Sushi lovers will no doubt have tried, and possibly enjoyed, the alcoholic beverage known as sake. Sometimes it’s referred to as a rice wine, because of its appearance and alcoholic content. Sake is brewed very similarly to beer. It’s noncarbonated with a sweet taste, light color, and has up to 18 percent alcohol. This national liquor of Japan is served in special ceremonies.
Here in Tampa Bay there are three sake bars where you can savor this unique drink that looks like wine, brews like beer, and tastes like a liqueur. Two of the sushi and sake establishments are in Tampa: Ybor and New Tampa. The other location is in Sarasota. There’s all the information you need on names, locations, hours, and other helpful information. Be sure to raise your small porcelain cup or sakazuki and say kampai (cheers) before getting started.
Samurai Blue Sushi and Sake Bar – Tampa
Centro Ybor’s and Westchase’s finest Japanese restaurant and bar featuring sushi, sake, and Sapporo beer await you. Samurai Blue Sushi and Sake Bar’s original location in Ybor is on the second level of the Centro Ybor dining, shopping, and entertainment complex.
Be sure to try their Geisha Plum as a cocktail. It’s a concoction of sake and plum wine. There’s a Japanese plum sitting pretty at the bottom. The Westchase location is on Racetrack Road also serving similar lunch and dinner hours. No matter the location you’re bound to enjoy the Japanese cuisine and sake.
Address: 1600 E. 8th Avenue Tampa, Florida 33605
Phone: (813) 242-6688 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours: Lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. till 2 p.m., Dinner: Sunday – Tuesday 5 p.m. till 11 p.m., Wednesday – Thursday 5 p.m. till midnight, Friday – Saturday 5 p.m. till 1 a.m.
Kazu’s 2.0 – Sarasota
Kazu Tsuchiya was born in Japan, and then came to the U.S. to study at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. After studying and working as a sushi chef and playing in a band around Sarasota, he’s combined his love of music and culinary arts with his very own sushi/craft beer/sake bar and eatery. Kazu’s 2.0 is located in the heart of Sarasota’s Gulf Gate. Besides traditional wines from California, Germany, and New Zealand, you’ll find a vast array of sakes, sake cocktails, and craft sake along with sushi pairings from various regions of Japan.
Be sure to try their sake floats with a choice of green tea or coconut ice cream or lychee sherbet. If you’re really brave they offer a craft sake sampler called the “Sake Flight.” Its three shot glasses of any sake. Whether you like your sake hot or chilled, it’s there waiting for you. Find out why this place is the evolution of drink and sushi.
Address: 6566 Gateway Avenue Sarasota, Florida 34231
Phone: (941) 922-5459
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 4:30 p.m. till Last Call at 11:45 p.m., Sunday: 4:30 p.m. till Last Call at 9:15 p.m.
Takara Sushi & Sake Lounge – Tampa
Situated in New Tampa and catering to a popular USF crowd is Tampa Bay’s favorite place for sushi and sake. Takara Sushi & Sake Lounge was voted best appetizer and best in show at the Taste of New Tampa 2013. It has been recognized by Creative Loafing’s Best of The Bay series. Known for its Japanese fusion cuisine you’ll find nigiri and sashimi platters and other varieties, plus their loaded signature rolls. For those wanting a familiar menu offering there’s grilled seafood, steaks and salads.
At the sake lounge you can enjoy their fine sake and unique cocktails and sake-tinis. During strawberry season they offer up the Ty Ku Coco Berry saketini. It’s made from the premium Nigori sake or cloudy sake that’s sweeter than most other sakes. Take advantage of their happy hour every day of the week. You can get a $1 infused flavored sake shot and $3 small hot sake.
Address: 14913 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. Tampa, FL 33613
Phone: (813) 977- 1062
Hours: Monday – Thursday 11a.m. till 3 p.m. / 5 p.m. till 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. / 5 p.m. till 11 p.m., Saturday 12 p.m. till 10:30 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m. till 9:30 p.m.
Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 5 p.m. till 7 p.m., Saturday – Sunday 12 p.m. till 5 p.m.