Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Lemon Bar, for Casual Fun in the Sun

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Lemon Bar, for Casual Fun in the Sun

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Capitano

NEPTUNE BEACH - The piles of bikes I observed as I was coming off the beach were my first tip-off that The Lemon Bar was enjoying a hot opening weekend.

Open to the public and a seasonal feature at the Seahorse Oceanfront Inn, its bike racks were so overloaded they were barely visible, and then folks just started parking their bikes in the surrounding grass, one overlapping the next. It was a sea of fat-tired, brightly colored cruisers, complete with the beach's must-have custom details: extreme handlebars, hibiscus decals, foam-insulated beverage holders, even animal-print seats. The transportation is a far cry from the skinny, vintage rides that are in-demand downtown. Show me a bike, and I'll tell you the part of Jacksonville from which it hails.

My brother and I thought the oceanfront spot would be a fine choice to entertain our vacationing cousin, a Minnesotan. It's always good to remind those from the Great White North how much they like pina coladas. Since the sea is in sight, frozen fruit drinks are a perfectly acceptable selection and encouraged for all guests, regardless of gender. Go ahead and get whipped cream even. No one will point and laugh. The barkeep won't roll his eyes.

My crew got through the entrance of the Spanish-tiled patio bar just before a line started to form. The wait grew throughout the day, as those having fun in the sun on our side of the fence weren't in any hurry to leave and make room for those stuck in the parking lot.

And should you want to get one of their tables, with or without an umbrella, you need to get there close to opening. Those left to stand fill in the space around the covered, U-shaped bar, among the patios tables or out on the lawn, where, during peak hours, there's a second mini-bar set up.

You can run a drink tab, but I don't recommend that when they're busy, or you'll have to fight through a wait six-people deep at the bar to settle up. …

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