Pub Eighty Eight Opens on Bradenton's Old Main Street

cschelle@bradenton.comJune 12, 2013 

BRADENTON -- Downtown's newest music joint is now open and serving drinks on Old Main Street.

Pub Eighty Eight opened Tuesday night at 436 12th St. W.

"It's not a piano bar, it's a bar with a piano," owner Matt Coates said.

The piano-style lounge features a place to lounge and offers televisions to catch the big game. If you prefer you can grab a seat around the piano. The non-smoking bar seats about 50 people and is open from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

The name of the bar is a nod to the 88 keys on a piano, Coates said, but the bar will be more than piano music.

"I'll have different musicians other than pianos. I'll have sax players, I have a jazz flautist coming," Coates said.

Live entertainment is planned starting at 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Starting off the piano rotation is Jack Henriquez on Tuesdays, Pat Walsh on Wednesdays and Fridays, Sidney James Wingfield on Thursdays, and Tanya and Matt on Mondays and once a month on Saturdays.

The Tanya and Matt duo is actually Coates and his wife.

Coates, 57, originally from Kent, Ohio, relocated to Bradenton three years ago with his wife of 36 years. The two frequented the area over the last decade to visit family and friends and fell that led them to want to create a pub to showcase local musical talent.

Coates is a piano player and singer himself, and performed the National Anthem regularly at Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers games, he said. While in Ohio, he

also ran a bar called Mugs in Kent. He also opened up for the Allman Brothers, Tower of Power and The Guess Who in the early 1980s, according to his online biography.

The bar has a beer and wine license and found a way to provide potent drinks to customers without liquor by serving sake-based drinks, including saketinis, available in pomegranate, wild berry and other flavors.

"Sake happens to have a much higher proofing, so we upped the serving size of the sake to compensate for the lower alcohol percentage and we came up with a lot of interesting recipes," said Derek Vellozzi, head bartender. "They're actually quite potent, and they will give you the kick that a lot of customers are looking for."

The bar will be serving food provided by neighboring B'Towne Coffee Co., Coates said.

A grand opening is planned in July, said Gary Walczak, a partner in the bar.

Pub Eighty Eight replaces Fisherman Joe's, which closed in 2011 after 20 years in business.

The bar can be reached at 941-896-8877.

Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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