There’s nothing better than getting together with friends to enjoy a night out on the town. Whether that means hitting a local brewery, or enjoying shared appetizers at an upscale spot, getting together with friends over food is always a special time. The best friends' night-out restaurants in Jacksonville include a tiki bar, a new Italian restaurant, a barbecue joint just steps from the beach, and more.Read More
10 Great Restaurants in Jacksonville for Group Dining
Cheers to good friends and great food
One of the buzziest new restaurants in Jacksonville is Josephine, in the Avondale neighborhood. The Italian-American restaurant has a plethora of sharable plates like pizza rolls stuffed with wild mushrooms, fontina cheese, and roasted garlic cream; or burrata cheese paired with spicy Calabrian chili, sweet almond brittle, and a tangy Meyer lemon honey vinegar. The pasta on the menu should not be overlooked either, with classics like lasagna made with roasted fennel sausage ragu and cacio e pepe that’s brightened up a bit with a spritz of lemon.
Wicked Barley Brewing Company
Those looking for a spot with craft beer, a lively outdoor space, and a food menu that will please everyone in the group should head to Wicked Barley. The brewpub is pouring some of Jacksonville’s best craft beer, including seasonal and limited-edition brews. The menu here includes sharable plates like chicken wings tossed in a sweet and spicy Asian-style sauce, deep-fried house-made dill pickles, and plenty of sandwiches that are big enough for two people to split. The outdoor beer garden is a great spot to gather with a group, play a game of corn hole, and enjoy live music too.
Prohibition Kitchen is an entertaining gastropub in the middle of St. Augustine. The menu is filled with stackable options that lean into Southern culture. Here, pork rinds are paired with sour cream and onion dip, shrimp cocktail is paired with a house-made cocktail sauce, and clams are sautéed with gator sausage. With live music every night, groups often stop in for snacks and a few drinks while enjoying the entertainment before strolling through the quaint downtown streets of America’s oldest city.
Secret Tiki Temple
Tiki culture is on full display at Secret Tiki Temple. The speakeasy tiki bar is steeped in Jacksonville lore, with patrons often not able to find the entrance that’s behind a door in a Chinese restaurant, and a password is required for entry. Getting reservations for the bar can be challenging, but they are required for entry, so be sure to snag one before attempting to go with your friends. Once inside, the tiki feel is heightened with wall-to-wall decor, drinks that are on fire, and a lively atmosphere. The drinks are strong, though the bar staff rarely shares ingredients unless a guest specifically asks for them. The food here is Chinese appetizers like spring rolls, dumplings, and Spam fried rice served in a Spam can, but they are worth getting, if not just to soak up the rum in most of the drinks.
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Ida Claire is a Southern restaurant where everything from pimento cheese to fried chicken graces the menu. The Jacksonville location, one of three in the country, partners with local farmers and purveyors to bring vegetables and seafood to the restaurant. This is most evident in the Mayport Seafood Dip, which combines Mayport shrimp and crawfish with cheese, garlic, and shallots into a creamy dip that’s ideal for sharing. What makes this spot perfect for a group night out, besides the Southern-style plates, is the silver airstream parked just outside the main entrance to the restaurant that groups of 15 people or less can rent for parties or a friend's night out.
Located in the historic neighborhood of Springfield, The District is the perfect spot for friends to gather and enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers. There are plenty of comfortable couches and cozy nooks on the outdoor patio where groups can chat amongst themselves without feeling crowded in a small dining room. For an even more intimate night out, consider renting one of the yurts, tents, or geodesic domes for the group. The chef’s charcuterie board or vegan boards are a great way to start the party, each with a selection of house-made accompaniments.
Congaree and Penn
Those looking for some wide open spaces will love Congaree and Penn, a real working farm with a dedicated kitchen and restaurant where friends can enjoy views of the gardens as they sip and savor the bounty. While the covered patio is a beautiful dining spot for brunch or dinner, dining among the grape vines is even better, especially for those with larger groups of friends, since it can accommodate up to 30 guests. The menu at Congaree and Penn changes seasonally, so there’s always something new to try.
ABBQ Meat & Drink
While there are plenty of barbecue spots around town, one of the best for a night out is ABBQ, which is just a few minutes from the beach. The restaurant specializes in Texas-style barbecue, with brisket and cheddar jalapeno sausage being two of the highlights on the menu. The Frito Pie is a great appetizer to share with all the toppings like beans, pico, and cheese sauce loaded on top of Frito corn chips and served in a Frito bag. The outdoor area of ABBQ is always the spot to be, with live sports games on TV and yard games to play while waiting for food to arrive at the table.
Even though Restaurant Orsay is mainly known for its date night feel, the restaurant’s bar area is ideal for friends to enjoy time together in an upscale yet still casual space. For those who are always looking for the best charcuterie boards, consider Restaurant Orsay’s charcuterie plateau, which features the restaurant’s full list of house-made charcuterie plus six different accompaniments. The restaurant also hosts happy hour every day except Sunday, and a late night hour, which is essentially the same as happy hour with discounted drinks and appetizers but happens on Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. until midnight. Small plates like black truffle macaroni and cheese and potato croquettes are popular during happy hour and late at night.
Prospect Five Points
Prospect Five Points is located in the restaurant’s namesake neighborhood of Five Points. The wine bar and restaurant are an excellent spot for friends to meet up and enjoy a glass of wine or craft cocktails, along with a wide range of sharable snacks. With classic dishes like an ahi tuna and avocado stack and truffle fries, with more creative dishes like elote shrimp tacos and short rib sliders, everyone in the group will find something to enjoy on the menu. While it is relatively small on the inside, the restaurant has fairly large patio space that can be used almost all year long, thanks to Florida’s warmer winters.
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