Cafe Alcazar in St. Augustine
A Hotel in Florida, from 1887
St. Augustine has more than its share of fabulous old hotels, thanks to Henry Flagler... who built at least 4 gorgeous buildings on this corner. The Hotel Alcazar is no longer a hotel, but we were able to at least have a meal there!
The entrance to the restaurant was on the side, away from the big towers at the front. It looked like we were entering a church, with that rounded wall. But our dining adventure would be more intriguing than dining in an old church.
A Simple Door
The door wasn't grand, but it invited us into the portion of the building that holds the cafe as well as some antique shops.
Nothing too odd sounding about that.
Here's the Odd Part
The sweet little cafe was tucked into the "deep end" of what had once been the hotel's indoor swimming pool! The pool was once quite the highlight of the hotel's health center, where guests could swim in a constant stream of fresh water, supplied by an artesian well.
Built in 1889
It looks like a flooded building at first glance. But this is the 120' X 20' space used by the male bathers. Women had their own private pool at the west end.
Then and Now
The rock wall near the stairs, would have been nearly covered in water.
The gallery on the second floor sometimes held musicians and seating for the guests who just wanted to stay dry while they watched the swimmers.
A Little Sunday Lunch
What a treat to meet up in St. Augustine with my sister Jennifer and her wife Kate, while we were on our travels. We joined up at this curious place and shared a meal... on a very tiny table.
It was nice to have a menu and not be forced into a big brunch. Don's Turkey, Bacon, Avocado Sandwich was pretty yummy.
He thought the Cajun slaw was kind of spicy, but I liked. My onion soup was piping hot and the crusty brown cheese was quite delicious. But hot soup, makes me want bread. It would have been perfect with a big piece.
We didn't have an orchestra, but the classical piano music added a bit of a Titanic feel to the place. Something about seeing those photos of the big space, filled with water...
As we dined and the music played, we just kept staring around at all the oddball features, trying to imagine being here in 1890, paddling around the arches and columns... hanging onto some of the metal rings... Too bad the skylight is no longer visible. They used to open that up for star gazing!
And after lunch, what could be more lovely than strolling through the shops, set up in the spaces behind the columns.
One shop had a dazzling ball gown, that was NOT allowed to be photographed. But this little store was my favorite. Books and magazines and all sorts of clutter jammed in so tight, the shop could only hold about 2 visitors at a time!
The rains from earlier had passed by the time we exited. As we wandered outside, we got to study the towers, the arched windows and so many chimneys! What an amazing building and we really only experienced a piece of it!
I love it that we ate lunch in what was once a pool. But I'd love it more if they brought the hotel back and filled the pool once again!
6/17/2016 01:22:57 pm
loved this hotel! amazing about the pool, glad you included the pic of how it looked then! Looks like a beautiful destination.
6/17/2016 08:51:41 pm
Christy we just need to go to St.Augustine sometime! Such fun history, restaurants and a very grand hotel like this one once was!
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The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.