819 E. Washington St., 407-423-3060, facebook.com/thefalconbar
When this little corner bar/gallery opened in 2011, it threw all the rules about how to “do” bar nights out the window – anything goes at the Falcon, from PBR-inspired art shows to parties celebrating the release of the Taco Bell Doritos Locos taco to dark-wave music nights where Joy Division, not Deadmau5, is on heavy rotation.
Frank & Steins
150 S. Magnolia Ave., 407-412-9230, frankandsteins.com
Frank & Steins is the perfect craft beer bar for average people who like regular bars but want above-average beer. It’s stocked with games, billiards, shuffleboard and more, and there’s tons of beer to choose from – more than 330 craft beers, plus wine, sake and food.
The Hourglass Brewery
255 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood, 407-262-0056, thehourglassbrewery.com
Hourglass Brewery packs their tiny taproom thanks to a vigorous cycle of sours, stouts and other acts of brewing whimsy. New beers are added on Mondays, and on Tuesdays you can sample drafts for just 50 cents.
The Gnarly Barley
7431 S. Orange Ave., 407-854-4999, thegnarlybarley.com
This roadhouse serves great food and drink. This pub features 16 beers on tap and a menu full of hangover preventers (or cures).
Keg ’n’ Cork
1566 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 407-951-8706, facebook.com/kncwp
This bar opened in the space that used to be the Winter Park Saloon (and before that, McRaney’s Tavern), and it promises to serve the finest in microbrews and boutique wines. Beers on offer are often posted to Facebook, and the live music, trivia nights and UCF Knights viewing parties also on tap here make for excellent drinking companions.
1036 N. Mills Ave., willspub.org
For the most part, you can expect to go in there, nestle into a booth with faux lanterns and order your drinks in a cozy environment where you’re not necessarily screaming over the band to have a conversation with your drinking buddies. But, on select nights, the bar becomes a venue for mostly smaller scale shows, like string bands, jazz solos and one-man bands.
The Milk Bar
2424 E. Robinson St.
For affordable availability, it’s hard to beat the Milk District. Multi-page menus of sub-$5 beers, nightly specials and DIY board-game entertainment at Milk Bar mean you can try several new beers for less than $10 and remember you’re a badass at Connect Four.
Mount Dora Brewing
405 S. Highland St., Mount Dora, 352-406-2924, mountdorabrewing.com
The New York Times name-checked this little brewery, about 45 minutes from downtown Orlando, as one of the area’s notable craft-beer spots. Unique beers are brewed on site and served alongside a full menu and live music in the Rocking Rabbit Tap Room.
Nona Tap Room
9145 Narcoossee Road, 407-440-4594, nonataproom.com
People out in Lake Nona need their food and bev too, y’all. This biz has more than 50 beers on tap and another 50 in bottles (not to mention a wine and cocktail menu). This is where you’ll find a lot of Disney castmembers taking in some much-deserved R&R as they gather to watch the game.
5101 E. Colonial Drive, 407-802-4800, obliviontaproom.com
One of the city’s better beer bars sits, unexpectedly, on a forgettable strip of Colonial Drive, with 40 beers on tap and more available by the bottle – but the meaty bar bites, inventive burgers especially, are what set this place apart from the rest.
1301 Atlanta Ave., 407-872-1117, orlandobrewing.com
This organic brewery offers 24 taps, most of which serve their own fresh-brewed organic craft beer. Some wines and ciders also available, for those who – dare we say it? – don’t like beer. Shadowboxes of Florida Brewing Festival medals aplenty hang by the front door.
Player 1 Video Game Bar
8562 Palm Pkwy, 407-504-7521, player1orlando.com
Our gaming friends all seem to agree – Player 1 is the best place in town that combines drinking and gaming. In addition to coin-op arcade and pinball machines, the bar features gaming systems from every era – X-Boxes and Nintendo 64s and Ataris and Sega Genesis and just about anything else you can think of. In addition, it serves a pretty kickass collection of craft brews, alongside a list of wines and ciders, as well as energy drinks for the designated drivers.
Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour
2810 Corrine Drive, 407-893-9832, redlightredlightbeerparlour.com
Orlando’s much-lauded and cornucopia-est craft beer spot has to clear room for yet another placard, this time landing on Draft Magazine’s 2013 list of prima American beer bars. Redlight Redlight grew from a small Winter Park boutique into the 23-draft, 250+ bottle wonderland on Corrine Drive today. First-timers, don’t be afraid to ask a knowledgeable bartender for a beer rec.
The Rogue Pub
3076 Curry Ford Road, 407-985-3778
Rogue Pub is new on the city’s craft-beer scene, but it’s already become a fun, rollicking neighbhorhood staple along Curry Ford Road, serving more than 300 craft beers and 20 different wines. The friendly, laid-back vibe makes it a fave hang in this Conway ‘hood.
Tap & Grind
59 W. Central Blvd., 407-455-1100, tapandgrind.com
If craft beer is an art, Tap & Grind is the graffiti artist that tags it and makes it better. Their rotating selection of beers filtered through extra ingredients like vanilla beans and berries is great, but actually talking about beer styles to a knowledgeable (and not snobby) staff member is a sure-fire way to consume multiple rounds without noticing.
The Thirsty Topher
1609 Alden Road, facebook.com/thethirstytopher
It’s common to keep your cold ones in a separate fridge in the garage, but this new addition to Ivanhoe Village is actually a converted garage, door and all. Two buddies joined forces and have painstakingly renovated what was once a concrete box, into a warm and inviting oasis along the Alden warehouse row. Sure to be a hit with the welders, artists and craftspeople in that neighborhood before/after your usual happy hour.
World of Beer
3402 Technological Ave., 321-235-9741; 7800 Dr. Phillips Blvd., 407-355-3315; 155 Cranes Roost Blvd., Altamonte Springs, 407-834-2337, wobusa.com
This Tampa-based craft-beer chain now has three franchise locations in Orlando, and they all have one very important thing in common: They are temples to craft beer. Tons of changing drafts, walls of coolers full of enough bottled beer to drown an elephant and a laid-back, friendly environment in which to consume it.
Yellow Dog Eats
1236 Hempel Ave., 407-296-0609, yellowdogeats.com
Everyone loves this converted country store with its bit of upscale hippy vibe. It simultaneously calms and inspires you once you shuffle in the front doors. Most people head here to sample the food menu, but the beer selection is fairly brag-worthy too. If you haven’t been before, try to time your visit with a live show on the Pinterest-worthy patio.