Red’s brings family history, charm to Walnut Street’

By Karassa Stinchcomb For Clay Today
Posted 11/7/18

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The charm of Green Cove Springs has found its way into its newest business, Red’s Wine Bar, and Clay County residents are partaking of its offerings.

Boyce and Kim Royal …

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Red’s brings family history, charm to Walnut Street’


GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The charm of Green Cove Springs has found its way into its newest business, Red’s Wine Bar, and Clay County residents are partaking of its offerings.

Boyce and Kim Royal opened Red’s Wine Bar in late June, and the couple has been surprised by the community’s support of the bar.

“We have regulars already, and word-of-mouth is spreading like wildfire,” Kim Royal said. “It’s cool to see the growth.”

The couple’s decision to open Reds came after they evaluated their desire to enjoy a glass of wine without having to drive 45 minutes to Jacksonville.

The Royals came up with the idea in January, and in February, took ownership of the space that previously housed G’s BBQ. The couple spent the next few months renovating and decorating the space, which pays homage to Boyce’s grandfather, Boyce “Red” Royal Jr., who lived in Brunswick, Georgia.

“Red” spent some of his life sailing, and his certificate and picture hang on the back wall of the bar. The font and color of Red’s certificate are the same used on the bar’s logo outside. But the name is also a play on words, of sorts, when juxtaposed with the thought of having a glass of red wine.

Located a few blocks from the St. Johns River, at 414 Walnut St., the cobblestone street sets the scene for the maritime theme inside the bar.

Once inside, the scent of gardenia and dewy honeysuckle from a burning Anthropologie Capri Blue Rain candle makes customers feel relaxed as the sound of Ray LaMontagne plays softly in the background.

Maps and pictures of sailboats hang on walls throughout the bar, and two model sailboats sit atop a three-tiered wine rack the Royals built themselves. The neutral colored tables feature a succulent plant, as well as plenty of room for guests to share a charcuterie board and a glass of wine. White and grey chairs help make the brick bar and 10 dark bar stools stand out.

If the decor doesn’t peel away the stress, one of the 45 bottles of wine or 11 craft beers the bar serves, might.

The atmosphere is what sets the bar apart from others. It’s quiet enough to where someone can read a book, but not too quiet guests feel like they have to whisper to each other and thats what customers appreciate most.

“You can hear each other talk and have a conversation,” said Arial Taylor, 41, a funeral director from Fleming Island. “You’re not screaming over everything else.”

In the past, Green Cove Springs residents had to commute to Jacksonville or Orange Park if they wanted to enjoy any kind of nightlife. The bar’s location makes it the perfect spot for a date night, girl’s night out or for someone wanting simply to get out of the house.

Taylor and two of her girlfriends, Jordan Tillis, 47, a pharmacist from Lake Asbury, and Homemaker Kristin Walker, 48, from Green Cove, are happy to have a place so close by where they can get together to catch without having to commute. The trio has been going to the bar since it first opened.

“I like the atmosphere, but more importantly, the owners,” Tills said. “The owners come out and talk to you, so a family-type feel to it.”

Green Cove Springs resident Justin Hall, 34, is one of the owners of Spring Park Coffee just a couple of blocks away and is excited to see another small business succeeding.

“Walnut Street has great potential for local businesses to come, as long as people keep coming and supporting small businesses,” Hall said.

Other small businesses in the city donated some of the art and furniture in Red’s, which does not go unnoticed by patrons.

“I like the way they decorated it,” Walker said. “It goes back to the charm, and small-town feel.”

Adding to the charm is the bar’s variety of the wine and craft beer selection. The couple wanted to stock the shelves with bottles people can’t get from Publix, so they guests have access to wines and beer they normally wouldn’t – 20 whites, 24 reds and one port dessert wine make choosing a glass of wine a little bit easier.

Two more Red’s regulars, Carmen, 43, and William, 50, Darfler from Fleming Island, say they haven’t had a bottle of wine they didn’t enjoy.

“We love coming on Sundays when the wine is 40 percent off Saturday night’s open bottles,” William Darfler said. “We can try different types of wine without spending a lot of money.”

Red’s is quickly becoming “the place to be” not in just Green Cove Springs, but in all of Clay County.

“We want this to be successful because it’s a local family business and it’s what Green Cove needed,” Carmen Darfler said.

The Royals try to interact with patrons to hear their suggestions on how they can make the bar even better. They have plans to expand the menu to more than just charcuterie (cheese) boards to include small plates and desserts and have also worked on adding more wines to the selection.

“We want people to come in and hang out for an hour or two and walk away and say, ‘I had a good time’,” Boyce Royal said.


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