The company is leasing space on Bay Street and is taking reservations for a February launch.
By February, a 15-seat party bike will be the newest way to visit bars and breweries in Downtown Jacksonville, Springfield and Riverside.
Theresa and Rick Pontieri, along with friends Eric and Amanda Blocker, will open Jacksonville’s Pedal Pub franchise with two bikes.
It will offer pub crawls in the three neighborhoods, with plans to add tours in San Marco, Avondale and the Sports Complex eventually, said Theresa Pontieri.
The company is leasing space at 233 E. Bay St. That’s where the Downtown tour will start and guests can book tours and buy merchandise.
The other two tours will leave from a bar or brewery in those neighborhoods.
Riders can book a time, the number of seats they need and which neighborhood they want to tour. Pedal Pub has arranged stops and groups can create custom tours within the neighborhoods served.
Pontieri said individuals can book seats on the tour, but it also works well for parties and corporate outings.
The tour lasts about two hours. It’s $38 per person on weekdays and $42 on weekends.
To book a whole Pedal Pub, the cost comes out to around $30 a person. Riders can bring their own drinks to store in the pub’s cooler to consume while they pedal and ride.
The pedal pub is driven by what the company calls a “pilot,” who steers the pub, plays music and serves as the group’s guide.
The Pedal Pub is powered by a motor, but for the tour to take off, eight riders need to be present.
The bikes ride in the street and pull over if cars start to back up behind it.
Downtown, riders will visit Bold City Brewery, Dos Gatos, Intuition Ale Works, Island Girl Cigar Bar, Justice Pub, Spliff’s Gastropub and The Volstead.
Pontieri said Bold City agreed to create a Pedal Pub beer for the company that riders can drink when they stop at the bar, and also can fill a crowler before they leave.
The city, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and business owners have been receptive to the idea, Pontieri said.
Based on her discussions with city officials, as long as alcoholic beverages stay on the bike, “they’re going to let us do our thing.”
The Springfield tour will focus on breweries. It starts at Crispy’s restaurant, then visits Hyperion Brewing, Main & Six Brewing Co. and finishes at Strings Sports Brewery.
The Riverside tour starts at Bold City Brewery on Rosselle Street or The Garage on King Street, then visits bars in Five Points, the River & Post Restaurant and Rooftop Lounge and ends at Kickbacks Gastropub.
Riders wear wristbands entitling them to discounts at each bar. The tour stops at each location for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pontieri said she wants the bars and breweries on the tour to benefit from Pedal Pub. She’s been meeting with them to determine when their business is slowest so she can schedule tours to stop there then.
That also benefits those on the tour.
“We want our people to come in and get VIP service and then be able to leave again,” she said.
The Pedal Pubs can be rented for tailgates or parties. A Pedal Pub can be delivered to the location, and since it includes beer taps onboard, guests can use the bike for seating and drink there, too.
The pub would be sent with a pilot who would serve the group.
Eventually, Pontieri said the company would offer a tailgate tour that starts two hours before game time at Intuition Ale Works, travels around the Sports Complex and ends at That Bar at the Arena.
With the additional tours, Pontieri said she plans to add two more bikes by the summer, with a goal of 10 eventually. Pontieri said the two bikes will be leased from Pedal Pub to start, but are around $60,000 to buy.
Pontieri owns a law firm, Carli Law. Her husband, Rick, is a firefighter. She and her ownership group have invested about $80,000 into the company so far.
Theresa Pontieri saw a photo of a Pedal Pub on Facebook and thought Jacksonville needed it to raise its profile and give people something to do while promoting small businesses.
“We’ve got some really cool establishments, but you know, there’s just nothing that gives any of them visibility,” Pontieri said. “So we really wanted to do something that was going to be good for local business that we knew would be fun.”