You don’t have to look far in Jacksonville to come across remnants of the city’s rich history. A sometimes overlooked portion of her past is the part she played in the Prohibition period.
Jacksonville was and still is known as the “Gateway to Florida," and the city's ports were used for illegal smuggling and rum-running. Many romanticized stories and myths arose from that era. Today, we see those stories play out in movies and in popular literature.
Perhaps the most visible memorials to that sordid history, however, are the modern speakeasy establishments popping up throughout the United States' most metropolitan cities – establishments like Jacksonville’s own The Parlour, a speakeasy hidden in plain site in San Marco, one of the most historic neighborhoods within city limits.
The Parlour has an intimate atmosphere that draws you in and puts you at ease — Photo courtesy of The Parlour
To find The Parlour, one must enter from a secret passage within another drinking hole: The Grape and Grain Exchange, a popular spot for happy hour cocktails, friendly meetups and shopping for that special bottle to take home. It might be easy to take the bar at face value and be on your way; however, if you care to look deeper, you might find a specific bookcase at the back of the room that offers more than you’d imagine at first inspection.
Go behind the bookcase, and you’ll travel back in time to another era, one filled with music, sophisticated cocktails and an intimate environment that you can get comfortable in right away.
Enjoy hand-crafted cocktails at The Parlour — Photo courtesy of The Parlour
For those sneaking in at the building's side entrance, be prepared to present the password, or pay the cover. The password can be found on The Parlour's Facebook page, and it changes nightly.
Featuring blues, jazz and other creative live entertainers, The Parlour unlocks a piece of you ready to let go and get moving. Whether you plan on getting out on the dance floor or enjoying the soundtrack at your seat, you’ll get lost in the music.
Unwind to live blues and jazz entertainment at The Parlour — Photo courtesy of The Parlour
The cocktail menu offers a strong showing of classics and signature house drinks, but don’t be afraid to order a classic Old Fashioned or Whiskey neat. The Parlour takes pride in its “Garden to Glass” philosophy and puts great care into securing the freshest ingredients for each drink.
Craft spirits made in small batches by master distillers both locally and abroad grace your glass, along with aromatic herbs, and tart fruit to achieve an elevated taste known as The Parlour’s signature.
The Parlour is proud to serve craft cocktails, "Garden to Glass" style — Photo courtesy of The Parlour
The Grape and Grain Exchange is a trendy spot with its own cult following; however, the owners knew their inspiration to bring a modern-day speakeasy to Jax would be a welcomed one. Who doesn’t like a good secret, after all?
The Parlour manages to be a best-kept secret but still easygoing, which is something a coastal city counts on. This is the South after all, and it's known for it's hospitality. You’ll find just that at The Parlour, along with some of the best live entertainment in the region.
Get out of the box, and discover the unknown. You may find just what you’ve been missing hidden right in front of you at The Parlour. Unlock the secret of this fine establishment, and leave with a story to tell that's all your own.