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.
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.
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.
Mardi Gras Jax celebrates Mardi Gras with a themed pub crawl across eight bars and restaurants, recreating the Bourbon Street experience without the hassle of cramming an entire parade float into an overhead compartment. A ticket earns proto-revelers a wristband for admission that yields discount drink specials, automatic entry into numerous prize drawings, and a handy way to differentiate between right and left. A souvenir drink glass and beads decorate participants like a belt over a boxer's shoulder, and scavenger-hunt maps and cards give clues that will lead an industrious partier to the mysterious grand prize. The after-party, hosted by Bo's Coral Reef, serves drinks until 2 a.m. and features the crowning of a king and queen of Mardi Gras Jax—fledgling potentates gain a hefty reward for their newfound royalty and an ethanol-fueled crowning ceremony to make it official––and the costume contest rewards eccentrically outfitted participants. The grand prize of the evening is a cruise for two from Budweiser, perfect for a happy couple, bonding siblings, or a probation officer and ward.
In Green Room Brewing’s tap room, servers pour out eight beers from other Florida breweries but it’s the microbrewery’s own pints that make it truly special. Visitors to the tap room can admire the steel fermenters, wooden barrels, and other brewing equipment as they sip one of several rotating specialty brews, such as a barrel-aged beer or a belgian. Two options stay on the menu year-round: an American-style High Head IPA with a citrus aroma and plenty of hops and the light crisp Diamond Belgian Wit, a traditional Belgian ale brewed with coriander.
But the brewery isn’t just about filling pints and growlers. Local artwork adorns the tap room’s sky-blue walls, and the brewery hosts live music performances, visits from other microbreweries, and regular Jenga competitions that help create a lively spirit of community, like the mandatory team-building exercises supervised by leprechauns each St. Patrick’s Day.