Last week I had the immense pleasure of visiting the capital city of Florida, Tallahassee! I know what you’re probably thinking (unless you’re from Florida): “Florida? Northern Florida? Like, if you’re going to vacation on Spring Break, at least hit up Miami or something.”
I get it. Tallahassee isn’t exactly a typical vacation destination. The airport is so tiny, you can’t even get a direct flight there. However, my childhood best friend just got a job at a college there, so to Tallahassee I went. I mean, free lodging and the best homies, hello.
Turns out, I judged Florida too soon and too harshly. Tallahassee is a freaking oasis. I had both the best (glitter) manicure and the best cold brew of my entire life there. At The Lucky Goat, they call it “Cold Gold” and BELIEVE me, I’d swap my engagement ring for an IV drip of the stuff.
So, since I’m newly obsessed with this city, I thought I’d share a guide to the best eats, dranks, and activities in the game—plus a killer beach recommendation!
Mango. Wit. I could end the description there and you’d get why this place rules. Located in the Railroad Square art park, Proof is an indoor/outdoor beer garden & brewery (they don’t serve food, but they do sell their beer in growlers to go!) It has classy/minimalist warehouse vibes and an astroturfed patio with cornhole and bocce! Also–cute bartenders. I’d be a bad reporter if I failed to mention this important detail. If I lived in Tallahassee, I’d be a regular for sure. And if you go? Get a flight. Trust me, you’re going to want to try as many of their beers as possible.
Must try: Mango Wit, Creatures in the Dark Porter, La La Land IPA
Pizza. Whiskey. The end. Two establishments sharing one building, and my heart. I had my first ever mint julep here, and some of the dopest pizza in the game. We, um, spent a liiiiittle more time on the Warhorse side (which was playing 90’s alt-rock/my spirit music) which has a sparse warehouse-y vibe with a graffiti-esque logo. I tried to convince Sarah that there was a connection between the space (warehouse) and the name (Warhorse) but I was brutally rebuffed by her superior intellect. I was trying way too hard for a pun.
Must try: The Foxy Cleopatra. It’s a hummus pizza, you guys. And Templeton Rye, neat.
Catalina has a special place in my heart. Not only because it’s named after a California island and has major surf-shop vibes, but because it was there that I was introduced to my favorite drink of all time: mazagran. The coffee drink originated in Algeria has many variations, but the one they serve is the Portuguese version: lemonade & cold brew. That’s it. It is liquid magic. It somehow tastes like lemon iced tea and chocolate at the same time. Catalina (the Garages on Gaines location, that is) is another indoor/outdoor establishment (damn Floridians and their stupid good weather in WINTER).
Must try: Mazagran!
I mentioned this gem of a café/roastery above, and let me tell you, it is worth the shout-out. We only got to go here once, since it’s separated from the area that we predominantly spent time in, but its killer coffee and super sweet barista really left an impression on me! I bought a pound of their freshly-roasted coffee which I can’t wait to brew up for the bae.
Must try: Cold Gold
Now, this is the cool kid bar. Like, DJ with a MacBook, hot bartender cool kid bar. We stayed here waaaaaay too long my first night in town, but had some amazing drinks and Rihanna dance parties on the way. I had a drink called a Biergarita here, so clearly it’s a pretty legit establishment. The food seemed amazing too! Can’t wait to go back and try it!
Must try: The West Bank. It’s Sauvignon Blanc and St. Germain. Trust.
How do I even begin to describe Nefetari’s? I guess it’s like if you put a bunch of drunk vegans inside one of the pyramids of Giza? The décor is definitely Egyptian/Eastern inspired, but the food is, shall we say, eclectic? You can get jerk chicken, burritos, curry, samosas, and vegan mac n cheese in the same place. Heaven on Earth. I had a Hula-peño margarita (jalapeño & pineapple) and curry pasta primavera with tofu. My mouth was pretty confused, but also delighted. Nefetari’s definitely wins for best omni/veggie options.
Must try: The house-made ginger juice stuff. It’s liquid crack. And samosas.
We had hungover breakfast here on Saturday, and it did NOT disappoint. Vegetarian mushroom gravy, biscuits, and an overeasy eggs (the vegetarian Ralphie, FYI). And sweet potato fries, let’s get real. They also have Maple Tap, which is one of the most heavenly coffees I’ve ever tasted (and BOTTOMLESS REFILLS, Y’ALL!) Instead of taking our names for our order, they asked us to name a favorite band. We said Belle & Sebastian, because high school. Some of the others shouted out were The Roots and Lake Street Dive. Clearly, we were there with other kindreds.
Grain & The Fermentation Lounge
The Fermentation Lounge is a local Tally craft beer bar with an adjoining restaurant called Grain on All Saints St. We didn’t actually hang at the Fermentation Lounge, but we ate at Grain and had one of the Lounge’s amazing beers. Great eats, great drinks—an all-around win!
Must try: Beer cheese fondue and the red wine beer. I don’t remember the name of it, but trust me, it was a revelation.
Tacospeak was walkable from my friend’s apartment. I would gain a million pounds! I ordered 2 “Hipsters” and I kid you not, there is FRIED CHEESE inside of there! If you live in or near Tally and you don’t go to Tacospeak regularly, you have failed me and I disown you. The end.
Nail Bar is not false advertising. There was booze there! We were way too hungover to take advantage of the complimentary mimosas, but what a way to spend an afternoon waiting for your rental car to become available! I got fucking glitter nails. Not a glitter polish. The nail tech poured actual glitter on my nails. It was extreme. I’m never taking it off. All gold everything. Best manicure experience of my LIFE.
Must try: A glitter manicure. Best $40 I have ever spent.
This beach makes Massachusetts beaches look like pond scum. I mean, they are pretty garbage but until you hit the Gulf Coast, you don’t really know, you know?
Houses line the shoreline, and they are the orange sherbet houses of my DREAMS. Sarah and I briefly considered not going back to Tally and just working coffee shop jobs on SGI. White sands forever.
Must try: Grouper from the Blue Parrot (a beachside restaurant). Disclaimer: I think fish is vile and don’t understand why people eat it, but if you’re into that sort of thing, this is a local fave that is served in tacos!! Also, FYI the Blue Parrot has a live cam of the beach! Daydreamers beware!
Other awesome things about Tally: La Croix is readily available everywhere, you can buy beer at the grocery store, and the Uber drivers are all amazing and mostly dads.
So, Floridians, did I miss anything? I’m obsessed with your city and can’t wait to go back!
**All photos taken on my iPhone 6 and edited with A Color Story unless otherwise noted.