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.
Wild Wing Café is a Southern chain with one location Jacksonville’s south side. Its namesake specialties are their chicken wings, offered in 33 different made-from-scratch flavors. With soups and salads, wraps and flatbreads rounding out the menu, Wild Wing Café is also well-known for its beer battered onion rings, fresh ground chuck burgers and sides like flame roasted corn and mac ‘n’ cheese. With eclectic diner wall art, cream batten-board walls and large black leather booths, Wild Wing Café has a down-home, laid back atmosphere. There’s live music often and an outdoor deck for temperate days, while daily special events like trivia nights and two-for-Tuesdays wing deals keep Jacksonville regulars hungry for more.
The show will commence with performances from up-and-coming singer-songwriters Alex Wong and Vienna Tang before Carlile takes the stage of the restored 1920s-era theater. The Washington State–native songstress's melodic acoustic-guitar-based music blends rock and country into soft folk tunes that have been featured in commercials and on TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy, and the experienced show-woman has toured with the likes of Sheryl Crow and Ray LaMontagne. Your Groupon is good for one ticket in the 100, 200, 300, or 400 orchestra-level sections of the intimate, 1,900-seat theater, and seats are issued on a first-come, first-served basis at will-call, so arrive early to get up close.
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.
Allowing for occasional naps in a plush theater armchair or across a leather bowling lounge, it's conceivable that you could stay within Latitude 30's 50,000-square-foot entertainment emporium for days without falling victim to boredom. The roar of the crowd fills a 100-seat sports theater as fans track the main event on the 12.5-foot jumbotron, taking advantage of commercial breaks to eye the 13 surrounding HD screens and keep up with the scores of important football games and spelling bees. At CineGrille, another vast HD screen plays current adventure flicks and romantic comedies as guests enjoy legroom fit for a very tall king. Meanwhile, waitstaff quietly delivers an extensive menu of prime rib kebab, pizza, and gourmet burgers.
For more active entertainment, pins thunder in the 20-lane bowling alley, and at the arcade, players compete on big-screen video games or work redemption games to win prizes ranging from Legos to PlayStations. Colored lights spill across comedians, musical acts, and DJs at the Vegas–inspired Latitude Live before the Axis Bar keeps the party going with drinks and dancing.