Let’s face it. Sometimes, that’s all you want. A nice place to sit down and have a delicious cocktail or a refreshing beer. Being a professional (take that however you’d like), I’m going to give you my top 5 favorite places to grab and drink and then tell you why.
Yes, we are talking about drinks here, but…in addition to a really impressing beer list, this location has some killer sandwiches to help sop up the brew. There are approximately 16 craft brews on tap and another 100+ bottles available at any given time. This is where a die hard brew master should seek some adventure on a Friday night.
Yuppies beware, you will be driven out by vacant stares, scarves in July and a keen sense of irony. This is also not a bad thing. I’ve been frequenting this joint since it was a video and coffee store, as it’s name suggests, and while I no longer fit the profile, I just can’t stay away. There is a small but good beer selection and a full bar. My favorite, however, are the barista specials. Grudgingly, I mean lovingly, they are served in a mason jar and are as creative as you can get. These cocktails are what other big cities have been zeroing in on for some time, using all fresh ingredients, muddled together, and while not always consistent in their recipe, always a welcome surprise. One such dynamo is the Blackberry Peach Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve bourbon, peach preserves, one muddled blackberry, Angostura bitters, and a lemon twist. They now also boast a new Scotch Bar.
3. Prato in Winter Park
I love Prato’s custom cocktails, but let’s not be naïve…the food is to die for. Located on Park Ave., the atmosphere is spectacular, both inside and out. A few drinks at Prato as you and your partner sample one delicious sharing plate after another, will leave you completely satiated and content. Make a reservation, no matter the night. If you can’t get one, it is totally worth the wait.
2. The beer garden at the Downtown Orlando Farmers Market
On Sundays, during the more temperate months, there’s no place I’d rather be. The beer is good, locally brewed, and you can’t beat the atmosphere. With acoustic guitar playing, food vendors in a circle around you, dogs, kids and the occasional crazy bird person, there is no better place to people watch and just enjoy being. I think you can get all you can drink mimosas for $10 as well. Get ready to get your lazy on, but if you insist on charging ahead into the day, there are ample vendors to visit and good walk along Lake Eola is always a nice way to spend a Sunday.
1. EPCOT, duh
Seriously, you haven’t lived until you’ve drunk around the world with your love. I mean your friends. Don’t forget your family. Of course, the best time of year to do this is in the Fall during EPCOT Food and Wine. In addition to all of the regular restaurant and cafes, ethnic cuisine from around the world is on display. You’ll find Moroccan, Ethiopian, Greek, Australian cuisines and more. During the Spring, the Flower and Garden Festival has it’s fair share of seasonal foods as well. Of course each cuisine has a featured beverage and you simply must pair your food/drink whenever possible. In the off seasons, I’m perfectly happy to begin my trek in Mexico, at La Cava del Tequila. In recent years, I have become very familiar with the Sake Bar in Japan, the frozen Grey Goose in Paris and the newest attraction in Italy, the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar. Pay the $$$ it takes to get in. You will not regret it. You may regret trying to swim in the adjoining resort pool while your friends point and laugh, however.