In our “Hidden Gems” article series, we take a look at and highlight some of the less-appreciated buildings, businesses, and more here in the Jacksonville area.
Located just off of Blanding Boulevard in the Lakeshore neighborhood, The Phoenix Bar & Bowling is not your average bowling alley.
Most traditional bowling alleys, for example, don’t have old bicycles with skeletons on them hanging from the ceiling.
That’s just one of the many quirky vintage items that serve as décor within The Phoenix, including old cars, service station signs and memorabilia, and bar tops built using old panels from the bowling lanes.
The Phoenix opened late last year at 2600 Blanding Boulevard, in a building that was first built in the late 1950s as Bowl-o-Matic. After a fire almost destroyed the building in 1992, it was renovated and reopened as Phoenix Lanes – but that new iteration shut down permanently in 2013.
The once-traditional bowling alley has since been converted by the team behind The Garage, theLOFT, and Bearded Buffalo Brewing Co. in Riverside into a more modern space – ironically, given all the retro décor – complete with 12 bowling lanes, multiple full-service bars, over two dozen TVs, and a kitchen that serves up craft pizza made with dough imported from Brooklyn, NY, among other menu items.
One of its bars features karaoke several nights each week, including Monday nights which also double as 99-cent bowling night. The main bar, dubbed Jacksonville Brewing Co., serves the greatest hits from Jacksonville’s many local craft breweries.
Unless you live in Ortega or Avondale, The Phoenix might be a bit of a drive for you. But if you love bowling, pizza, and craft beer, it’ll definitely be worth the trip.