We invited one of our favorite gents, photographer Dave Miller, to step in front of the camera as his Maven Photo + Film creative partner documented him at some of the best spots in Ocala for a guys’ day out.
From a laid-back night on the square to a bit of friendly competition on the golf course, we’ve compiled some of the best opportunities for some serious male bonding. Our Mr. Miller went all in at a few noteworthy spots around town and shares some of his personal favorites to help you plan your perfect itinerary.
Knock a Few Back
First up, Miller and his pal Anthony Ortiz, a captain with Ocala Fire Rescue, checked out the offerings at Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar located on the square in the heart of downtown Ocala. It’s the perfect spot to grab a drink and a bite to eat with the fellas. Featuring a selection of more than 250 whiskeys, inventive craft cocktails and a menu full of great Southern dishes including, barbecue smoked in-house, this hotspot has a stylish vibe and all the right ingredients to satisfy your many cravings.
Downtown Ocala also boasts some other exceptional watering holes, from the chic scene at Bank Street Patio Bar & Grill and The Courtyard on Broadway to the tried-and-true and newcomers on the scene: Pi on Broadway, The Tipsy Skipper, The Keep Downtown, The Lodge and The Black Sheep on Broadway.
If you want a secretive speakeasy lounge experience that will transport you back to the Roaring ‘20s, there are two cool downtown contenders. The Anti-Monopoly Drug Store (located behind the bookcase inside The Lodge) is open Thursday through Saturday from 8pm to close. The Thirsty Cobbler (accessed through a side door of Ivy on the Square marked Shhh…) is open 7:30pm to close. Both hideaways require a password to get your Prohibition-style drink, so check their Facebook pages.
Other more offbeat spots that rank high with locals and visitors alike are MAE Beer & Tapas, offering delicious bar food and a wide selection of beer, and The Crazy Cucumber, featuring live music, game nights and karaoke.
Another popular spot for gettin’ your drink on is The Depot Restaurant & Speakeasy between Micanopy and McIntosh. Located in a historic train station built in 1881, the environment is fun and good vibes abound. The menu features unique custom-blended cocktails, microbrews and tasty bar fare, including hand-tossed pizzas, calzones and wings. There is an outside deck and the venue offers live music on weekends.
Play a Round
With more than 15 public and semi-private golf courses located in Marion County, golf is an ideal activity for a guys’ day out. We let Miller practice his swing at Ocala Golf Club, a well-known municipal course that is part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail and one of the best in Ocala. It features an 18-hole, par-72 golf course along with a clubhouse, golf shop and restaurant, the 19th Hole Grill Room.
Cue the Action
After visiting Brick City Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar, Miller climbed the stairs to Downtown Billiards. This roomy and relaxed pool hall has a friendly vibe and features 14 regulation-size pool tables, a private pool room, dart boards and a full bar. Along with hosting the American Poolplayers Association league on Tuesdays and amateur handicapped 9-ball tournaments on Wednesdays, Downtown Billiards is also a great hangout for mixed martial arts and boxing watch parties.
Boulevard Billiards on East Silver Springs Boulevard is another great option, featuring 18 pool tables, weekly tournaments, bar fare and nightly drink specials. Cornhole is played on Wednesday, making for a fun midweek night out.
Take a Jab
You can get a serious workout at the 12 Rounds Boxing gym. The spacious training facility offers daily boxing, jiujitsu and kickboxing classes, and hosts sanctioned and unsanctioned fights. 12 Rounds Boxing has produced several nationally ranked boxers, but all classes are beginner-friendly.
The Ocala Boxing Academy is another cool option, offering a variety of classes that incorporate traditional aspects of boxing, fitness and mixed martial arts, all open to beginners.
For Miller, an ideal day always includes getting outdoors. Whether taking a motorcycle ride or off-roading on dirt bikes and four-wheelers, one of his favorite spots is the Ocala National Forest. He also highly recommends longboarding at the Cross Florida Greenway.
Follow Dave’s adventures on Instagram at @dmiller1023
We’d love to get your ideas for a great guys’ day out, so post a picture and tag us on social or leave a comment on our Facebook page with your suggestions.