An Interview With The Volstead's Alexa DiMaio

January 1, 2014 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville's Kristen Pickrell sits down with Alexa DiMaio for an interview about Downtown Jacksonville's new prohibition-style bar, The Volstead.

The following responses are a result of a brief Q&A session with Alexa DiMaio, one of the few faces leading the opening of Jacksonville’s new prohibition-style bar, The Volstead. The opening of the Volstead is a collaboration among friends to revitalize this historic era in Jacksonville and bring a new, funky twist to the downtown bar scene.

The Volstead seems like it will be a unique addition to the Jacksonville area. What made you decide on a Prohibition-style lounge? Is there any particular history falling out of Jacksonville during the Prohibition movement?
"The era has always interested us. What’s not to love about style, sophistication, art, and the dawn of a new age? Jacksonville had a huge impact in that period due to the abundance of alcohol that passed through our ports, in addition, one of the biggest bootleggers in the country operated just off our shores. Prohibition aside, the 1920’s was an extremely prosperous time overall for our nation and we hope to bring that same enthusiasm to the revitalization of downtown Jacksonville."
Tell me a little bit of the history behind the business.
"Samuel Linn, Devon Nolan, and Matthew Williams met in the kitchen of a downtown restaurant almost two years ago. Sick of the monotony of a never changing, uninspired routine, that is the standard American restaurant and bar, these guys along with the help of a friend or two, decided to try to build something different. With the willingness and dedication to constantly change, recreate, and reinvent our definition of what is good, they reveal The Volstead and strive to put back the class in classic."
Have you faced any major complications trying to get this project going?
"Restoring a historic building comes with its own set of challenges to say the least. However, nothing worthwhile comes easily."
Where will the Volstead be opening up, and why there?
"115 West Adams Street. We are in the beautiful and historic W.A. Knight building built in 1921 still boasting its original brick and wood beams. We feel that this setting is best for reliving this timeless era.”
What are the visions for the future of this location, and the business as a whole?
“We hope to continue to thrive and serve our patrons as well as the growing downtown population.”
What sort of drinks will The Volstead feature? Is there talk of serving food? Providing entertainment?
“We plan to serve Jazz age cocktails, our version of their contemporary counterparts, as well as some of our own creations. We also plan to use the freshest ingredients, from local growers (whenever possible). At the present moment there are plans to neither serve food nor provide live entertainment. However on Mondays, we will feature classic films that will be projected onto a screen in our lounge area. As young entrepreneurs we intend to keep our focus small, but who knows what the future holds.”
Do you plan to bottle or distribute any products?

“No. We plan on putting all of our focus on our patrons experience while inside the bar.”
And how will The Volstead differentiate itself from other local competitors?
“We believe the key is to combine all of the qualities we admire and enjoy about the other bars in Jacksonville, while adding our own unique spin on things.  We intend to wow our customers with quality hand crafted cocktails served in a lavish environment. With elegant, classy décor, a subtle, intimate ambiance, and a strong historical presence superb customer service is always our top priority.”

Interview by Kristen Pickrell

The Volstead is located at 115 West Adams St, Jacksonville, Florida 32202. For more information, visit: