- Aimee Vitek
If you've spent at least one summer in Orlando, you know we do it different. Get outside and play? Whatevs. It's A/C and ice cubes we're all craving, but when we do go outside, misting fans and open water are key. Meeting up for a drink in Central Florida's humid funk can be a challenge – especially when you're assaulted on all sides (asphalt, sun rays, your alcohol-flushed cheeks) by heat. The trick is to find a place that makes it easy to find your buzz while still providing relief from all that extra summertime we get. For those days when you'd do just about anything for a cold one, here are some sweet spots to get your drink on this summer.
Latitudes Rise above the hanging humidity on Church Street: Climb the stairs to the rooftop bar where misting fans and fresh air are in plentiful supply. Practice aerial people-watching, down the cold stuff on Saturday nights with 3-4-1s from 10:30-11:30 p.m. and 2-4-1s every night from 8 p.m. until doors close. If you're starved, the rooftop bar grills up burgers for just a buck each during Friday's happy hour. (33 W. Church St., 407-649-4270)
Pat O'Briens CityWalk is generally a good place to be on summer weeknights, with plenty of outdoor seating, misting fans and waterspouts built into the pavement for an easy run-through if you're sweltering. Pat O'Brien's has arguably the strongest drinks at CityWalk, and the outdoor patio is walled up but open to the night sky, and quiet enough for conversation. (Universal Studios CityWalk, 6000 Universal Blvd., 407-224-2106)
Crawdaddy's Two words: swimming pool. Order a bucket, peel off some layers and jump in. The former Captain's Cove restaurant and bar overlooks the mouth of Lake Monroe in Sanford, so there's a decent breeze blowing off the water. If you've got a boat, you can park at the marina and walk right up to your table. (4380 Carraway Place, Sanford, 407-322-7575)
Relax Grill Now that our own "fountain of couth" has been reborn, drinkers have something to gaze at as they lounge under the shade of Lake Eola Park's oaks enjoying beer and wine at Relax Grill. They've outfitted the place with huge fans and equally impressive drink deals on most nights, including a Friday-night $10 blowout on all-you-care-to-drink drafts or wine. (211 Eola Parkway, 407-425-8440)
Red Parrot Pool Bar Out of all the hotels in the area, the Doubletree Hilton's got the best setup for full-service cocktailing. It's a frozen-drink paradise with fab food, pretty hotel guests parading in bikinis, and water features galore. Wanna get high? The second-floor patio looks out over Sea World and has a great breeze on most nights. (10100 International Drive, 407-352-1100)
Plus 10 more options for super-cooled summer drinking …
By Jessica Bryce Young
The Hideaway: 516 Virginia Drive, 407-898-5892
NASCAR, fried fish sandwiches, white plastic lawn chairs — Florida summer in a nutshell.
Hollerbach's Willow Tree Café: 205 E. First St., Sanford,
Nothing says summer like men in shorts – leather shorts – pumping accordions and exhorting you to drink a glass boot full of beer.
Ember: 42 W. Central Blvd., 407-849-5200
The Sunday-afternoon Surrender patio party brings out girls who like boys who like boys.
Miller's Ale House: 477 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, 407-331-6611
Plenty of TVs tuned to ESPN so you can watch other people sweating, and huge fans to blow your hair back.
Stardust Video & Coffee: 1842 E. Winter Park Road,
Eclectic beer selection; handmade cocktails; the strongest cold-brewed iced coffee in town; ample bike parking.
903 Mills Market: 903 S. Mills Ave., 407-898-4392
Their misting system might frizz up your blowout, but damn it makes patio drinking comfortable.
Graffiti Junktion: 900 E. Washington St., 407-426-9502
Raucous patio scene overlooking Thornton Park's centerpiece fountain. Re-create La Dolce Vita! (Don't do that, you'll get a ticket.)
Eden Bar: 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-629-0054
Top-notch creative cocktails + Bill Plympton's gorgeous mural of the Garden of Eden = you might find yourself sinning.
Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden: 1800 N. Orange Ave., 407-228-4992
Sip champagne, wine and beer in a miniature jewel box of a garden hung with twinkle lights.
Hillstone's: 215 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-740-4005
The former Houston's is still a great place for a sunset date night, with a romantic firepit and lakeside deck seating.