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Bold cocktails, Creole-inspired cuisine reign at speakeasy-style Beaches eatery. 
by Virginia Chamlee  //  photos by agnes lopez
blindrabbitSpeakeasy-style bars and restaurants have cropped up across the country in recent years—hearkening back to an era when finding liquor was an illicit act. Located in the heart of Jacksonville Beach, The Blind Rabbit isn’t hidden or hard to find. But the restaurant (named for speakeasies that would lure patrons in by charging admission to see “blind pigs”) takes plenty of inspiration from the bygone days of Prohibition.

The Blind Rabbit is owned by John and Jeff Stanford, the brothers behind Riverside’s The Blind Fig, and has a similar focus on craft cocktails and upscale, Southern-meets-Creole cuisine. The decor is a refreshing change from many of the neighboring restaurants and bars, and features a large-scale mural of (what else?) a psychedelic-colored rabbit on the back wall.

Though a variety of sandwiches and large plates are on offer, the Fig specializes in unusual burgers. Each starts with a half-pound blend of ground brisket, short rib and chuck, and there are plenty of toppings from which to choose. There’s the classic—with Tillamook cheddar and house made pickles on an artisan bun—but our money’s on one of the more inventive selections, like the Southern burger, with fried green tomato, pimento cheese, peach habanero hot sauce, arugula, Georgia cane syrup and pickled okra. All burgers and handhelds are priced between $9.50 and $12, and served with a choice of root (tobacco onions, Southern potato salad, hand cut chips or fries) and sauce—think curry mayo and bourbon-spiked mustard.

Of course, a burger and fries go down nicely with a milkshake, and The Rabbit has plenty. The classics are there (strawberry, chocolate and vanilla) but the adult varieties offer something a little more unusual. Try the maple bacon, a blend of vanilla ice cream, maple syrup, candied bacon and bacon-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon.

The menu isn’t relegated to just burgers and shakes. If you’re craving something heartier, try the flat iron steak with Creole roasted fingerling potatoes, baby zucchini and blackberry hot sauce butter, or opt for the pan-seared mahimahi with smoked tomato butter sauce.

The dessert menu is short and, well, sweet—with just three selections (excluding milkshakes). With a s’mores brownie, Key lime pie and strawberry shortcake with moonshine macerated strawberries, it’s easy to satisfy most cravings.

The Blind Rabbit

311 N. Third St., Suite 107, Jacksonville Beach • 595-5915, theblindrabbitwhiskeybar.com

Hours: 11:30 AM-2 AM, Monday-Sunday

Cocktail Time: The more than 100 varieties of whiskey on offer are featured prominently on a chalkboard near the bar. Imbibe in a whiskey flight or try a craft cocktail, such as the Dark Moon, a mix of Catdaddy moonshine, lemon, apple juice and ginger ale.

Happy Hour: On “Moon-shine Mondays,” Blind Rabbit offers half-priced “white lightning.” The restaurant also offers an ample selection of beer, including local brews from Aardwolf on tap.

Parking: Parking in Jax Beach can be a hassle, as empty spaces can be few and far between. Perhaps your best bet is to try the rooftop parking garage next to the restaurant.

 

 

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