Mile Marker Brewing's beermasters swirl hops and yeast into towering kettles within the sprawing St. Augustine brewery. Inside the on-site tap room, barkeeps pour 5.5-ounce samples of Mile Marker's three signature brews straight from the barrel (a $5 value), each of which is named for the coordinates of bars frequented by Hemingway's beard. Mile Marker 1565, a nutty Irish red ale with hints of caramel, offsets the light, citrusy flavors of Mile Marker Zero, a German summertime ale. Centennial and Sterling hops lend subtle bitterness to the IPA Mile Marker 82's floral flavors. After selecting a favorite beer from the flight, patrons can follow up with a full pint (up to a $5 value) and bask in the tap room's cool blue light, which illuminates retro console video games, dartboards, and an elevated fish tank. Mile Marker Brewing also leads free tours through the brewery itself, where large steel and copper kettles slosh with foaming yeast and piquant hops as master brewers stir, read bedtime stories to, and generally supervise each effervescent batch.
Vino Del Grotto harbors wines for sipping by the glass or carting home. Like homesick stomach butterflies, more than 20 wines by the glass flutter down tongues during tasting flights, tantalizing each guest with three 3-ounce portions of grapey goodness in customized selections such as Yosemite View chardonnay or German-imported Valckenberg dornfelder. Peach-apricot chardonnay and green-apple riesling sate fruit-partial palates, and sips of sparkling Belle Jardin brut bubble upon taste buds, giving them the effervescent feeling of flight that ostriches only dream of.
A grizzled sailor adjusts his eye patch as he leads his entourage down a winding street. A pirate with feathers in his cap breathes life into the history of a Spanish mansion. Tour Saint Augustine Inc.'s guides, always garbed in period dress, bridge the gap between St. Augustine’s past and present, recounting the city’s history through stories of early European colonists, famous local architects, and civil-rights activists.
Walking tours and hop-on, hop-off motorcoach tours begin in the Flagler-era historic district at the company's office. On foot, the guides follow a set tour path or tailor excursions to their group's interests as they travel to the past via a wormhole beneath the city’s gates. Their drivers also steer visitors down quaint side streets in historical horse-drawn carriages, and National Park Service–sanctioned guides lead guests into the bowels of the Castillo de San Marcos fort.
It’s common for people to explain that one has to crack some eggs to make an omelet, but less so to say that one has to stomp some grapes to make wine. Though unrecognized as an aphorism, the process is celebrated at 2013 Grape Stompin' Wine Festival, where attendees get the chance to unleash their wrath on the unfortunate fruit, all between tastings and activities. Throughout the day, guests embark on tours of downtown restaurants and bistros to sample pairings of wines, craft beers, and food. A silent auction encourages clandestine bidding wars, while local vendors peddle arts, crafts, food, and oversized novelty foam feet.
Plush leather and fabric seating permeates Fletcher’s Cigar Bar & Social, where beers and varietals from around the globe flow from glass to palate. The company has a fully stocked humidor filled with high-end cigars from brands such as Cohiba, Cusano, Havana, and Partagás, as well as the exploding cigars popularized by Wile E. Coyote. Though the knowledgeable staffers do not sell Cuban cigars, they outfit tobacco enthusiasts with Honduran, Nicaraguan, and Dominican cigars, as well as accessories such as cutters and lighters. The team at Fletcher's accommodates clients from varying backgrounds, making aficionados and more casual cigar smokers feel at home.
Ambient jazz-piano melodies wind through the air while customers chat and smoke in an environment whose ventilation and air-purification system gives patrons peace of mind and visual access to each other's faces. In the event that conversation lulls, independently controlled 47-inch flat-screen televisions can entrance eyes.
For more than eight years, Liquors at the Marketplace has decorated area bar carts and cellars with a staggering selection of hard-to-find liquors and more than 300 varietals of wine. Patrons can take center stage at cocktail parties, mixing up mojitos from bottles of premium 10 Cane rum, pouring glasses of wine developed by golfer Greg Norman, or smash bottles of Kendall Jackson chardonnay on strangers' boats in guerilla-style christening ceremonies. For Friars Club–style tea parties, the shop also stocks cigars and smoking accessories, and stays open on most holidays.