99 Bottles Is an Award-Winning Sarasota Gem

There are so many ways that one can experience 99 Bottles. At this versatile downtown Sarasota gem, you can sit at the sleek bar for a drink with friends, tuck away solo in a comfy corner with a book and enjoy the atmosphere, or you can pick up bottles of rare, innovative wines. You may also, as my wife and I did this past Sunday, swing by for their signature Real Deal New York Bagel Brunch.

Since it opened in spring of 2019, 99 Bottles has cultivated a loyal following, including a fair share of regulars. It’s made such an impression on local beer connoisseurs that Wine Enthusiast recently listed it as one of the best bottle shops in the entire country.

It’s well-deserved accolade. Staffers are always knowledgeable about their selection — whether it’s the 34 draft beers they offer or the phenomenal selection of 99 bottles on the wall. So amazing is this staff that I have come in to buy a gift, described the person for whom I’m purchasing a 6-pack, and they’ve made perfect recommendations based on just that. Plus, they never judge me when I tell them that IPAs make me sneeze.

Mark Tuchman, who owns 99 Bottles, called the Wine Enthusiast recognition “an honor.”

“It’s our amazing customers, local community and incredible staff that have been extremely supportive and led us to this recognition,” he says.

And while I had been to 99 Bottles several times, I had only heard second-hand praise of the bagel brunch. It lived up to the hype. Bagels are flown in from New York, where it’s theorized by many that the local water just makes a better bagel. They’re par baked, flash frozen, delivered to 99 and finally finished in their oven every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

I opted for the wild salmon with cream cheese, cucumber, sliced red onion, tomato, and capers. You can find some great versions of this classic elsewhere in Sarasota, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better one. The salmon was smoky and tender, the onions didn’t overpower. Ingredients were crisp and fresh, perfectly complementing the cloudless sky we encountered as we ate outside at the long picnic table.

You’ll also find pop-up dinner kitchens most nights at 99 … as if I needed another reason to return to one of the best beer shops in America.

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