Eola Wine Company
430 E. Central Blvd., 407-481-9100; 136 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-9103, eolawinecompany.com
A true and very welcome wine bar that offers its wares by the glass or in 2-ounce sampler flights. If something grabs your fancy, racks of bottles line the walls. Eola Wine hops until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a menu of grapes and brews that changes, along with desserts.
Imperial Wine Bar and Beer Garden
1800 N. Orange Ave., 407-407-228-4992; 116 E. First St., Sanford, imperialwinebar.com
This unlikely drinking spot is tucked away in the back of Washburn Imports, a high-end furniture store in Ivanhoe Village. When you step inside the homey living room-esque bar area, you’re hesitant to sit on (or even touch, for that matter) the exquisitely crafted furnishings adorned with steep price tags: an armchair from Indonesia here, an ornately carved Chinese coffee table there. We suggest grabbing a libation from the moderate list of boutique wines and microbrews, ordering a charcuterie or cheese plate and heading to our favorite nook: the comfortably squished outdoor beer garden embellished with natural cedar loveseats and soft, twinkly lighting. A newer location in Sanford offers a similarly charming, cozy vibe.
Nopa Grill and Wine Bar
155 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-740-4040, nopagrill.com
This has to be one of the more low-key spots in the area, and if it weren’t situated in such close proximity to Park Avenue and its bustle, one might afford the place hidden gem status. With energetic servers and a smooth jazz soundtrack, NOPA proves a dynamic yet discreet haven from the crazed hustle of Park Avenue.
55 W. Church St., Suite 128, 321-332-6809, urbanflats.net
The wine list is oh-so-chic, and the fancy cruvinet system used to serve wine by the glass (in 3-ounce and 6-ounce pours) keeps oxidation in order. The flatbreads are stupendous – thin-crusted and kissed by the fire of the woodstone oven.
The Wine Room
270 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-696-9463, thewineroomonline.com
You can sample more than 150 different wines at this Park Avenue hotspot, which features self-serve dispensing machines that let you choose whether you want to sample 1 ounce, 2.5 ounces or 5 ounces of the wine of your choice, which you can purchase with a convenient pre-paid debit card. New wines are rotated in frequently, and highly rated wines can be found in the critic’s choice machine.