Hailing from Denver, Colorado with a Masters Degree in Finance, Rebekah came to Sarasota in 1997. Wanting to create a neighborhood center for residents of all ages, Rebekah became an entrepreneur, opening Mandeville Beer Garden in March 2015. She’s been serving up local craft brews with good food ever since.
We met up with Rebekah to talk about Mandeville Beer Garden and her vision for the community.
Q: What inspired you to open a beer garden?
A: I decided to open a beer garden in Sarasota in the summer of 2013. I’m from Denver, Co, and this concept is really popular there, and really popular amongst families. I realized we didn’t have anything like that here, and we really needed that: a place where people could enjoy time outside, have good food, drink good beer, and enjoy it with their families. The beer garden opened in 2015.
I’m creating roots within our community, and memories for our community members.
Q: What do you personally appreciate about the Rosemary District?
A: I appreciate those small, locally-owned businesses. As an up-and-coming neighborhood, it hasn’t really been defined yet by its businesses. I love that, because it makes the Rosemary District a place where an entrepreneur can take risks and express themselves while not having to worry about fitting into a predefined mold.
Q: What persuaded you to open Mandeville Beer Garden (MBG) in the Rosemary District?
A: It was this building! As soon as I saw this place for the first time, I knew this was where Mandeville Beer Garden belonged. The neighborhood inspired me, too. The Rosemary District has a unique character all its own. It’s not a cookie cutter community, it’s more of an eclectic and artistic community. Down one block you’ll bump into the local designers and architects. On another block you’re introduced to the local stores that are some of the area’s best kept secrets. That and the neighborhood had a feel to it that was just edgy enough and different enough to capture the vibe I was trying to create. It was a bit intangible…
Q: What kind of vibe were you trying to create?
A: That’s what I’m saying, it’s hard to describe! It’s the whole experience: it’s not Downtown. It’s not a strip mall. It’s creative, different. Maybe a little bohemian, maybe a little funky.
Q: What’s the atmosphere like inside MBG?
A: I thought the outdoor space in front of the building, coupled with the open space inside really lent itself to the open floor plan that I had in mind for the beer garden. It also has history attached to it, which is one thing I like. It started out as an auto-shop. You can still see the scars in the concrete floor where the hydraulic pumps used to be. I get people who come in and tell me it reminds them of a place they’ve been to in Austin or Denver. Those cities have a feel completely different from Sarasota. Downtown Sarasota is beautiful. The bayfront is beautiful. But the materials used in here: the wood, the metals, the reclaimed tin and the color scheme… it represents a different type of authenticity and comfort for the people who come here.
Q: What’s a typical Friday night like at Mandeville Beer Garden?
A: Friday nights at Mandeville are my favorite! Friday night is Family Night. So from 5:30 to 8 o’clock, the outdoor patio is just full of parents and kids having a great time. As the kids go home, the demographic changes a bit. We actually get an older crowd, and then as the night wears on into even later hours, we get the younger crowd looking for a fun Friday night. That’s one of my favorite things about Mandeville, that it appeals to such a diverse group of people: the older, business-type people looking to let loose after work, to families looking to create memories, to those Millennials looking for a new regular Friday night spot.
Q: What do you envision Mandeville Beer Garden becoming?
A: I always set out to make this a community space. A place where people have memories, where they can have roots. I know that sounds corny, but a lot of people bring their kids here. Many of them tell me the children are actually the ones who ask their parents to come back! And these children are going to grow up and remember playing with the Tonka trucks and rocks at Mandeville, having birthday parties here; they’re going to remember coming here and enjoying the outdoor space and sunshine on Sunday afternoons. I’m just trying to create roots within our community and memories for our community members.
Sarasota (The Rosemary District) is one of the best places to live in Florida. A vibrant community, creative individuals and gorgeous environments make this area truly remarkable. If you’re interested in joining our community, click here and learn more about what’s like to take residence and call Sarasota (The Rosemary District) home.
Enjoy Rebekah’s story? Find more Live Up stories here.