With all the emphasis on Orlando’s stature as the premier family vacation spot in the US, it would be easy to overlook the vibrant nightlife scene available to parents once the kids have gone to sleep. Watch out Miami, because Orlando’s historic downtown area is proving to be the new high watermark for Floridian after-dark adventures. We profile the kitschy tiki bars, the craft beer hangouts, and the secret speakeasies that make up the best bars in Orlando.
Named after the eponymous grand piano – one of only a handful in the world – that resides within, and whose tinkling ivories provide the soundtrack to most evenings here, the Bösendorfer Lounge is a sexy and soulful addition to Orlando’s nightlife. Located within the five-star luxury Grand Bohemian Hotel, the bar caters to guests and non-guests alike as a stylish haunt to catch some of Orlando’s coolest live jazz and soul. Order a cocktail and envelop yourself in this bar’s Fabulous Baker Boys vibe.
Address: 23 West Church Street, Orlando, Florida, USA, +1 407-420-1111
Exclusivity is both a blessing and a curse to regular patrons of this modern-day speakeasy, tucked away in – surprise, surprise – a former cobbler’s shop on Pine Street. An 19th century space in 2015 means that this joint only has room for about 30 customers at a time. If you’re desperate to get your foot in the door, make Hanson’s your first port of call for the evening, at around 8pm. For those fortunate enough to access this gilded space, you’ll be treated to a lovingly restored nook, supplemented by an enclosed patch of rooftop for occasional live music and burlesque. On the menu are an array of Prohibition-era cocktails, centered around quality bourbon, with their specialties including champagne cocktails.
Address: 27 East Pine Street, Orlando, Florida, USA, +1 407-476-9446
A bona-fide institution of Audobon Park, Redlight Redlight often feels like an academic institution for budding craft beer drinkers. The friendly barkeeps are always at hand to offer personal recommendations, which, when you consider Redlight’s selection of 250 bottles, 23 rotating drafts and two beer engines for cask-conditioned ales, is a hugely useful pool of hoppy knowledge. Even for the casual drinker, regular events such as Orlando City soccer watch parties and expert-led food pairings will go some way to ensuring repeat visits to this establishment.
Address: 2810 Corrine Drive, Orlando, Florida, USA, +1 407-893-9832