- Hammered Lamb
Church St. Tavern
120 W. Church St., 407-597-0270, thechurchsttavern.com
With lots of dark wood, high tin ceilings and cool old chandeliers, this place looks like it’s right out of a movie set. The menu is made up of inspired pub grub – kielbasa sliders, five different kinds of fries – and the beer menu is unpretentious. Try a specialty cocktail, like the mango tree – mango rum with fresh avocado and mint. Football fans, take note: This Pittsburgh-inspired watering hole is an unabashed haven for Steelers fans.
1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-629-1088, enzian.org
With its gorgeous horseshoe-shaped wooden bar, movie-themed mixed drinks and upscale bar food, Eden Bar is the kind of place you could find just about anywhere. But what makes it so distinctly Florida is its relationship to the inimitable Enzian movie theater, which hosts outdoor movie screenings on the lawn under the Florida moonlight, the jungly foliage that makes the bar feel semi-tropical and the one-of-a-kind pastel-hued lunacy of the Bill Plympton mural along the wall.
42 W. Central Blvd., 407-849-5200, emberorlando.com
With its indoor and outdoor bars, Ember is a fashionable adult hangout with a Mediterranean piazza theme. The oh-so-sexy bar staff serves up reasonably priced drinks, which is surprising given the expensive look of the place. Ember also has a chic menu serving bar food with an upscale twist.
The Hammered Lamb
1235 N. Orange Ave., 407-704-3200, facebook.com/thehammeredlamb
The Lamb is a friendly restaurant/watering hole in the former digs of Ethos Vegan Kitchen. Opt for a seat at the covered patio bar (bar and table seating are available inside), which is a prime spot considering the cool breeze coming off the lake right across the street. Once you hear the roar of an oncoming train, it’ll mean “train shots” (blueberry-infused 44º North vodka) for all, courtesy of the bar.
903 Mills Market
903 S. Mills Ave., 407-898-4392
903 Mills Market is the quintessential neighborhood gathering place. What began as a convenient market has evolved into the heart of this charming downtown neighborhood. There’s not a lot of space inside, so the outdoor patio is where the crowd gathers.
4201 S. Orange Ave., 407-240-2557, julieswaterfront.biz
There’s good cooking going on at Julie’s on Lake Jennie, far enough south of downtown not to be trendy, but still a lure to locals – from the mayor to the Everyman. Sit in the plastic chairs on the back deck to down the famous fried seafood and pitchers of cold beer.
Johnny’s Fillin’ Station
1619 Michigan St., 407-894-6900, johnnysfillinstation.com
South Orlando’s mecca of burgers and beer is just about as representative of what Orlando really is as anything out there – and not so much the dolled-up aspirations of what it wants to be. On any given evening, you’ll find the bar regulars and regular bartenders (all know each other’s names, of course) hanging out at the bar, and the outdoor beer shed and covered deck at Johnny’s “other side” are always hopping in nice weather – especially on Tuesday nights, when all food and drinks are half off. Beer selections run the gamut in price and quality here.
33 W. Church St., 407-649-4270, churchstreetbars.com
Rise above the hanging humidity on Church Street: Climb the stairs to the rooftop bar at Latitudes, where misting fans and fresh air are in plentiful supply. Practice aerial people-watching while downing the cold stuff on Saturday nights.
The Lucky Lure
1427 N. Orange Ave., 407-250-6949, facebook.com/theluckylureorlando
This nautical-inspired watering hole is entirely outdoors, albeit covered and loaded with cooling fans, and offers a wide-open view of bustling North Orange Avenue. Patrons can partake in games of foosball, and behind the bar are TVs that play extreme sports videos of surfers and snowboarders. You can enjoy a cocktail at Lucky Lure while overlooking the picturesque Lake Ivanhoe across the street. Add in the Bob Marley and Red Hot Chili Peppers playlist, and you’ll feel like you’re right at the shore.
Wildside Bar and Grill BBQ
700 E. Washington St., 407-872-8665, wildsidebbq.com
Wildside’s bar is a casual hangout for those who want a beer after dinner in Thornton Park. An inside bar with adjacent outside seating makes it a prime spot for people–watching – or dog-watching – in one of the city’s most pleasantly walkable neighborhoods.