Aboard the Emerald Princess II cruise ship, two gaming decks host bingo, roulette, craps, and slot machines. Dealers also facilitate card games including blackjack, Texas hold'em, and stud poker—which is always played between two layers of drywall. A bistro grants a restorative break from the gambling, also attainable on the Emerald Princess II's open-air observation deck. Here, scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean abound as the 200-foot vessel cuts through the water. The staff approximates the dress code to that of a nice restaurant, so guests should refrain from wearing cut-off shorts or beachwear.
Once a general store that had only two microwaves and cold beer, Brogen's has expanded into a pair of good-timeries with a menu that blends island atmosphere with Southern charm. Raising the stomach's velvet curtain with chili-cheese fries ($4.50), bacon-sprinkled potato skins ($6.25), or onion rings ($4) gives the chefs time to hand-make a burger patty and cook it into the Kokomo burger ($7.50), which hoists a thin slice of ham, cheddar cheese, and a sea of barbecue sauce atop its sizzling shoulders. Brogen's catch of the day ($8.95) arrives fresh—and often still trying to figure out where all the water went—to be blackened, fried, or grilled as diners see fit. To keep a hand open for impromptu swashbuckling, the Brogen's club ($7.50) stacks ham, turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato, swiss, and american cheeses between a choice of breads. Beers arrive frigid and dotted with condensation, putting patrons in the right mindset for nightfall when Brogen's becomes the epicenter for some of the island's wildest bootyquakes.
With its ocean-abutting locale and umbrella-shaded beach seating, Sandy Bottoms combines tempting surf 'n' turf with the relaxing backdrop of the Amelia Island seashore. The varied menu siren calls with starters such as quesadillas ($7–$12) and fried Krabby Bites ($8). The eatery’s arsenal of fishy dishes, including mahi-mahi ($14) and the hearty seafood platter with fish, shrimp, scallops, and oysters ($24), diverts mouth while ambidextrous toes construct miniature sand castles under beach-planted tables. With three bars assembling a wealth of beverages, guests can indulge in thirst-quenchers that complement each dish, from the Texican burger and its ensemble of chili, cheese, and jalapenos ($9.50) to a grilled-scallop po' boy ($11).
Exposed-brick walls bearing dartboards, colorful paintings, and flat-screen televisions anchor Dog Star Tavern's rustic, playful character. Bartenders stand behind a glossy bar top, filling shakers with selections from 50 rums and 25 vodkas and washing aged scotch over ice cubes. Frosty mugs fill with 16 draft beers, ideal for sipping on hot nights in the beer garden or after dancing up a sweat to live music Thursday–Saturday.
The acclaim for Wild Wing Cafe's wings is almost as wide ranging as the various inspirations behind its 30+ wing sauces. Readers of Augusta magazine and the Charleston City Paper routinely vote the wingery to the top of those publications’ Best Wings lists. Beyond that, countless magazines, newspapers, and "Best Of" lists from Knoxville to Myrtle Beach praise the delicious bites of sweet meat. Much of the praise is heaped on the unique glazes, which include everything from the mesquite-tinged Ol’ Smokey to the honey-lime-cilantro trifecta of the Loco Bueno. With orders ranging from 8-piece plates to 50-piece platters, diners can feast on wings or use them as appetizers. Once wing-satiation sets in, diners can explore the rest of the restaurant's all-American menu that, unlike a good space suit, is made up of sloppy joes, ribs, burgers, and potato skins.
The Sun-Ray Cinema at 5 Points, formerly known as Riverside Theater and 5 Points Theatre, is a historic single-screen movie theater in the Riverside section of Jacksonville. Originally opened in 1927, the large room was specifically designed to accommodate live theater as well, in the event that talking movies didn’t take off as expected. Over the years, the theater was opened and closed numerous times as a performance center, a night club and general cinema house, until the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission approved it as a Jacksonville landmark and remodeled the space several years ago. Colorful murals give vibrancy to the updated space, while comfortable seating and long wooden tables in front of each row act as wonderfully modern touches, allowing each guest to set down food and drinks easily. P, pulled pork sandwiches and a host of not-seen-everywhere snacks make for a unique experience inside.