Downtown businesses hoping for financial boom from Jacksonville Jaguars draft

Several businesses in downtown Jacksonville are hosting parties to watch the NFL draft on Thursday.

Some spots are staying open later than normal to host fans, including Bold City Brewery.

“We’re going to stay open till 10 p.m.,” Jeremy Baker said. “We’re hoping for people to come after the concert or come and sit and watch the draft here.”

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Baker is the Head Brewer at Bold City, but he’s also a huge Jags fanatic.

“I’m just hoping they don’t break my heart this year,” Baker said.

2020 was a tough year — football-wise and financially. The pandemic really hit businesses hard, especially those that strictly serve alcohol.

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“It was a totally different fan experience,” Jim Webb, General Manager at Manifest Distillery, said. “Because of that, less fans, we had less foot traffic down here for the games and all that.”

Webb said production was temporarily halted in 2020 because of the COVID-19 shutdown and restrictions on selling alcohol. He thinks with more coming downtown (fingers crossed Trevor Lawrence!) businesses will have a shot at getting back to normal.

“I think we’re going to start strong,” Baker said. “We’ll see where the rest of the draft takes us.”