About Set the Bar

    Each year, the Sarasota-Manatee Originals bring together the area’s best bartenders, distillers and other bar and spirits professionals for the annual “Set the Bar” Cocktail Competition. Designed to showcase the creative beverage talents behind our locally-owned, independent restaurants, this year’s 3rd annual Set The Bar will highlight 20 accomplished mixologists representing establishments from the northern tip of Anna Maria Island to the southern shores of Venice beach, nearly double last year’s field of competitors. The competition will feature innovative concoctions blended with Plymouth Gin, Absolut Elyx Vodka, Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon or Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila. In addition to exclusive access to the most skilled beverage innovators in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, guests of Set The Bar will enjoy live entertainment, prizes, and delicious dishes presented by fellow Sarasota-Manatee Originals’ member restaurants, as well as a special appearance by American Honey Creamery. We are proud to partner with the Child Protection Center to host Set the Bar. Event proceeds benefit the CPC, whose mission is the prevention, intervention & treatment of child abuse.

    Friday, October 4th
    6:30PM to 9:00PM
    Universal Flight Training Hangar

    This event is rain or shine!

    Complimentary valet parking provided.


    General Admission Tickets are on sale for $45. Tickets are sold online only through Eventbrite at the link below. Capacity is limited and may sell out prior to the event. If tickets remain, they will be available for purchase at the door for $50. This event is 21 and up only (NO exceptions, this applies to children and infants as well.)

    The Competition

    “The Best” libations will be decided by an expert panel of judges as well as event attendees who will be tasked with sampling and savoring each creative concoction before judging the competitors on Flavor, Appearance, Bartender Presentation and Imagination. You be the judge!

    Gin Category

    Powered by Plymouth Gin

    Tequila Category

    Powered by Olmeca Altos Plata Tequila

    Vodka Category

    Powered by Absolut Elyx

    Whiskey Category

    Powered by Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon

    Judging Panel

    The Set the Bar expert panel of judges is responsible for selecting the top cocktail in each spirit category including gin, vodka, whiskey & tequila. Judging is conducted in a blind manner. Special thanks to Connor Bert, Bar Director at Sage SRQ, & Macy Facciolo, Front of House Manager at Blasé Café, for managing the professional judging portion of this year's Set the Bar Cocktail Competition.

    John Foster

    National Director of Sales & Marketing
    Smooth Ambler

    Nikki Logan Curran

    Owner & Editor
    The Scout Guide Sarasota

    Evan Meeker

    Southeast Brand Ambassador
    Del Maguey

    Brad Coburn

    Pangea Alchemy Lab


    Radio Show Host
    92.1 WCTQ

    Michelle Russell

    Director of Marketing/Creative Director/Events
    Loaded Cannon Distillery

    Follow The Event

    #SetTheBar941 #EatLikeaLocal941
    RSVP to the Set the Bar Event on Facebook!

    Special Thanks To

    Icon Eatery & Bar, Eliza Ann's Coastal Kitchen and JPAN will be providing light bites at Set the Bar. More Originals restaurants will be announced soon!

    About The Child Protection Center

    The Child Protection Center is a non-profit agency dedicated to the Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect in our community. CPC envisions a community in which all children are safe from abuse and free to thrive. The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) was established in 1980. CPC initially provided only child abuse intervention services through the Child Protection Team (CPT). This program works together with the Department of Children and Families and Law Enforcement in the investigation of child abuse cases and also coordinates community-wide services for affected children. Since then, CPC has grown to encompass four core programs offered in four locations across Sarasota & DeSoto Counties.


    Is there an age restriction for this event?

    Guests must be 21 and up to attend. Those under 21 will not be permitted entry to the event (this includes infants and children as well.) Age identification will be requested upon arrival to the event. 

    How can I buy tickets?

    Tickets will be available for purchase after August 8 (at 7:00PM) through Eventbrite. 

    Early Bird tickets will be sold for $35/per person (plus eventbrite fee) until August 22 or while supplies last!

    At that time tickets will increase to $45/per person (plus eventbrite fee) until event day, October 4th, when tickets increase to $50/per person.

    Is there a limit on the number of tickets I can purchase?

    No, you may purchase as many tickets as you would like! Please note, your guests will be asked to provide photo ID (to verify their age) before being admitted to the event.

    Will I be able to sample each of the cocktails in the competition?

    Yes! All guests will be able to sample each of the 20 cocktails submitted into the competition and will have the opportunity to vote for the "People's Choice" winner!

    Will food be served at the event?

    Yes! Light bites will be provided by several Sarasota-Manatee Originals member restaurants (complimentary for all guests.)

    What is the parking situation?

    We encourage all event attendees who intend to sample the cocktail offerings to use ride sharing services (such as Uber or Lyft) or travel with a designated driver! Complimentary valet parking will be available for all guests and a small number of self parking spots will also be available on site.

    What is the Inclement Weather Policy?

    Set the Bar is a rain or shine event. The UFT Hangar is covered and will not be impacted by weather.

    Can I purchase tickets through a third-party seller?

    To have 100% confidence in the validity of your ticket purchase, you should only purchase your tickets through the Eventbrite ticket system. The validity of tickets purchased through other websites or resellers cannot be verified by The Sarasota-Manatee Originals prior to event day.

    How can my company become a sponsor of Set the Bar?

    For more information on sponsorship opportunities, please contact Veronica Clinton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Will there be seating at the event?

    A limited number of lounge seats will be available for guests to utilize. The event is a cocktail style, grazing event where guests will be visiting stations to sample cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. The event is handicap accessible.

    I have a question that wasn't answered here. Now what?

    Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any remaining event questions.

    Presented by

    Sponsors & Partners

    Interested in becoming a Set the Bar sponsor? Contact Veronica at (941) 365-2800 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about the available opportunities.

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    Sarasota-Manatee Originals
    1215D S Tamiami Trail
    Sarasota, FL 34239