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12/08/2010 - 2:37pm Downtown/Riverside/Avondale/San Marco Jax Bars

I have lived in Jax for the last 3 years.  This city is actually pretty fun; definitely more family oriented but still some cool places.  Jax is a city of neighborhoods, so you'll have to venture out of Downtown to find some good pockets of places to hang.  However, within 5-10 minutes of Downtown (or in Downtown) I would definitely recommend the follwoing places:

Downtown:

  1. Dos Gatos (speakeasy type bar) - across from the FL Theater
  2. The Sinclair (hole in the wall artsy bar - lots of live events)
  3. The Pearl (on the edge of Springfield - the biggest hipster/scenster crowd in Jax - most nights it's 18+, for those coming with a younger crowd - expect a huge but fun NYE crowd)
  4. TSI (also a big draw for the indie rock/hipster crowd - walkable to and from the Stadium - will have the best NYE party for the rock crowd - bands, DJ's, etc)
  5. Mark's (more updscale lounge)

Riverside (westside/just out of Downtown): probably the "coolest" non-beach area in Jax for the 20-something crowd - only about 5 minutes (max) from Downtown

  1. Underbelly (behind a clothing store called Anomaly - hard to find (on purpose) - pretty much locals only but all would be welcome, think Brooklyn indie scene meets sothern outdoor bar)
  2. Birdies [formerly Starlight] (cheap drinks, lot's of 20-something scenesters)
  3. Lomax Lodge (grundge/punk/rock crowd with a killer beer selection - best "dive" bar in Jax)
  4. Walker's Wine Bar [King St. District] (NY/Boston styled wine bar - very hip with late 20's early 30's)
  5. The Rogue [King St. District] (hole in the wall bar - rock/indie crowd, owned by owner of Walker's - right next to The Loft and across the Street from Kickback's)
  6. The Loft [King St. District] (small but very hip - pulls a big crowd of Jax hipsters that think cover charges, lounges, bottles (i.e., Jersey Shore) are lame)
  7. Kickback's Gastropub [King St. District] (over 200 beers on tap, and another 500 in bottle - killer food also served 23 hours a day - saw Guy Fieri of Triple D eating and having a beer here while in town shooting a show about another place)
  8. There are alos 2 great local breweries in the King St. District - Intuition Ale Works and Bold City Brewery.  Both breweries put out some great stuff and have tours and a tap room.  You can score a growler for the game pretty cheap.  [Bold City will be on tap all over town, but they over special kegs only found on site - check it out - could make for a fun few hours].

Avondale: wealthy enclave just past Riverside.  Homes remind you of the north (think Grosse Pointe).  Small shopping district with high-end restaurants and boutiques.

  1. Town (an American tapas restaurant with a cool but small bar - they have truffle tater tots and pork belly popcorn as bar snacks - enough said)
  2. Casbah (hookah lounge with pretty decent middle eastern food - draws the scenster crowd for food before a night out - live belly dancing - heatied outdoor patio)
  3. The Brick (great restaurant with a 30-40 something martini/craft beer crowd)
  4. Eclipse [past the Shoppes of Avondale on St. Johns Avenue] (small but cool dance club with an awesome old wave night for anyone that is a big Depeche Mode/Cure fan)

San Marco: wealthy enclave on the "south" bank of Jax (opposite side of the river from the Stadium).  Mansions and historic homes.  Another small shopping district with high-end restaurants and boutiques.

  1. Square One (nice lounge/dance club popular for all crowds from 20's-40's - expect a well dressed, fun mixed crowd around NYE)
  2. BB's (on Hendrix Ave - walkable from south bank hotels) (my favorite restaurant in Jax - has an awesome wine/beer selection)
  3. Taverna (very nice Spanish tapas restaurant with a killer wine selection)