Cabana Inn, Sarasota Florida
A Real Life Bar Rescue is Taking Place at the Cabana Inn…
Scott Wooldrige, wife Beverly, and daughter Josie own the Cabana Inn. I pass it all the time on US 41 in Sarasota and now, after talking to Scott, I really want to go check it out. It’s not just a music venue and a cool place to kick back – there are four buildings on the premises that were part of the original motel, and a swimming pool.
Scott says that back in the day this was quite the spot…a festive, beautiful motel with club and pool, where everyone wanted to stay when they landed in Sarasota. But as so many buildings have fallen in disarray or are totally abandoned, Scott has his work cut out for him. I was really impressed hearing about his vision for the place, the serious work that has to be done, and the fact that this is a family business.
Over the years, just as many properties were abandoned and forgotten, unfortunately, so was the Cabana Inn. Scott and his family had the ability and foresight to look through to the future and imagine what could be done to resurrect the Cabana, and make it a music hangout with the latest and the greatest bands from the area. The motel is a work in progress. Scott and friends have worked so hard and for so long to finish one motel building. Soon you’ll be able to book a room there, swim in the pool and grab some great tunes in the Lounge.
Scott is a real music guy. His wife Bev and daughter Josie help handle the programming of the bands and Sunday and Monday night Karaoke. You’ll find a mixed crowd at the Cabana…college kids, people of all ages, bikers, you name it. Sunday and Monday nights are Karaoke nights, and Tuesdays are Jam nights with the John Reece Project. This is a real highlight on Tuesday nights, so bring your axe, your keyboard or harmonica and get in the groove. Catch Berry Duane Oakley and Skylab on Wednesday evenings and the blues blaster from Chicago, RJ Howson, on Thursdays. The band Fuse plays Friday, so bring your dancing shoes! All shows start at 9:30 p.m. and are guaranteed to get you up and rocking.
Scott is really proud that he can offer the bands a great stage, an amazing sound system and lighting that sets the Cabana aside from other clubs. What is most rewarding is that he gets such appreciation from the bands for the way he honors them and provides them with everything they need. He would love to see food served there in the future but apparently Sarasota has some pretty tough laws and stipulations, so for now, food is on the back burner.
This is a guy who cares about the community and wants to use his club to help raise funds for several local charities. On June 29th, in fact, Scott is doing a benefit at the Cabana called Giving Cancer the Blues. You should try to make it! His place can hold anywhere from 130 to 300 people, so if you want to participate and play, get in touch with Scott.
Scott has his hands in a lot of pies. He does outside DJ’ing and has 3 complete mobile systems to take to other venues or rent to other bands for their own use. In fact he often DJ’s at the AMF Lanes as well as the 57 Tavern on Cortez. He actually has up to 17 bookings a week during the busy season.
This man has a big vision for the Cabana Inn. He’s proud it’s a family business and is totally motivated to have two motel buildings completely finished by next season. It’s a step-by-step renovation and a true labor of love that has taken a lot of sweat and time, but Scott’s already talking about a Tiki Hut Bar by the pool, with food and dancing. There’s work to be done to fulfill Scott’s dream, but if anyone has the motivation and the heart, he does! Stay tuned for big happenings at the Cabana Inn. The Cabana Inn is located at 2525 S. Tamiami Trail in beautiful Sarasota, Florida. Phone #- (941) 955-0195. Visit the Cabana Inn on Facebook!