Bars

Grabbing a Drink in Orlando — 5 Places Not to Miss

Where are cool, authentic spots to grab a beer in Orlando?

#1 – Imperial Bar (inside Washborn Imports)

Washborn Imports / Imperial Bar is a foreign furniture store with a great outside beer garden area. The twinkle lights glimmer at night and there are many intimate corners you can sit in with friends. We love the cool furniture that you can enjoy (but never afford to actually purchase.) It’s about 6 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Find it:
1800 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 228-4992

(Just beer & wine, no cocktails. Light snacks available, and Monday usually a food truck parks outside.)

If you’re near North Orlando, Imperial opened another bar in Sanford— and they’ve got tasty prohibition era style cocktails! It’s such a cool, classy place. Same idea where you have cocktails amongst amazing furniture.

Find it:
116 E 1st St, Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 732-6956

(Beer, wine AND cocktails at this location. They let you order snacks from neighboring food spots. Closed Sunday & Monday.)

Imperial Beer & Wine - Enjoy a tasty beer among eclectic international furniture

Imperial Beer & Wine – Enjoy a tasty beer among eclectic international furniture


#2 – Courtsey

The Courtesy Bar is a classy downtown Orlando favorite. It’s small but posh. The velvet couches line up in the narrow and deep bar. The bartenders are knowledgeable and intuitive with their cocktails. The blood and sand is terrific. Love the vintage glassware. It gets crazy on the weekends, but it’s more chilled and fun on Sunday nights.

Find it:
14 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 450-2041

The Courtesy Bar - Classy Downtown Orlando Cocktails

The Courtesy Bar – Classy Downtown Orlando Cocktails


#3 – Redlight Redlight

Redlight Redlight was once a low key Orlando spot, now it’s becoming a bit of a hipster mecca. But understandably so, it’s got a good vibe and great beer. Oh, the plum beer, the seaweed beer, so many delectable ones I’ve tried there. It’s fun, it’s got high ceilings in the new location about 10 minutes from downtown where they reopened, and it feels a little more “city-esque” I’d say. (You’ll see the entire Urban Outfitters catalog modeled on the sever girls.)

When they do the cask tapping, beers are especially icy & delicious. No food, but pizza is walkable distance from there.

Find it:
2810 Corrine Dr
Orlando, FL 32803
Phone number (407) 893-9832

Redlight, Redlight - One of the best beer joints in Orlando.

Redlight, Redlight – One of the best beer joints in Orlando.


#4 – Ravenous Pig

Ravenous Pig‘s bar is also a great option. My current favorite cocktail there is the Bicyclette—a divine Cappelletti and Italian wine creation. (I’ll always be devoted to the classic Dauville here too.) Man alive, they just know how to put ingredients together. And since this place is chef-owned and seasonal, everything is influenced by new ingredients grown or discovered lately. (i.e. if you find something you love, photograph it because you might have to remind the bartender what was in it 5 months later.)

Find it:
1234 N Orange Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 628-2333

The Ravenous Pig — more than an amazing restaurant, it's great for beer & cocktails too

The Ravenous Pig — more than an amazing estaurant, it’s great for beer & cocktails too


#5 – Hanson’s Shoe Repair

See my other article for details on Hanson’s. This speakeasy has a terrific vibe with a rooftop garden. Drinks are divine & always changing.

Find it:
27 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 649-0000
(inside NV Bar)

Hanson's Speakeasy Bar - Orlando, FL

Hanson’s Speakeasy Bar – Orlando, FL


Honorable mentions go to: 

  • Stardust (usually I frequent this during coffee & lunch hours.)
  • The Matador (quiet, but fun if you bring your own crowd.)
  • Can’t forget outside Eden Bar at Enzian Theater, but it’s a little hot outside sometimes (a true Florida experience!)

Word to the wise: World of Beer has several locations in Orlando. Shoot yourself first. They’re swamped with corporate banker types who get drunk and loudly yell about their mergers and money. The Lake Mary one is especially awful. Three bad experiences were enough—I have never left without some idiot dumping his beer on me.

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