The Best Bars in Orlando

Orlando, though beloved by children, is also kind to adults: Find the best wine bars, live music, cocktail lounges, brewpubs, and all manner of watering holes here, all ready to take your order. From the B.B. King’s Blues Club to a speakeasy hidden in a downtown Orlando shopping mall, this can be your happiest place on earth.

9101 International Drive
Go to B.B. King’s Blues Club at Pointe Orlando for blues and dancing, but stay for the comfort food, such as barbecue. The atmosphere is inviting, with brightly painted wooden picnic tables, an intimate upstairs bar overlooking the stage, and a black-and-white tiled dance floor.
Pointe Plaza Ave
Following a Cuban meal—such as malango fritters and churrasco a la Cubano—and a few glasses of the house specialty—flavored mojitos—things heat up and Latin rhythms take hold as couples step onto the dance floor. As inviting for couples out on a date as it is to groups of friends on a night out, Saturday nights at Cuba Libre feature salsa dancers, singers, and DJs spinning bachata, merengue, and Latin house.
430 East Central Boulevard
More than 70 wines are available by the glass at this urban-chic wine bar on Lake Eola. The list includes Old and New World bottles, with wines grouped into themed flights (two-ounce samples of four different wines) for those interested in oenological comparison. When you find one you like, you can take it home, since this bar is also a wine shop.
54 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801, USA
Orlando’s theme parks all have their venues for hosting big concerts. But when indie bands come through town, you’ll almost always find them playing downtown at The Social, an intimate little club with exposed brick walls, excellent acoustics, and an all-star cast of past performers. The venue is a full-service bar, too, but many of the shows are 18 and up (with wristbands given to those of drinking age). Because of the cozy space, shows sell out fast here. So keep an eye on the online calendar and book tickets as soon as you’re ready to commit.
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
Similar to Disney Springs, Universal CityWalk offers adult-oriented—but totally family-appropriate—fun for when you’ve wrapped up another theme park day. An entertainment zone with free admission, it connects the Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks. Still, it’s most happening after the parks close, when it turns into a veritable dining and nightlife district that often attracts more revelers than downtown Orlando itself. All the restaurants and bars surround a man-made lagoon, which becomes busy with boats ferrying guests to and from the Universal hotels. To eat, there’s everything from casual cafés and a food court to extravagant theme restaurants like the new Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen. Bar options are similarly wide-ranging—you can drink a hurricane at Pat O’Brien’s (which looks just like the original in New Orleans), sip a Red Stripe beer to the tune of reggae music at Bob Marley—A Tribute to Freedom, or catch the big game at the NBC Sports Grill & Brew. Parking is free after 6 p.m. so expect crowds starting at sundown. You’ll also want to keep an eye on the calendar, as CityWalk hosts major concerts and festivals throughout the year.
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