Kaluby's Dance Club takes the same simple approach to teaching that the club used when it opened in 1983. Before playing a note, the instructors take the time to break down popular dances into their most basic patterns. This way, when the music starts, dancers of all skill levels are able to master the steps quickly so that they can focus on having fun so instead of whose toes they're stepping on. The studio shares their secrets in group and private lessons, both taught in a ballroom where members are also welcome to practice during any open studio hours. In children's classes, kids practice basic dance moves while also making new friends, exercising, and learning how to behave at charity galas. During club dance parties, members get the chance to show off their new dance skills in special themed events or dressy-casual gatherings.
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.
North Beach Bistro is more than a restaurant—it's a legacy. The upscale eatery was the vision of renowned chef Tony Pels, who trained with culinary giants such as Wolfgang Puck and Michel Richard, and chef David Seavey, whom Pels mentored for 15 years at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. Pels passed away only two months before the restaurant's opening in June of 2008, leaving executive chef Seavey to carry on his tradition of culinary creativity and generosity.
Spurred on by this responsibility, Seavey combines the freshest ingredients with a genuine love for his fellow Floridians. The Jacksonville native crafts hearty and flavorful surf 'n' turf entrees such as the bistro bouillabaisse with Mayport shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, calamari, and fresh fish or chargrilled Black Angus ribeye with sauteed mushrooms and port wine sauce. Reddish-gold fixtures in the bar emanate light that's as warm and welcoming as the chef himself. DJs and live music keep the space vibrant, and the dining room's wood floors and spot-lit art give it an air of sophistication. Weekly trivia nights arm guests with knowledge that makes an ideal conversation starter or helps pass the time while stuck in an elevator with Ken Jennings.
To create their version of New American cuisine, the father-and-son team of Bassam and Nedal Mardini draw inspiration from virtually everywhere except America. At Maza New American Cuisine, their gorgeously plated dishes spotlight flavors from Mexico, Japan, and myriad countries in between. Consider their diverse treatments of a simple ingredient such as duck, which the duo marinates in pomegranate as an entree and loads into tortillas along with pickled celery and balsamic as an appetizer. The rest of their eclectic menu ranges from open-faced pork belly sandwiches crowned with tahini slaw to vegan- and vegetarian-friendly bites, including roasted eggplant purée. These meals, which the Florida Times-Union described as "fine dining quality", unfold in a cozy dining room adorned with fine-art paintings and photos.
On board the Victory II cruise ship, parties are serenaded by the sounds of wheeling seagulls and lapping waves, as well as the DJ's dance tunes and the ring of slot-machine jackpots. Revelers sip cocktails, dance, and play casino games on a 220-foot luxury liner with five decks. They can raise glasses in the open air at the Dolphin Bar, or stare directly into the hypnotizing dance club lights at Club V. A wealth of over 300 slot machines invite visitors to try their hand at games of chance, while tables of blackjack, roulette, and sports-book betting let guests experience the thrill of a Vegas casino on the high seas.