It hasn’t taken long for Orlando to rise as a food and beverage hub in Florida. With an ever revolving door of tourism, new cocktail bars have been opening across the city, with a heavy focus on Downtown Orlando and the Mills 50/Ivanhoe Village area. The trend has even spread to Disney Springs, which is taking advantage of the recent cocktail craze.
Some of the places on this list serve nothing but cocktails – like Hanson’s Shoe Repair – while others are general bars or restaurants. Some are loud and claustrophobic, other are chill and relaxed. You won’t have trouble finding a place that caters to your style with at least one of these.
Hidden above the Bauhaus bar, and requiring a password for entry, Hanson’s Shoe Repair is the only true speakeasy in Orlando. The custom cocktails menu is long enough that exploring it will take many visits (it’s a hard life, I know).
Don’t show up at Hanson’s expecting to just get in. You’ll need to call ahead of time and let them know how many pairs of “shoes” you want to drop off (members in your part). If they can accommodate your party, they’ll be touch with the password.
Hanson’s makes the best cocktails in Orlando. Enjoy one at the bar, or step outside into the open air space to hang out and enjoy the Orlando night. The bartenders are great at pulling out your tastes and making recommendations – on or off menu.
Boisterous parties, and large groups will not have fun here, and will ruin the night of other patrons. Hanson’s only serves cocktails, so make sure everything attending wants that.
Hanson’s rules are clear: No Photography. No cell phone use. No smoking. Proper attire required. Appropriate drink orders only. Please speak-easy. Abide by these and you’ll have fun!
The Rattlesnake is a goto of mine – with rye whiskey, egg whites and absinthe.
Few places have been as consistently good, and consistently changing as Courtesy – and always in the right directions. With around 20 cocktails on the menu at any time, Courtesy doesn’t play it safe. With a flapper vibe and creative ingredients, it’s an obvious stop for any trip downtown.
Courtesy is the most bustling cocktail bar in downtown. With a rotating and ever evolving (and growing) list of drinks, it’s easy to see how this place evolves over time. If you’re downtown and want to be a little louder, or more social than Hanson’s - or have a larger group.
If you’re headed here on a busy night, it can be tough to get a seat. The design of the interior makes for some tight squeezes to get to the bar to place an order, but it’s worth it. On a busy night, it can take a while to get a drink since each is handcrafted.
Check out the blackboard for the cocktail and punch of the day, or see if there is a special menu the bartenders are experimenting with.
If an amazing cocktail bar with classic decor ran into a dive bar you’d have lil indies. Hidden next to Wills Pub, lil indies menu is only on the chalkboard, and changes often.
They have the best cocktails in the Mills/Ivanhoe area. If you’re there early, there’s plenty of space to hang out, chat or even play a game or two at a table.
On nights with a DJ or live music, the inside becomes too loud to have a conversation. Getting a drink can be a chore on busy nights, needing to wait 2 or 3 people deep to get a spot at the bar to place an order.
Whatever is on the chalkboard for the day that looks interesting! I had my best coffee cocktail ever here, but can’t go wrong with whatever is on the menu.
Hidden behind an unmarked elevator door in the heart of touristy Orlando is Pharmacy, one of the hidden spots for amazing food and original cocktails. The food itself is amazing, and was featured on Emeril’s Florida show. They have a small bar if you’re just grabbing a drink, but plan to stay for some appetizers - you won’t regret it.
If you want some snacks and a cocktail, Pharmacy is the place. Want a ghost pepper lollipop in your drink? Or how about a 2nd spillover drink? The fun of finding the entrance is worth it for a visit alone.
We love the appetizers here, but entrees haven’t been as memorable. They don’t take reservations, and it gets noisy at peak times, so think about going early (or late) if you want to a more relaxed environment.
Feed the Pigeons is an amazing white whiskey, pear and key lime cocktail, or grab a Papa Oaxaca if you like mezcal, grapefruit juice and a ghost pepper lollipop. For food, grab the bone marrow, rock shrimp or their Chorizo Pizza (with an egg on it!).
When you walk into The Woods, you’ll instantly feel it’s not just another bar. Located on the 2nd floor, and themed with trees throughout, it’s a welcoming oasis from the other bars in downtown.
If you want to get away from the crowded bars, and grab a seat to relax, order from drinks and enjoy conversation with friends.
If you’re hoping to stand around and mingle, or if you’re looking for loud live music. It gets loud from the amount of people here.
With a bunch of craft beers, and a cocktail menu that changes every month, you’ll surely find something you like here.
A newcomer to the list, Osprey has an old Florida vibe, crossed with delicate flavors. With Lake Baldwin a block away, you can walk off your meal and explore the area before heading home.
Want a casual place to hangout and get a cocktail, then Osprey or Artisans Table are your goto places.
This place can get packed, so make a reservation. Some dinner entries have been hit or miss, but appetizers are solid.
Stop by for brunch if you want a different menu. The charcuterie is amazing, and every time I’ve ordered fish I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the flavors. For cocktails, grab a refreshing julep or flip.
Here at Cask & Larder we call ourselves a “Southern Public House” with a distinct sense of pride and place. Since the waning days of Prohibition, circa 1929, when Francis Harper took over a failed feed store near the railroad tracks in Winter Park and turned it into a tavern (yes, bribes to the local authorities might have been involved), generations of thirsty, hungry people have found their way here seeking good food, good drink, and good company.
By the same owners at Ravenous Pig, this takes the same winning formula and extends it into southern food & beer. They also brought over amazing cocktails to pair with the new food items! If you go, you’ll probably run into a dilemma of if you should order their craft beer, or a cocktail, but you can’t go wrong with either.
We’ve been disappointed by their entrees more than once. Sometimes the portions change, so you may think you’re ordering the same thing, to find out it’s a smaller size than the last time.
Since they brew their own beers, try a flight. If you’re feeling adventerous, try a Café Branca with cold brew coffee, fernet branca, and branca menta nitro tap. For food, the friend chicken and the butchers board are staples, as is the ham jam. Always order the fried dough as dessert – even if you’re full.
The Matador offers cocktails and a large open space indoors and outdoors for chilling with friends, and enjoying a drink.
An wide open interior offers room to stand and chat, play some pool, or just hang out. There’s an outdoor patio and many hipsters to people watch.
Parking on Virginia isn’t fun. If you’re looking for a place that’s quiet.
The tap Gin & Tonic is a smooth start. Check out what’s available from the chalkboard.
When it comes to great food in Orlando, The Ravenous Pig is the first place that comes to mind for me. Their cocktail list has been a staple since the start.
I prefer Pharmacy for drinks and appetizers, but Ravenous for the overall meal (we’re having our wedding dinner there – if that says anything about how much I love this place). Besides having the best food on this list, their cocktails are solid, but won’t blow your mind.
If you’re going just for cocktails, there are a bunch of better places on this list. If you’re wanting top notch food and cocktails, stop in. Make a reservation to be safe.
The pork porterhouse is a monstrous piece of meat served on a cutting board. The The Ravenous Pig Old Fashioned with house made bacon is a solid choice.
Right across the street from Hanson’s is Artisan’s Table, a restaurant with an adventurous drink menu.
If you’re looking to grab food downtown and want a cocktail, this is our goto spot (although Rusty Spoon is a close second). Great place to begin a night, or grab a drink before a show at Dr. Phillips Center a few blocks away.
It’s an expensive dinner. For the same price, you could head to Ravenous Pig. Check the menu ahead of time to make sure something stands out.
The coldbrew tequila is must to try. They run tequila through a slow drip machine over coffee grounds. The process takes hours, but the result is one of the most unique flavor combinations of coffee and tequila.
Highball & Harvest seems like they might’ve taken a little too much inspiration from Cask & Larder, but with the end result being another amazing restaurant, it’s hard to complain. While Cask focuses on beer, Highball doubles down on cocktails – even offering a Cocktail Chefs Table for special occasions.
All the southern food you’d expect, in an unlikely location.
It’s not close to many of the other locations, and you’ll want to valet your car to save on parking.
Grab a Last Wish with Campfire whiskey, spiced cola, tobacco bitters and orange essence. Make sure to finish your meal with the Baby Donuts.
A relative newcomer to the Orlando Cocktail scene, The Guesthouse has quickly become a hangout – especially for the 25-35ish crowd this neighborhood caters to.
Head here Friday around 6 for some free catered food, or stop by any night for great people watching in an airy and open space with a small outdoor area to get away to.
It is extremely noisy in here. If you go past 8pm, prepare to leave with your voice out. Although there’s full bar, the original cocktail menu is limited to 5 or 6 drinks, and doesn’t change too often.
Try an Army Navy if you’re a gin drinker, it’s my favorite drink here.
A block away from Lake Eola is Aku Aku, a Tiki Bar that feels like it got lost on its way to the coast.
If you’re downtown and want something different, Aku Aku is worth an occasional stop. If you’re bored with beer, wine and cocktails, stop by for something a little sweeter.
This isn’t a place for amazing cocktails – it’s a place for tiki drinks, ambience and relaxing. Go in expecting something out of a 1940’s beach and you won’t be disappointed. Some of the drinks seem very extremely weak – or maybe they’re just loaded with enough sugar to feel that way but still be dangerous.
Order a Tiger Fucker for something strong and spicy, or a Zombie if you’re looking for something strong.