For Mandarin area residents, a craft beer option closer to home could be open by mid-September.
If the zoning request is approved July 18 by the Jacksonville Planning Commission, owner Joe Byrns will open Jax Craft Beer, a draft and bottle shop.
It will serve 32 beers on tap, wines and sell crowlers, growlers and bottles to go.
Byrns said the shop will offer local beers as well as ones from other parts of the state or country that can be harder to find in Jacksonville.
Byrns, a former teacher who works at an instructional design company, leased space at 9825 San Jose Blvd. in Mandarin Outback Plaza.
With eight restaurants in the plaza, Byrns said the location was ideal.
The bar won’t serve food, but will allow customers to bring their own. Byrns said he eventually wants to partner with restaurants in the plaza to deliver to the bar.
He and his wife have lived in Mandarin for two years and often have to travel to the Beaches, San Marco or Downtown to find a better selection of beer options.
“We realized there’s nothing in this area,” Byrns said. “Legacy just opened up and Wicked Barley just opened up and we love them, but they only serve their own beer. So we wanted to have a good selection down here where we live.”
They’ve heard the same from those they’ve told about the idea.
“Usually their response is ‘Mandarin really needs that, there’s nothing like that out in Mandarin,’” he said. “So we’re hoping it’s going to do as well as they’re saying it will.”
As far as the zoning request, Byrns said he doesn’t anticipate there will be an issue. He’s worked with a zoning consultant and sought advice from breweries in town that have gone through the same process.
He’ll also reach out to the schools and churches within the radius to explain the concept and that it won’t be “just a rowdy bar,” but more of a relaxed space to play games and enjoy a beer with friends.
“We’re not trying to become millionaires on this,” he said. “It would be great if we would, but we’re not trying to take over the world. We just want to have a place where people can come enjoy some good beer.”