Exposed-brick walls bearing dartboards, colorful paintings, and flat-screen televisions anchor Dog Star Tavern's rustic, playful character. Bartenders stand behind a glossy bar top, filling shakers with selections from 50 rums and 25 vodkas and washing aged scotch over ice cubes. Frosty mugs fill with 16 draft beers, ideal for sipping on hot nights in the beer garden or after dancing up a sweat to live music Thursday–Saturday.
With its ocean-abutting locale and umbrella-shaded beach seating, Sandy Bottoms combines tempting surf 'n' turf with the relaxing backdrop of the Amelia Island seashore. The varied menu siren calls with starters such as quesadillas ($7–$12) and fried Krabby Bites ($8). The eatery’s arsenal of fishy dishes, including mahi-mahi ($14) and the hearty seafood platter with fish, shrimp, scallops, and oysters ($24), diverts mouth while ambidextrous toes construct miniature sand castles under beach-planted tables. With three bars assembling a wealth of beverages, guests can indulge in thirst-quenchers that complement each dish, from the Texican burger and its ensemble of chili, cheese, and jalapenos ($9.50) to a grilled-scallop po' boy ($11).
The menu at 3 Lions Sports Pub & Grill hits all the bases with a full spectrum of pub food. Those looking for American classics can select a specialty burger, chicken wings, or chili. British-inspired items include bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie. The eatery also sets itself apart with items not typically available at traditional grills, such as pub fries with curry sauce and hawaiian pizza. Beneath spotlighted football helmets, bartenders serve bottled brews as well as draft selections such as Guinness, Harp, and Newcastle.
Just as engaging as its eats is 3 Lions' ambiance: it's a classic sports grill with dark wood accents and widescreen televisions that hug the exposed brick walls like spies hiding from people wearing 3-D glasses. Shiny black tables reflect the glow of neon signs and broadcasts of games from NFL Sunday Ticket and Fox Soccer Channel. For further entertainment, a calendar of special events includes regular happy hours, poker nights, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Landshark Café synthesizes savory stomach set pieces to the sound of live music four nights a week. Its dining-room stage serves up a smorgasbord of sonic flavors—jazz on Friday, mellow reggae on Sunday, and spacey theremin solos on the secret eighth day of the week. Meanwhile, the café's kitchen beauticians slather the winter-pale chunks of chicken or shrimp on luau skewers ($12) with teriyaki sauce before tanning them to a crispy golden brown on the grill. Alternatively, beefy bites such as the mushroom- and onion-laced flat-iron steak ($15) and the pineapple-topped Hawaiian burger ($8.25) restore jaded meat prophets’ faith in the healing power of protein. With beers on tap and a laid-back wait staff, Landshark Café hosts garrulous groups for quick victuals or marathon meals to celebrate the end of a Capri Sun–based detox regimen.
Northstar Substation whets appetites and wets whistles with an ever-changing assortment of more than 30 draft beers partnered alongside a menu of hand-tossed pizzas. Foaming pint glasses sidle up to tables with fermented sippables from local breweries such as Bold City Brewery and macro favorites such as Guinness and Stella Artois. The beer selection is changed regularly to reflect seasonal brews. Beckoned by the sound of grumbling stomachs, oven-fresh pizzas emerge with a choice of a topping from a list that includes sausage, mushrooms, jalapeños, and shredded love poems.
In Green Room Brewing’s tap room, servers pour out eight beers from other Florida breweries but it’s the microbrewery’s own pints that make it truly special. Visitors to the tap room can admire the steel fermenters, wooden barrels, and other brewing equipment as they sip one of several rotating specialty brews, such as a barrel-aged beer or a belgian. Two options stay on the menu year-round: an American-style High Head IPA with a citrus aroma and plenty of hops and the light crisp Diamond Belgian Wit, a traditional Belgian ale brewed with coriander.
But the brewery isn’t just about filling pints and growlers. Local artwork adorns the tap room’s sky-blue walls, and the brewery hosts live music performances, visits from other microbreweries, and regular Jenga competitions that help create a lively spirit of community, like the mandatory team-building exercises supervised by leprechauns each St. Patrick’s Day.