stone in a trice, but Galbraith has plans to be more than a mere cultural nuance.
“We’ve been successful since we opened,” said Galbraith. “But now, we have the opportunity to look back on our first year, take a breath and think how we can improve.”
And with that in mind, Galbraith’s working hard to embrace local merchants to improve both the restaurant’s menu and the local economy.
“It’s a natural progression for us to provide a menu that is organic and sourced locally,” he explained.
“This summer our menu will maintain what our regular customers expect to see, but we plan some changes. We’re learning as we go along, but the quality of our ingredients will only become better. I’m looking forward to this time of change.”
As he pours a customer a Bushmills whiskey, Galbraith reflects on his life to date.
“I grew up in Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles,’” he said. “It was normal and accepted. It was life. But it was a simple, quiet conversation over a cup of coffee one morning with my wife that convinced us to make this journey here.”
It was a caffeine-fuelled tête-à-têtes he has never regretted.
“With the support of our families both here and in Ireland, Pub 32 has become a success. That will never change and I’m thankful for what I have.”
Pub 32 Irish Gastropub?
8383 South Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, Florida 34238
- Ken Haggerty is a regular correspondent for the SarasotaDay.com as well as the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. A Maine native, he also spent 15 years as a journalist in London, UK, working as an editor on broad range of sport and lifestyle magazines.