and light meals
Where: Downstairs, near Islands Dining Room
Price Range: $$
Hours: 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.; "late nite" menu from
Reservations: Not required but available at OpenTable.com
Jake McNally was quite a guy, a sea plane pilot for Royal Pacific Airways who won the “World Series of sea plane racing” in 1927. Jake’s exploits in love were as dismal as his airborne feats were glorious. Dumped by the love of his life, Jake disappeared and is rumored to be flying from one backwater dive to another trying to forget. This bar is a tribute to his memory by his friends, who have donated memorabilia to help decorate the joint. It’s all made up, of course, but this fanciful story forms the basis for one of the most successful themed restaurants in all of Universal Orlando.
The decor is colonial men's club and casual, echoing the open architecture of the South Seas, where any breeze is welcome. In fact, it's worth peeking into Jake's just to marvel at the ceiling fans. Also a great deal of fun is the Jake McNally memorabilia and the framed love letters that grace the walls.
The food is as jaunty as the decor with the accent on casual bar fare that won't overly tax the wallet, another reason Jake's has become so popular with guests. The "Pre-Flight" section of the menu ($9 to $15) consists of appetizer-like nibbles such as volcano shrimp and chicken quesadillas. For veggie lovers there are salads like Caesar and Cobb, with the mixed garden greens a light-bite winner, especially with the ginger soy dressing. Slightly more substantial are the sandwiches and burgers. The most expensive items on the menu are the 10-ounce Sirloin Steak and Slow Roasted BBQ Ribs ($20 each) and the Grilled Florida Grouper ($26).
Of course, Jake's is a bar and dining is not mandatory. Jake's would make an excellent choice for drinks before (or after) dining at Islands. Happy hour is 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Along with the usual, the bartenders here whip up a variety of lethal "South Seas" concoctions with don't-tell-me-I-didn't-warn-you names like Tsunami. Setting new heights for exotic concoctions is the flaming Mt. Kumuneyewanadrinkya, a 32-ounce behemoth with at least eight ounces of rum and other booze lurking in its depths.
If you stop by for a nightcap, you should check out the small outside seating area under the bridge where you can enjoy the lingering warmth of a summer night with a waterfall providing a romantic soundtrack. A limited "late nite" menu ($8 to $13) will take care of those midnight munchies.
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