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.:
The Gourmet Grouper was born out of a fruitful business partnership between veteran seafood-market owners John Shuler and Jason Arteaga, along with Christina Monas. The three set out to create a curated supermarket utterly unlike mega-groceries—one that could provide shoppers with a tailored selection of high-quality meats, seafood, and drinks from both distant climes and local markets. "We wanted to build a grocery store that we would like to shop at," John told the Beaches Leader. Along with his childhood friend and business partner, Jason, he procures gourmet goods from his network of local and worldwide farmers, fishers, and food artisans. The result is a smorgasbord of upscale groceries that tempt shoppers with fine cheeses, dry-aged Montana beef, Gulf stone crabs, and Louisiana crawfish. The goods are ideal for planning an elegant dinner party. Seasonal potatoes and vegetables can accompany lobster tails or Chilean sea-bass filets alongside craft beers and fine wines. The market even has artisanal snacking covered with gourmet pickles crafted by local picklesmith Tim Baker, who locks the fresh veggies' flavor into delicious stasis with careful brining and mild witchcraft.
Culhane's Irish Pub features all the favorites from traditional Irish pubs like Fish 'N Chips, Dingle Fish Pie, and Guinness Beef Stew to American-inspired dishes such as burgers and shrimp wraps. Guests can wash down the flavorful dishes with one of the 24 beers on tap or sip on an exclusive whiskey or wine. The authenticity of the pub shines through since it is managed by four sisters born and raised in Limerick, Ireland. The sisters keep guests entertained by offering trivia on Wednesdays and Thursdays, supplying live karaoke on the weekends, and airing ESPN games on the TVs.
The Sun-Ray Cinema at 5 Points, formerly known as Riverside Theater and 5 Points Theatre, is a historic single-screen movie theater in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Originally opened in 1927, the large room was specifically designed to accommodate live theater as well, in the event that talking movies didn’t take off as expected. Over the years, the theater was opened and closed numerous times as a performance center, a night club and general cinema house, until the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission approved it as a Jacksonville landmark and remodeled the space several years ago. Colorful murals give vibrancy to the updated space, while comfortable seating and long wooden tables in front of each row act as wonderfully modern touches, allowing each guest to set down food and drinks easily. P, pulled pork sandwiches and a host of not-seen-everywhere snacks make for a unique experience inside.
Located on Jacksonville’s south side, The Comedy Zone has been hosting some of the nation’s finest standup comedians for decades. Tucked away inside the Ramada Conference Center and Hotel, the Comedy Zone is a quaint, dim, charming nightclub venue filled with cozy tables and chairs. The thick carpet underfoot cushions the space further and keeps noisy shoes and squeaky chairs to a minimum. The small, gleaming wood stage is back-dropped by a large brick wall, reminiscent of so many other famous comedy clubs. Over the years, the stage has played host to a variety of national touring comedians and lots of local Florida talent. A full bar and a variety of burgers, sandwiches and appetizers are available to order, and can count toward the room’s industry-standard one drink or item minimum. Of course, that means comedy fans must be at least 21 years of age to enter the Zone.
Jacks or Better Casino explores the waters stretching from the Mayport area down the coast. The boat stretches 155 feet from stem to sternum and contains a whale-sized supply of Vegas-style casino gaming. Deft dealers engage lucky streaks on a variety of table games, from blackjack and roulette to traditional poker, video poker, and fireplace poker. With visions of cherries and triple-bars dancing in their heads, slots fanatics sidle up to dual-screen Modern Gaming slots such as Four Leaf Fortunes and Jackpot Galaxy. Jacks or Better's slots paid out jackpots totaling $3 million in 2011. Special events and attractions include a craps tutorial with limits ranging from $5 to $1,000, ensuring comfortable stakes for anyone, from the novice dice slinger to the local Yahtzee grandmaster.