A favorite haunt of local scenesters, bloggers, and beer enthusiasts, Kickbacks is a self-described gastro-pub boasting 60 beers on tap, almost 300 bottled varieties, and an amazing array of food items.
Kickbacks has been on my radar for a while but, as always, my unrelenting cynicism led me to suspect the good press was all hype. First off, I don't particularly like bars. There's the smoke, the noise, the smelly people spilling beer on you, etc. Kickbacks eradicated concern number one because the significant amount of food-based revenue means no smoking inside. You do have the noise and the crowds but you can't really fault a place for being popular, especially when it delivers on its promises: good food and excellent beer.
There's a great selection of beers on draft so I didn't even bother with the bottle list. I'm a beer snob and I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of good-quality, lesser known imported beers and craft brews on tap but they even have a few of the "regulars" for the less sophisticated among us. The ambiance lends itself quite nicely to sipping a pint or two. Dimly lit with beer tap handles, glasses, and empty bottles adorning the ceiling; it somehow draws a fine line between dive and distinguished.
I haven't been particularly hungry the times I've visited but didn't want to pass up an opportunity to try the food (the menu is just as extensive as the beer list) so the first time I ordered a basket of the jalapeno shrimp poppers. Good, tasty, filling. Very filling. Too filling. I could definitely see them coming in handy were I have been doing more drinking. I've also tried the southern spring rolls and those were tasty but quite decadent as well.
Kickbacks is a place I'd love to go back to regularly. Good beer, good food, just perhaps not the best place to try hold a conversation unless you like shouting at your friends.
Their web page isn't functional at the moment (The default Apache "It works!" message is the only content) but hopefully they'll get it up and running some time this year.
910 King St
Jacksonville, FL 32204