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Photograph: Visit OrlandoMathers Social Gathering drinks and appetizer bar in downtown Orlando.
Photograph: Visit OrlandoMathers Social Gathering drinks and appetizer bar in downtown Orlando.

The 11 best bars in Orlando right now

From swanky wine bars and craft cocktail lounges to local breweries, the best bars in Orlando offer a little bit of everything

Written by Megan duBois in association with TD Bank
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It's common knowledge that the best bars focus on high-quality ingredients from local purveyors, employ some of the most knowledgeable mixologists in the state, and offer an atmosphere that makes you want to hang up your hat and stay a while. And the best bars in Orlando are no exception. 

Spread across the city with locations in hip neighborhoods, historic downtowns, and even a few inside the gates of the Walt Disney theme parks, the best bars in Orlando offer a little bit of everything – from swanky wine bars and craft cocktail lounges to local breweries and even some unique themed bars (yes, there is a tiki bar on this list). So if you're looking for night out that includes a tequila bar that focuses on premium spirits and creative margarita flavors — just read on. More into a local brewery making fantastic seasonal beers? This list has that too. Orlando has a drink for every imbiber. 

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Best bars in Orlando

Housed in a historic building in the heart of downtown Orlando (it's been on Magnolia Street since 1894!), Mathers Social Gathering is where dapper bartenders shake up drinks made with small-batch spirits and house-made cordials, bitters and syrups. The bar is known for Prohibition-era specialities like bathtub gin — a surprisingly creamy drink made with Brokers gin, ground lavender, honey simple syrup, lemon and half-and-half.

 

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  • Downtown Orlando

Housed in another historic setting – completed in the 1880s, the building might just be the oldest in downtown Orlando – Hanson's Shoe Repair serves craft cocktails inside and outside on the patio. Be warned: You will need the daily password to enter, but it can be acquired through social media, or by calling or texting the bar. Hanson’s is very committed to its speakeasy theme, so phones and photos are not permitted. Let this be a lesson in how people had fun before iPhones existed. 

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Tequila lovers in Orlando should make their way to an unusual destination: EPCOT at Walt Disney World. Inside you'll find La Cava del Tequila. The name roughly translates to the tequila cellar, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the perpetual darkness. The small-but-mighty bar features a variety of margaritas like its signature avocado, or a frozen concoction of blackberries and lime created by Neil Patrick Harris. La Cava also boasts more than 200 different types of tequila to sample. True connoisseurs will enjoy The Agave Experience, which partners you with a tequila expert to guide you through trying some of the most renowned tequilas in the world. Yum. 

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  • Downtown Orlando

The first real craft cocktail bar in Orlando, The Courtesy serves seasonal drinks from a menu that changes three times a year. Many of the drinks at The Courtesy are absinth or whiskey based, and include small-batch bitters and vermouth. Those looking to upgrade their cocktail making game at home can take a cocktail making class at the bar every first and third Saturday of the month. The class includes everything you need to make three full-sized cocktails as well as personalized direction from one of the bartenders.

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  • Bars
  • Colonialtown North

Just on the outskirts of downtown, this craft cocktail bar is known for its fantastic happy hour, which runs from 4pm to 8pm daily, when everything on the menu is half off. The dink list runts the gamut from creative to classic coktails, the vibe is laid back, and when it’s time for a bit to eat, many of Orlando’s top food trucks can be found outside. 

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  • Colonialtown North

Wine Bar George at Disney Springs boasts a curated list of over 140 wines by the ounce, glass or bottle. Each of the servers are uber-knowledgeable and can suggest a pairing with food or make you a flight of wine based on your answers to a few simple questions. The food is just as impressive, and includes sharable plates and charcuterie boards. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot resident Master Sommelier George Miliotes, who can sometimes be seen pouring wine and greeting guests.

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  • Bars
  • Greater Orlando

When you walk into Aku Aku Tiki Bar you’ll instantly be transported back to the 1960s. The menu is filled with classic rum-based tiki libations and the bar shelves are filled with kitschy decorations that make you want to sit and stay a while so you can soak it all in. If you’re headed here with a group, consider getting the Volcano Bowl: 32 ounces of six different rums and exotic juices, as well as a dose of 151.

Chroma in Lake Nona is known for its seasonal cocktail menu and handcrafted sodas. The bar is warm and welcoming and many of the cocktails pair well with the eclectic food menu that includes sharable plates and appetizers from all kinds of cuisines (tacos, pad Thai, pasta, ribs and curry fried chicken all bump elbows on the menu). Opt for the refreshing Bottled Sunshine, which mixes lemon, orange and tangerine juices with Solerno blood orange liqueur and Reyka vodka and is served in a bottle.

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  • Bars
  • Downtown Orlando

As you would expect, Player 1 filled with arcade games, but it's actually the drink menu that most impresses here with 36 beers on tap, 150 international and local bottles, 40 ciders, 15 different meads and a handful of sakes. $5 cover charge gets you unlimited access to the rotating selection of classic arcade cabinets and consoles from every era — a great deal when you consider how long it's goiung to take you to sample everything you want to on the menu. 

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  • Orwin Manor

This local brewery is run by the same team that own the next door restaurant, The Ravenous Pig. The craft beer spot has year-round staples like Lone Palm golden ale and the Working Man porter, as well as a rotating selection of seasonal and limited-edition beers. You'll also find their selections at a number of pig-themed eateries, like The Polite Pig at Disney Springs and Cask and Larder at the Orlando International Airport. If you like what you taste, purchase a growler to take home with you.

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Winter Garden is home to Crooked Can Brewing Company inside the Plant Street Market. Crooked Can specializes in four different kinds of beer — American IPA, lager, amber ale and hefeweizen —as well as offering a rotating selection of seasonal and small-batch beers. If you’re feeling adventurous be sure to opt for the brewer's choice selections, which is usually a one-off brew that combines different flavors to make something more unique than a standard pale ale or IPA. The brewery also offers tours every Sunday from noon to 4 pm where you can learn about the process of making beer then try a glass of the local brews. 

In the mood for a wilder night out?

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