Aero Rooftop Bar60 N. Orange Ave., 321-245-7730; aeroorlando.com
This dance club, which used to be known as Sky Sixty, is the best place downtown to dance the night away outdoors under the stars.
Barley and Vine Biergarten
2406 E. Washington St., 407-930-0960; barleyandvineorlando.com
When Barley and Vine Biergarten opened their doors, we were eager to invade their patio, littered with long picnic tables that encourage communal carousing. Guest chefs grill out in the garden, serving free food to famished folks guzzling craft beers on draft or in bottles.
Eden Bar1300 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.
Ember42 W. Central Blvd., 407-849-5200; emberorlando.com
With an indoor and outdoor bar, Ember is a fashionable adult hangout with a Mediterranean piazza theme. The oh-so-sexy bar staff serves up reasonably priced drinks and bar food with an upscale twist.
903 Mills Market903 S. Mills Ave., 407-898-4392; 903millsmarketcafe.com
903 Mills Market is the quintessential neighborhood gathering place. What began as a convenient market has evolved into the very heart of this charming downtown neighborhood – a place to sit on the patio and sip beer or wine with friends and neighbors.
Julie's Waterfront4201 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. Or go for updated options like veggie quesadillas, hummus and tabbouleh.
The Hammered Lamb1235 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.
Johnny's Fillin' Station
Other Side1619 Michigan St., 407-894-6900; johnnysfillinstation.com
On any given evening, you'll find the bar regulars and regular bartenders 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.
Latitudes33 W. Church St., 407-649-4270; churchstreetbars.com
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.
The Lucky Lure1427 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 it has a wide-open view onto bustling Orange Avenue in Ivanhoe Village. Patrons can partake in 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 to that a Bob Marley and Red Hot Chili Peppers playlist, and you'll feel like you're right at the shore.
Vanbarry's Public House4120 S. Orange Ave., 407-704-8881; facebook.com/vanbarryspublichouse
This fairly new public house down on South Orange Avenue is quickly becoming a south Orlando favorite. It shares ownership with downtown fixture Finnhenry's and College Park favorite Ollie's.
Wildside BBQ Bar and Grill
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.