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.
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).
The menu at 3 Lions Sports Pub & Grill hits all the bases with a full spectrum of pub food. Those looking for American classics can select a specialty burger, chicken wings, or chili. British-inspired items include bangers and mash and shepherd’s pie. The eatery also sets itself apart with items not typically available at traditional grills, such as pub fries with curry sauce and hawaiian pizza. Beneath spotlighted football helmets, bartenders serve bottled brews as well as draft selections such as Guinness, Harp, and Newcastle.
Just as engaging as its eats is 3 Lions' ambiance: it's a classic sports grill with dark wood accents and widescreen televisions that hug the exposed brick walls like spies hiding from people wearing 3-D glasses. Shiny black tables reflect the glow of neon signs and broadcasts of games from NFL Sunday Ticket and Fox Soccer Channel. For further entertainment, a calendar of special events includes regular happy hours, poker nights, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Lashelle's Lash Bar's list of services proves that the shop offers lash looks for all occasions. They deck out peepers in individual or strips of lashes, crafting everything from subtle touchups for girls' nights out to dramatic fringe for Twiggy look-alike contests. All of their lashes are made from quality materials, including mink and human hair. To complement their specialty, the aestheticians also offer facial, waxing, and nail services.
Jacks or Better Casino explores the waters stretching from the Mayport area down the coast. The boat stretches 155 feet from stem to sternum and contains a whale-sized supply of Vegas-style casino gaming. Deft dealers engage lucky streaks on a variety of table games, from blackjack and roulette to traditional poker, video poker, and fireplace poker. With visions of cherries and triple-bars dancing in their heads, slots fanatics sidle up to dual-screen Modern Gaming slots such as Four Leaf Fortunes and Jackpot Galaxy. Jacks or Better's slots paid out jackpots totaling $3 million in 2011. Special events and attractions include a craps tutorial with limits ranging from $5 to $1,000, ensuring comfortable stakes for anyone, from the novice dice slinger to the local Yahtzee grandmaster.
Since 2003, the Jacksonville Film Festival has annually served as one of the city's most anticipated cultural events, screening international and independent films and hosting some of Hollywood's most accomplished names. The first deal plunks cinephiles squarely on the red carpet with access to Saturday's special event, a screening of The Six Wives of Henry Lefay, starring Tim Allen, Elisha Cuthbert, and Andie MacDowell. Young film critics that already possess Roger Ebert's critical eye and Gene Shalit's bushy mustache can attend the kids' red-carpet event, which will screen the zany kid-friendly comedy Finn on the Fly. The third options gets you into the world premiere of Thespians, which documents the theater programs at two Duval County high schools as they prepare for the Florida State Thespians theater festival. Afterward, stay for a Q&A with the filmmakers and special guests.
Northstar Substation whets appetites and wets whistles with an ever-changing assortment of more than 30 draft beers partnered alongside a menu of hand-tossed pizzas. Foaming pint glasses sidle up to tables with fermented sippables from local breweries such as Bold City Brewery and macro favorites such as Guinness and Stella Artois. The beer selection is changed regularly to reflect seasonal brews. Beckoned by the sound of grumbling stomachs, oven-fresh pizzas emerge with a choice of a topping from a list that includes sausage, mushrooms, jalapeños, and shredded love poems.