Some people are going to tell you the Downtown area of Jacksonville is a “dead zone” where nothing exists. Do not listen to these people, they haven’t been looking in the right spots and that’s why we’re here to help fill you in and let you know that Downtown Jax is alive and well!

The Downtown complex stretches plenty of area, nearly all of it waterfront on the river, circled by the Matthews Bridge Expressway and Union/State Streets on the north, I-95 to the west and south and once it crosses the St. Johns past Bishop Kenny to the St. Nicholas area. The Downtown Area includes the Southbank, the Fairgrounds, Sports Complex, Metro Park and the Riverwalk, not to mention the grid of city blocks occupied by thousands of busy buildings. If you can’t find a thriving nightlife in that enormous area, you aren’t really looking.

Part of the myth that “there is little to do” in Downtown is the fact that Jacksonville is a spread out city and we haven’t packed the downtown area full of business one right on top of the other like in other more compact municipalities. That works against us in the sense of feeling like a “city” but it works in our favor in making the downtown Jacksonville area full of opportunities and new spots opening up everywhere you look.

Come from the shipyards to the areas and you’ll see plenty of great bars. Venture further down to the hotel district and Riverwalk and you’ll find even more. From there, the grid hides plenty of wonderful spots we plan to illuminate as well. Downtown is not quiet, it is waiting: for you!

Our Picks for the Top Bars in Downtown

The Volstead

Celebrate yesteryear and the glory days of the speakeasy. The roaring 20’s and beyond are alive once more in this recreation of a prohibition era bar. Come dressed as your modern casual self, but you would feel just as comfortable putting on some duds from last century as the full immersion feels so real.

Jazz music, swing dancing, authentic cocktails and wonderfully quirky anachronistic celebrations of all things from past glory days come together to culminate in an excellent night out in downtown Jacksonville.

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Dos Gatos

Are you longing for the days of strong drinks, good people, and a flexible sense of humor? If so, come on down to Dos Gatos downtown Jacksonville, (with a second location in Saint Augustine) where the drinks flow freely and the staff is quick with a quip or comment to keep the conversation flowing too.

A wonderful lounge atmosphere with a great menu of signature cocktails and a bar with local craft beers on hand for a well-rounded evening of drinks for everyone.

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Spliffs Gastropub

Gastropub may be an overused phrase around the country, but Sliff’s Gastropub in downtown Jacksonville gets it right. A bevy of hearty dishes available and a wide variety of craft brews varying from the light to thick, this joint has figured out that we’re coming out looking for good food, good drinks, and great times.

Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and the all-important “mac and cheese” pair well with any number of the rotating taps behind the bar.

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Cowford Chophouse

Sometimes you’re not looking for a casual hangout, you want to go out into the evening for a dining experience. Look no further than the Cowford Chophouse. The menu offers high class food and the wine list is more extensive than most wineries.

Get dressed up, come downtown and splurge for an evening of elegance whether you’re on a romantic date, an anniversary dinner, or just enjoying a fine meal with great drinks. Cowford Chophouse has the class you are looking for.

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Fast with class. Bellwether restaurant in downtown Jacksonville is a quick meal eatery but they’re not serving fast food, the meals here are elevated above the standard fare and give you some of the best food in Jacksonville whether you’re stopping in for a quick lunch or stepping out for an evening downtown.

Great food in a clean atmosphere with a full bar available. Custom cocktails blend some fantastic flavors with some of the classic recipes for a newly discovered favorite.

  • Hours: Lunch: Tuesday – Friday: 11:00am – 2:00pm Happy Hour: Wednesday – Friday: 4:00pm – 7:00pm Dinner: Friday – Saturday: 5:00pm – 9:30pm
  • Address: 100 N Laura St Ste 100, Jacksonville, FL 32202
  • Phone: 904-802-7745
  • Website:

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The Elbow 

the elbowSprawling pedestrian-friendly entertainment district featuring several eateries & live music venues.

  • Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11am- 2am, Friday: 11am- 3am, Saturday: 6pm- 3am, Sunday: Closed
  • Address:  7 Ocean St, Jacksonville, FL 32202, United States
  • Phone: (904)240-4913
  • Website:

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elementAmerican bistro offering happy hour & live-music nights in chic environs with an adjacent nightclub.

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Super Food and Brew

Counter-serve hangout providing health-conscious meals & ample craft beers in an industrial setting.

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Live Bar

live barDescription

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shorThis relaxed Hyatt regency eatery overlooking the river serves regional cuisine & a breakfast buffet.