West Inn Cantina's 40th Anniversary

Bars come and go in Jacksonville, but a few remain, serving generations of their customers and reaching iconic status, in and sometimes out of their neighborhoods. West Inn Cantina and Package Store is one such legendary local watering hole. In fact, West Inn will be celebrating it’s 40th anniversary on June 19th.
Avondale’s favorite neighborhood bar is both a package liquor store and a bar. Inside the bar half, it’s Southwestern themed, with room on the patio if you don’t want a table or bar stool inside. It’s not fancy, which is probably part of the appeal, but it is well-loved.
Before it became West Inn Cantina and Liquor Store, it was first named Hayes Liquor and it was located across the street from its current location on St. Johns Street. When it was moved, the name was changed to Monty’s West Inn Cantina and Package Store, which is why the bar is known colloquially as Monty’s. Monty never owned the joint, but he was a beloved manager. Massey-Dodge was the actual owner. It was also managed during this time by Bill Davis of the Bill Davis trio. In 1970 the current owner’s father, who had a little liquor store retail experience and had retired from owning a Krispy Kreme, decided to buy West Inn while his son was away at college. When his father fell ill, Nick Spofford came to Jacksonville to help run things. Eventually he bought his father out and owns the business today. His son, Nicki and his wife Linda also work at the Cantina, so it’s definitely a family-run business. Three generations of Spoffords have worked at the bar and liquor store.
It’s not just the owners who are multi-generational. There are customers who met at West Inn, got married and now their adult children frequent the bar. Owner Nick Spofford says that they’ve been around so long that they’ve even got grandkids of customers coming in.
West Inn recently went through some changes. They no longer serve their Southwestern menu. The change is linked to the economy and road construction. And though we are sad to see the menu go, for many it’s a comfortable change, because it’s the way the bar used to be. With less food being sold (they have a very limited bar menu), West Inn is now back to being a smoker-friendly neighborhood bar.
The focus on live entertainment is definitely a draw these days. They’ve instituted a Monday night karaoke which has been surprisingly popular, given the night of the week. On Wednesday they still have the longest continuously running open mic in the area. Friday they feature local bands such as the Witch Doctors, Rocko Blue, Little Green Men and Lorenzo and the All-Stars
Come help West Inn Cantina celebrate their 40th on June 19th. The festivities feature the Mr. Natural band, giveaways, specials and more!