Cocktails & Evening Entertainment
Whether you’re in the historic district of Fernandina Beach near the city marina and Centre Street, or across the island at Amelia’s beaches from the northend to the southend, here’s just a few suggestions for cocktails and an evening out on the town on Amelia Island, Florida. (If you want a more organized tour of pubs, Amelia Island Museum has a pub crawl tour on Thursday evenings, for a Happy Hour history lesson and a drink at four of Fernandina’s watering holes, see more below about this pub crawl…).
HISTORIC DISTRICT, FERNANDINA BEACH (Several Bars Walkable From Downtown Lodging B & Bs & Hampton Inn & Suites)
PALACE SALOON– If you’re in downtown Fernandina, try a local favorite cocktail, “Pirate’s Punch,” at the Palace Saloon (113 Centre St.), the oldest continuously-operated drinking establishment in Florida, in Fernandina’s historic district. Pirate’s Punch is the “famous” rum drink of Fernandina Beach. It’s hard to miss the Palace, as you’ll see the life-size pirate statue outside the saloon doors at this historic landmark on Amelia Island.
Fernandina Beach has a storied past, and was the stamping ground of pirates, sea captains, and sailors. The Palace Saloon was the “ship captain’s bar” also serving elite families of Fernandina and neighboring Cumberland Island, Georgia (Carnegies and Rockefellers). The saloon’s 40-foot bar is a wonderful relic from the turn-of-the-century, surrounded by mosaic tile floors, embossed tin ceilings and murals painted on the walls. The founder of Anheuser-Busch, Adolphus Busch, reportedly assisted in designing the elegant bar. The Palace Saloon also offers live entertainment some evenings. Visit The Palace’s web site at www.thepalacesaloon.com or call 904-491-3332 for further information. The Palace Saloon is also on FACEBOOK.
GREEN TURTLE TAVERN (LOCATED NEXT DOOR TO FLORIDA HOUSE INN). Look for the graffiti-covered retro volkswagon bus (think of Hair’s “Age of Aquarius”), usually parked outside, located at 14 South 3rd Street. Green Turtle has nice atmosphere for cocktails and conversation including outdoor side porch seating. Chef Nori cooks up Gyros, Chicago Dogs, Italian beef, and a daily blue plate special. The Green Turtle Tavern offers 12 beers on draft and wide variety of bottled beers from around the world. Check out the Green Turtle’s Facebook page. Phone: 904-321-2324.
KARIBREW BREW PUB — Does the freshest beer on Amelia Island sound enticing? Then quench your thirst at the only brew pub making home made beer on the island, located in the historic district at 27 North 3rd Street, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034. Phone: (904) 277-5269 (adjacent to Cafe Karibo). KARIBREW also offers nice bites like soft-shelled crab sandwich, tasty burgers. The cafe itself has excellent food, check out their online menu at website: www.cafekaribo.com. See the latest about what’s happening at Cafe Karibo and the pub at their Facebook page.
DOG STAR TAVERN at 10 North 2nd Street, 904-277-8010, just off historic Centre Street (in the White Building, circa 1878), is the newest Fernandina bar “from the people who brought you the Green Turtle Tavern.” Featuring live music on the weekends and a DJ bringing Phat n’ Jazzy sound every Thursday. Long bar inside, and outside seating in the stable yard. They have some dart boards, too. Check out Dog Star Tavern’s FACEBOOK page for latest news and entertainment schedule.
BRETT’S WATERWAY CAFE at the Fernandina Beach Harbor Front Need a sunset to soothe your soul? Sip a Martini while you relax in rocking chairs and witness a gorgeous sunset over the Fernandina Harbor — a view available from the rear porch of Brett’s Waterway Cafe (located at foot of Centre Street). Brett’s has a prime location at the marina on the Amelia River. This is a nice spot for sunset drinks with a waterfront view (unless you want to get out on the water for a BYOB Twilight Sunset Cruise, see below Amelia River Cruises). Take a stroll on the nearby docks to catch a breeze while you admire the yachts at the adjoining Fernandina Beach marina. Call Brett’s for further information about operating hours (summer vs. off season) at 904-261-2660.
TWILIGHT BYOB CRUISE DEPARTS FROM FERNANDINA HARBOR MARINA
All aboard the evening “Twilight BYOB Cruise” by Amelia River Cruises, departing from the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina (ticket booth at 1 Front Street on the riverfront boardwalk, call for reservations 904-261-9972). Does cruisin’ and boozin’ while listening to tunes sound intriguing? This boat tour on the Amelia River (weather permitting), is a 2-hour boat ride that also offers live entertainment featuring local artists. Listen to live music, see a sunset out on the water, and bring your own bottle to enjoy a drink – beer, wine or beverage of choice. This is an adult-oriented river cruise introduced by Amelia River Cruises, schedule changes season to season, so call for dates. The cost per adult is $29 plus tax (subject to change). NOTE: Folks can also still take the family-oriented sunset cruise departing evenings for about an hour boat ride ($14 kids, $18 seniors, $20 adults, prices subject to change) offered seasonally.
FERNANDINA PUB CRAWL TOUR — The Amelia Island Museum of history hosts “Happy Hour” history tours in historic Fernandina, so quench your thirst and hear tales of this Victorian-era seaport. One ticket purchase required to experience four pubs, a wealth of historical information about downtown Fernandina Beach, and enjoy a good time. AIMH’s tour is held Thursday evenings at 5:30 pm to tour four historic pubs. One ticket gets you a drink at each establishment and an earful of colorful tales about the places visited along the tour. Tickets cost $25 per person (must be 21, must show ID). The pub crawl tour begins at the historic train depot in downtown Fernandina Beach by the city marina and railroad tracks. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. Call 904-261-7378 x105
HEADING OUT OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICT AND GOING EAST TO THE BEACHES, HERE’S A FEW OF AMELIA ISLAND’S CASUAL BEACH BARSSLIDERS SEASIDE GRILL ON THE OCEANFRONT, AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA
An Amelia Island landmark, Sliders Seaside Grill is located on oceanfront property at 1998 South Fletcher Avenue at the roundabout at Sadler Road — one of only two restaurant/bars on Amelia Island (non-resort property), that are actually right on the beach (the other being Sandy Bottoms). For drinks right on the beach, there’s a tiki bar outside at the rear of Sliders with live evening entertainment some nights. Sliders has playground equipment off its rear porch, adjacent to the beach, for patrons with kids. Sliders is well known to both locals and visitors, having a presence on Amelia Island since 1945. In 2011 Sliders is open for business but renovating (adding upstairs bar, banquet facilities and second floor verandah, expected to be done fall 2011). Adjacent is Seaside Park, with additional parking area (one of Fernandina’s public beach parks). Sliders is one of the places on Amelia Island where beach driving is allowed, but non-Nassau County residents are supposed to get a permit. (Don’t be tempted to drive on the beach without a 4-wheel drive vehicle that can handle it. Many tourists get stuck in the sand and have to get towed out. ) Also see Sliders Seaside Grill’s Facebook page. Or call Sliders for further information at 904-277-6652 about seasonal operating hours, specials and featured entertainment.
SANDY BOTTOMS BEACH BAR & GRILL, MAIN BEACH PARK, FERNANDINA
If you’re around Main Beach toward the northern end of Amelia Island and would like a very casual beach bar, Sandy Bottoms is the place. It’s one of only two beach bars on Amelia Island (located in non-resort property) actually located right on the beach with an outdoor patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and new “Ocean Oasis” outdoor bar. In summer 2011, they’re also serving food and drinks right in the sand off the patio (tables and lounges on the beach). Sandy Bottoms also offers some live musical entertainment at night. If you haven’t been to Sandy Bottoms in awhile, “KP” took over the kitchen in 2010 (KP for many years had a restaurant with large local following.) Located at Main Beach, 2910 Atlantic Avenue, you can call Sandy Bottoms at (904)277-0814 for the latest operating hours and entertainment schedule (summer vs. off season). Or visit their website, www.SandyBottomsAmelia.com.
VERY CASUAL — BRING THE FAMILY TO “THE SURF.” A very casual eatery and open deck bar “The Surf,” is located across the street from the ocean at 3199 South Fletcher Avenue (904) 261-5711. The Surf draws large crowds during the summertime, especially on “Wing-It” nights. Live entertainment on the outdoor deck (DJs, acoustical guitar) helps to keep the crowd buzzing with enthusiasm. Families with children can dine at The Surf for its casual, open-air atmosphere on the deck where an exuberant or unhappy child, generally, will not disturb others.
BARS LOCATED ON THE SOUTHEND OF AMELIA ISLAND, RESORT AREA
EIGHT SPORTS LOUNGE, AT AMELIA ISLAND RITZ-CARLTON, located off the Amelia Island Parkway. Unwind watching a ball game, playing pool and enjoy a favorite beverage. Equipped with billiard tables, multiple flat screen televisions, extensive beer and wine lists and residential-style furniture, “Eight” has a laid back atmosphere. Direct TV satellite ensures access to all major sporting events in every season. The bar’s name is a nod to Amelia Island’s history as the Isle of Eight Flags, the only place in the country to have been under the rule of eight different regimes since its discovery by the Spanish in 1562. Of course, the number eight has a storied legacy in the world of sports and games as well; it serves as the pivotal target in Eight Ball and has been worn by legendary baseball players Yogi Berra, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie Stargelll and Cal Ripken, Jr. Eight’s menu features classic sports fare, including: burgers, sandwiches, soups, salads, chicken wings and nachos. Its signature cocktail, the Eight martini combines eight delicious ingredients. Eight is open Monday through Friday from 4:00 p.m. to Midnight, and Saturday and Sunday from Noon to Midnight. (When games last later, the bar will remain open.)
BAXTER’S (4919 First Coast Hwy. 904-277-4503, near Harris Teeter shopping plaza). Locals on the southend like to hangout here. Baxter’s has a late bar menu (10 pm to 2 am).
THE FALCON’S NEST –Enjoy some “high-flying specialty drinks” along with “lite” bites (like a Falcon burger or wings), by dropping by the Falcon’s Nest located within Amelia Island Plantation resort, on Amelia Island’s southend off A1A. This aviation-themed bar loaded with memorabilia, is a nightlife spot to experience while visiting Amelia Island, open evenings. (The Falcon’s Nest is open to the public, not just Plantation resort guests.) The Falcon’s Nest is two stories, 7,000 square feet, with indoor and outdoor seating, offering a dance floor and game room with pool tables, and pinball. The outdoor rear decking faces a natural setting of oak trees and a creek, with umbrella tables. The Falcon’s Nest is for those aged 21 and over. Call 904-491-4242 for operating hours (summer vs. off season), entertainment schedule, special theme nights, and further information.
PLAE — STYLE, ATMOSPHERE, WONDERFUL DINING
Also within Amelia Island Plantation in the Spa & Shops area is PLAE, (“People Laughing and Eating”), with golf course views from the outdoor deck, open in the evening only. Offering an eclectic menu, PLAE is beautifully designed and furnished. It’s also a great place to enjoy cocktails in the lounge or outside on the deck, with its impressive cocktail lounge. PLAE offers live entertainment in the lounge — call for operating hours (summer vs. off season), entertainment schedule, and dinner reservations. (904-277-2132.)