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  • alannamichaelweddi

Steampunk Gastropub - Kickbacks

Updated: Jun 15, 2023

Imagine a menu that never ended. Choices for days. And before you even see this, you’re dazzled with rows of beer taps and whimsical decor with brick walls, twinkling lights and a spiral staircase. Inside, there is a magnificent balcony and enormous stylized fans. This is Kickbacks.

An Outside Fireplace and Taps for Miles

Outside is a lovely raised patio area with a cozy fireplace (for the 4 nights in Jacksonville where it’s cold). Amidst the wonder and inviting aura of beer and people chatting, is a host stand with an eager quasi-hipsterish host. She probably has on flannel paired with a fantastic barrette or earrings and dark lipstick. She cannot wait to seat you - which she will do as soon as she finishes her eye-roll at the server hovering nearby and waiting for a good table.

She may take you to a cozy booth up the spiral staircase. You will wonder at the 1.1 million pennies glued to the walls. There are boxes full of strange designs and characters. Look down the wall and you will start to realize you are surrounded by many, many twisted dioramas.

Burger description
The David Ponsler Thor Burger

As you get settled at one of the many tables – inside, outside, by the bar – you can begin making your first major decision – which tasty beverage to choose. Now, you won’t find a ton of local brewery beers on tap or gluten-free options, but they pretty much have EVERYTHING else. If you wanna really enjoy this place, come during the week so you can get a sampler. The weekends are too busy for divvying up the trays, so you will be forced to drink whole beers.

Party in the Basement?

Beer Cellar
Beer Lockers Below

You won't truly experience this Gastropub unless you have a tour or at least take a quick peak at the downstairs space. It's like a secret wonderland that smacks of secret societies and thrilling parties. Regulars will rent lockers in the beer cellar down below and break them out for special occasions. Back in my single days, I had one date who dipped into his locker to break out a St. Bernardus Tripel and split it while we munched on perogies. The locker room is round and holds a large table, perfect for an intimate poker night.

The downstairs also includes an entire bar and seating area. The best feature is the stained glass windows that were shipped from (as far as I remember) a Belgian monastery. I could easily picture a milestone birthday or rehearsal dinner in this space. Though when I called about having my rehearsal dinner no one got back to me. Maggiano's wasn't a bad second choice. I really hope so epic events take place there.

Weekday Treat: Beer Samplers

I’m talking stouts. I’m talking amber ales. I’m talking IPAs. I’m talking golden ales. There’s a wheat beer and a full bar too. Basically, it’s a good time. Your server will even kick back and recommend some good drink choices if you get stuck.

But don’t rest yet. It’s time to eat all the kinds of bar food you could dream of. There’s sandwiches, appetizers galore, vegetarian tacos, spaghetti-o’s, poutine, full breakfasts all day, and Indian food.

My First Visit to Kickbacks

I got the poutine because it’s one of my fave dishes I don’t usually see too often. (Though I just tried a very tasty one at Black Sheep back when it was open). The Kickbacks poutine has a tasty sauce. The plate comes piled high with fries and cheese. There was an option to get meat on top. Maybe next time I’ll go the extra mile.

My friend from Orlando who dined with me didn’t love her breakfast dish, but she was fairly pleased with her grapefruit cider. So my two cents: not everything is going to be perfect. With such an extensive menu, there's bound to be more than a few busts. They even have ramen on the menu! All in all, I had some good food, slightly sour Infusion beer, and overall a great time.

Many Happy Returns

Since my first visit, I have been back many times. I relish the times that I can peruse the menu and read the hilarious food names and descriptions. I love a concept restaurant.

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