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.
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.
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.
Havana-Jax Café in the Arlington section of Jacksonville is an authentic Cuban restaurant, where the staff speaks fluent English and Spanish and caters to both regulars and newcomers looking for the delicious Cuban food. With ochre walls, jade and burgundy tablecloths and large booths, Havana-Jax is as colorful to look at as the menu is to eat. A large center bar keeps things lively, while dishes like ropa vieja, paella and palomilla steak – a marinated and seared Angus steak, grilled with onions – draw in the hungry set. Simpler desserts include flan, rice pudding and egg custard, making for a well-rounded meal that’s popular with the local neighborhood, while still drawing visitors looking to enjoy the long-time staff and quality food.
Jackrabbits, one of Jacksonville’s primary downtown live music venues, is an intimate home for local and national bands like The Hives, Slightly Stoopid, Incubus and many others. The newly renovated bar area serves beer and wine only – though the selection, while focused, features many otherwise hard-to-find craft brews. Though this venue can get quite crowded depending on the act, tickets are reasonably priced and guests can always get an up close and personal experience, thanks to the limited floor space. The nondescript entrance can be hard to spot, as it’s little more than a gray door with the name Jack Rabbits scrawled across. The décor is typical dive bar, dark and grayish with sturdy seating, while most of the focus is on the stage, where lighting and sound are top-notch.