There’s a multi-tap bar at 910 King Street in Jacksonville, Florida with 1.1 million pennies on the walls. It also has hundreds of antique glass front mousetraps with mementos of the owner’s past…
But wait, there’s more! 204 taps, 100,000 bottles of beer in the catacombs under the restaurant and some wonderful food.
How did all that get there? The owner of Kickbacks Gastropub / Goozlepipe & Guttyworks, Steve Flores, built the place up over many years. He obviously has a great affection for all things craft. That includes beer and decorations as well. He and a friend spent 8,000 hours gluing all those pennies to the wall. It’s like hiding your money in your mattress, except it’s in plain sight and harder to cash in…
Throughout the restaurant are amazing things to look at and enjoy. One of the more amazing things is the beer selection. 204 taps means there’s something for everyone. The original part of the building has a long bar with a bunch of taps on the bar and hanging from the ceiling! I’m pretty sure the ceiling ones are just for decoration. The newer section has a hundred-year-old coffee carafe with 78 taps on it, plus assorted other taps all around the bar.
In the basement (catacombs) there are 24 taps of Belgian goodness and a private space for intimate get-togethers. We had dinner there during the official Beer Bloggers and Writers visit.
How do you keep all those lines clean and fresh? Steve says they don’t depend on the distributors to follow up. He has made it the responsibility for each shift manger to clean the lines of each tap that goes during their shift. Also, the lines are kept to a single style as much as possible to keep off flavors from different styles from being a problem. It’s quite a challenge, but it seems to be working for them.
Our bartender, Erica, was completely knowledgeable about the beer on tap. She was Cambodian and was correct that she was my first bartender from there! All the staff was helpful and beer smart. Steve was also always around helping out and answering questions. It was a great place to visit and hang out in. If you only have time for one place in Jacksonville, this would be the one.
Behind a locked door off the spiral staircase coming down into the crypt – oops, I mean basement – one finds 100,000 bottles of beer and some kegs as well. Let’s just say that Steve has a “strong” cellering program going on here. Multiple bottles of various rare and not-so-rare vintages crowd the shelves. Each section is locked away behind a secure gate. The whole area is dark and kept at 57 degrees, soon to be 53 degrees.
Steve says, “Beer doesn’t like heat and light.” Unfortunately, my old vision wasn’t feeling the love. With the help of some modern technology, my phone’s light, I was able to read some labels.
If the choices locked away don’t excite you, for a dollar a day you can rent a locker complete with round table to taste your own bottles. Kind of the knights of the round craft beer table in the catacombs…where’s the mead? Each locker comes with its own bona fide English jailer’s reproduction padlock. Steve, the owner, took the one locker that’s blocked by a pipe so yours will be fully accessible!
I’m going to have to figure out a way to get back here and spend some more time!
There are also some nice breweries in Jacksonville as well. We visited Aardwolf Brewing, Intuition Ale Works, Engine 15 Brewing Company, and Green Room Brewing. There are others, but time was short and the beer was plentiful… Perhaps another day.
P.S. Aardwolf was my favorite of the breweries!
Laissez les bon temps rouler!