The red and black ship cuts through the waters of Matanzas Bay, its sails waving in the wind. On deck, members of a pirate crew call one another by names such as Oly Mackarel, Jaybird, Anastasia, Clipper, and Dirty James as they cavort between bow and stern, dazzling their audiences. Their ship, the Black Raven, was designed as a floating live performance theater—and accommodates more than 120 passengers as a crew of performers in full buccaneer dress produce interactive and dynamic plays in the spotlight. The actors work the crowd with a variety of rehearsed but unscripted skits, geared toward audiences of all ages, and may change their performance to engage specific audience members.
With a dizzying worldwide selection of craft beers and wines, J.P. Henley's fuels a traditional neighborhood-pub atmosphere augmented by a menu of indulgently inventive eats. Parse through the eclectic holdings of 50 custom-designed beer taps and 24 wines by the glass, and begin your gastronomic grub hunt with shrimp and mushroom empanadas ($8.95) or chevre crostini, piled with roasted grape tomatoes, warm goat cheese, and sweet-basil pesto ($6.95). A Voga pinot grigio pairs well with JP's Moroccan eggplant salad ($8.95), and a Brooklyn Black Ops Imperial Stout keeps pace with a hearty Harvest Moon sandwich, an autumnal feast of roasted turkey, sliced apples, provolone, and cranberry aioli ($8.95). Ward off carb-weary vampires with a Rising Sun sandwich, a rooster-certified fusion of grilled ahi, marinated tomatoes, and wasabi cream dressing dressed in spring greens and perched between slices of herb foccacia ($9.95).
Owned by Jack Holleran and Kristin Orr, the garage-themed neighborhood bar churns out hot-pressed grilled panini sandwiches crafted atop house-made pizza bread and washed down with domestic and specialty microbrews. The cash-only Jackson's Garage Bar refreshes patrons' knowledge of dead presidents and keeps a keen focus on specialty import and craft beer. When not squeezed fresh from the tap, brews flow freely from their aluminum casings, which rein superior over glass bottles because they filter out sunlight, lock in flavor, and provide a more structurally sound building block for beer pyramids.Inside the industrial setting, stools line up along a wooden bar decorated with sheet metal, and wall-hung road signs guide brews into glasses as working traffic lights keep motorcycles from popping bar-top wheelies. A leather couch seats patrons at a magazine-riddled table, and patio chairs curl up under the cozy awning of round tables. Live music pours from the instruments of live bands that occasionally play at the garage, and Shakespearean insults pour from the mouths of dart wielders and foosball shooters on a daily basis.
Taps Bar & Grill calms rambunctious appetites with an expansive menu of freshly made American pub fare backed by potent potables including 24 beers on tap. The rotating draft brews ($3.50+), including Stone IPA and Stella Artois, flow obligingly from taps to lend hoppy flair to fried pickle chips ($6.99), while piquant buffalo wings ($8.99 for 10) dress up maroon-colored glasses of pinot noir ($6). Andouille spicy sausages, gouda, and cheddar cheese are layered over grits with pan-seared shrimp ($10.99), as cutlery trained in conflict resolution unites surf with turf on plates of new york strip steak and fresh Mayport shrimp ($17.99). Preteen sidekicks can fuel growth spurts with inoculations of mac 'n' cheese ($3.95), while age barriers crumble decisively in the face of ice-cream-laced brownie sundaes ($4.99).