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St. Augustine - Alcazar Courtyard Shops and Café - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

Away from the main pedestrian area of St Augustine are the imposing buildings of Flagler College and the Lightner Museum, the latter of which also doubles up as City Hall with all the usual administrative departments necessary to run the city. Both are situated on King Street, which runs west from SR1 to the Bridge of Lions connecting St Augustine with Anastasia Island.

For this article we are concentrating our attention on the environs surrounding the Lightner Museum and in particular a little gem of a place…the Alcazar Courtyard Shops and Café.

The museum building is set around the lovely courtyard which has well-tended gardens and as its centrepiece boasts a pond area amply stocked with carp spanned by an ornamental but fully functional bridge, which is a favourite place to take photographs. It is a place away from the bustle of St George’s Street, the main thoroughfare of the city, and somewhere to either relax over a coffee, take in a bit a window shopping or just sit awhile and watch the world go by.

Exiting the courtyard towards the rear of the building, a directional sign points the way to the Alcazar Café. Entering through a rather shabby doorway the visitor is transported into a magical world full of history and past glories.

Information boards in the foyer depict the building in its previous life as a Victorian swimming pool measuring some 150 feet long and 50 feet wide complete with diving boards and a trapeze suspended from wooden beams high in the roof void. Today, of course the pool is drained, and a variety of arts and crafts shops now occupy its perimeter walls, but with the sloping floor and trapeze brackets still in evidence it is easy to visualise what it was like in its heyday.

The Alcazar Café is located at the ‘deep end’ and, at the time of our visit, was only open for lunch between 11. 30am and 2. 30pm. It is very much in keeping with its elegant surroundings with linen tablecloths and china crockery. They offer a varied menu to suit all tastes and the staff will be happy to provide customers with a small booklet summarising the building’s history.

Without giving too much away, as well as the swimming pool, a casino once occupied the first floor and a ballroom the second, any more than that I will let you find out for yourselves.

Highly recommended! !

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