acksonville is a quaint beach town located along Florida’s First Coast. Good ole Jax, or Duval as you’ll commonly hear locals call it, is our third stop along the National Dive Bar Tour, presented by SEAGRAM’S 7. We like to be prepared for drinking excursions, so to get ahead of schedule, we asked some local Jacksonvillians about their city. This way we can all feel a little less like tourists.
Greg Schwartzenberger, co-owner and GM of the Hotel Palms in Atlantic Beach, was nice enough to act as our Jacksonville expert and provided us with some excellent places to visit while visiting the 904. Check out some of the spots he mentioned, as well as a few others we know from visiting Jax.
Where to Eat
With a renowned chef backing the place, Doro is a warm and inviting restaurant where the cutting edge cuisine and unique flavors are sure to impress. Greg recommends getting a bottle of Chocolate Block while you’re here.
An upbeat kitchen that offers a wide range of organic breakfast and lunch options or smoothies and frozen yogurt if you’re looking for something light to munch on while visiting the beach.
Maple Street Biscuit Company
One of the city’s highest-awarded food destinations (for damn good reason we might add), is this casual cafe serving up biscuit sandwiches and traditional Southern sides for breakfast and lunch. There are a multitude of locations throughout the area, so you’re never too far.
Gilbert’s Hot Chicken, Fish and Shrimp
Relatively new to the area, but noteworthy nonetheless, this “fast-casual” Southern comfort food location serves up (you guessed it) hot chicken, fish and shrimp.
Safe Harbor Seafood
Perhaps the quintessential food stop when visiting the 904, Safe Harbor has two locations in the area that offer locally caught shrimp, conch fritters, fresh fish and way more in a relaxed spot with water views and outdoor seating.
Black Sheep at Intuition
Want to kill two birds with one stone? This is it. And by kill two birds, we mean pregame for our dive bar party and simultaneously eat some great grub. Local brews and great food go hand-in-hand at Black Sheep’s location inside Intuition’s brewery near the Jags stadium downtown.
Where to Drink
Bold Bean Coffee Roasters
With locations all around Jax, this coffee spot pours hand-roasted artisan coffees, teas, espressos and even beer in rustic, industrial digs.
Local Craft Breweries
Alright so there are like 17 of these throughout the area now, and almost all of them deserve a visit, but choosing based on your proximity will safely land you in a place for great local craft beer. There’s a reason Jacksonville is quickly becoming a craft beer hub in the South.
Ahh Ginger’s … a Jacksonville Beach staple. This intimate neighborhood watering hole (a “dive” if you will) serves cheap drinks to a diverse crowd in laid-back settings. Order a Rocket Bomb if you dare.
Shim Sham Room
Located steps from the ocean, the comfy digs of Shim Sham offer craft cocktails, amazing bar bites (at great prices) and a patio with a classic, relaxed vibe.
Looking for some other great activities while in town? Try walking the trails at Hannah Park, riding a beach cruiser down 1st Street or take a walk to the end of the fishing pier. All along the beach you’ll have access to the ocean everywhere, so feel free to jump in without worrying about the feds (well except Naval Station Mayport). Looking to do a bit of shopping? Grab some gear at Inguz and Sunrise Surf Shop or check out Young, Loud, and Snotty for some vinyl. Staying in Jacksonville for a while but like to avoid overpriced chain hotels at the beach? Well lucky you, the Hotel Palms offers a great local alternative and is also just a cool spot to check out if you’re around the north side of the beaches.
If you’re around town on September 21, stop by Pete’s Bar and let us buy you a drink. RSVP here and we’ll see you at the bar.