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Where should I go on my Florida vacation?


Find the perfect prelude or finale for your night out at some of Florida's finest theaters.

So you’ve scored tickets to a show at one of Florida’s renowned performing arts venues – why not make a night of it? Add a pre-show dinner and cap your night off with delectable desserts or drinks post-performance at a neighborhood spot catering to theatergoers.

Pensacola

The Venue: Pensacola’s Spanish Baroque-style Saenger Theatre opened in 1925. The “Grand Dame of Palafox” has since undergone multiple restorations, which have breathed new life into the structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Prelude: Just a short walk away, two restaurants are maestros at accommodating audiences – the Global Grill and eJackson’s Steakhouse. As its name suggests, the former serves cuisine from all over the world, with an extensive selection of tapas, martinis and more than 200 wines. Jackson’s is known for its steaks, but also offers stellar local seafood and fantastic martinis. Check out Jackson’s “Prelude Menu,” served at 5:30 p.m. for theatergoers.

Finale: The elegant Jackson’s Steakhouse is also popular post-show, especially for drinks or dessert, as is the piano bar 600 South.

Sarasota

The Venue: You can’t miss the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on the bayfront. Its design was inspired by two seashells from the Sea of Japan (on permanent display at the hall)
and its colors – lavender and purple – were selected by Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s widow.

Prelude: Take a cue from Sarasotans, many of whom claim that a night of theater wouldn’t be complete without dinner at Bijou Café, a fine-dining gem offering Continental-American cuisine. While Michael’s On East – a AAA Four Diamond award winner for the last 20 years in a row – offers maximum convenience with a gourmet dinner buffet and full bar right in the Van Wezel’s grand foyer overlooking the bay. Bonus: You’ll get the hall’s best parking spots since you’ll be the first to arrive.

Finale: Discuss the show over signature, award-winning chocolate martinis at the classy Cà d’Zan Lounge at the nearby Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. Its late-night dining menu also gets rave reviews.

Miami

The Venue: Occupying 570,000 square feet in downtown Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is the largest in Florida, and the property includes an opera house, concert hall, Carnival Studio Theater, outdoor performance space and an education center.

Prelude: Its name says it all – Prelude by Barton G. is located right at the center. The beautifully designed restaurant is new, but it has quickly caught on with locals. It’s known for its three-course, fixed-price menu and for dramatic dishes (try the PB&J – grape jelly gelato sandwiched between peanut butter mousse pyramids). Because it’s so close to your seats, you can even grab a bite or drink during intermission.

Finale: Bin no. 18 is a chic bistro located close-by that specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. Diners love the signature cheese and charcuterie platters and selection of wine and beer from all over the world. The ambience is relaxed, with wine barrels, low-lit chandeliers and jazz and Latin music playing softly. A bonus here is the free parking

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