Defining what makes a great local cocktail bar or watering hole is a lot like determining what makes a great house. Everyone has their own specific tastes and style preferences, although I think we all can agree that atmosphere and quality of drinks are two elements that can’t be lacking when it comes to what truly makes a drinking establishment great. And if you’re wanting the right atmosphere to pair with that perfectly made drink, these Jacksonville neighborhoods are where you’ll find the best bars and taverns in town.
Jacksonville’s San Marco neighborhood is the first stop along our city-wide bar crawl, which is where you’ll find local favorites like The Grape & Grain Exchange, Sidecar, and Posting House. If you pay any attention to Google Reviews, you’ll find comments claiming Posting House is the “best bar in San Marco,” which is hard to argue if you’re a wine lover. Inside, the decor is set up to be modern take on a traditional English posting house, and we’d be remiss to not mention the excellent craft beer selection here as well. Right around the corner from Posting House is The Grape & Grain Exchange, which doubles as both a neighborhood bar and a local liquor store. Inside, we love the general store-esque vibe, and the creative seasonal cocktails served here are among the best in all of Jacksonville. And finally, if you’re looking for more of a classic cocktail bar setting in San Marco, try heading over to Sidecar, a 1920s-inspired establishment with an amazing whiskey list, lots of interior space, and even a big patio if you’re hoping to sit outside and enjoy the weather.
Directly across the St. Johns River from San Marco is Five Points, a hip residential neighborhood with vintage shops and boutiques, eclectic eateries, and several of Jacksonville’s best bars and taverns. The Rogue is undoubtedly one of the hottest bars in the Five Points neighborhood and offers somewhat of a prohibition era vibe crossed with a classic honky tonk you’re more likely to see along Broadway in Downtown Nashville. And if you’re into fun and corky elements that make a bar unique, bar goers can even play ring toss here for a chance to win a free shot. Not far from The Rouge is River & Post, which must be mentioned for its swanky rooftop bar with some pretty epic views of Jacksonville. Admittedly, River & Post Is definitely more “restaurant” than it is “bar,” but the cocktails and the rooftop setting here help make it one of the best date night spots anywhere in town.
As with any major city, the downtown area in Jacksonville has some exceptional nightlife destinations that rarely disappoint during a night out on the town. The Volstead, located right in the heart of the city, is one of Jacksonville’s only true speakeasy-like settings and is a great downtown spot for a night cap. The cocktails are absolutely A+ at The Volstead and they even host Sunday swing dancing if you’re looking for something upbeat on what’s usually a low-key evening around town. Dos Gatos also has to mentioned among Downtown Jacksonville’s top bars, which lies directly across from the historic Florida Theatre and is dubbed “Jacksonville’s original cocktail lounge.” Not surprisingly, the mixologists at Dos Gatos are well-trained and serve up some perfectly executed cocktails, and the always-eclectic music selection here helps create both a unique and very lively atmosphere that elevates a night from good to great.
Although you don’t get the sheer volume of bars in Murray Hill that you get in neighborhoods like San Marco, Downtown Jacksonville, and others, the bars that are found throughout this walkable part of town are truly some of our favorites. Buchner’s Bierhalle transports patrons straight to Germany for Oktoberfest every single day and their back patio here is tops in town. Town Beer Co. is also located in the heart of Murry Hill, which is literally like the coolest coffee shop you’ve ever been to, only with craft beer instead of espresso. And if you actually do feel like a good cup of Joe, the flamingo coffee bar is basically right around the corner and one of the best coffee spots in all of Jacksonville (just sayin’).
Posted by Brad Officer on