A Local's Guide to Nightlife in Orlando

If you’re looking to head out for drinks in Orlando, you've come to the right place. We've broken down our favorite areas to booze in the city. Here’s a general overview of the nightlife options in Orlando:

Downtown Orlando (Party Nights)

If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife full of youthful locals, this is the place to be. This is where you’ll find the young professionals and college students romping around getting wild. The bars and clubs around Orange Avenue offer a little something for everyone. Related: Learn how to make high quality cocktails in a speakeasy-esque bar in downtown Orlando.

If this sounds like your scene, start on Church Street near the Amway Center and work your way north on Orange Avenue. Great bars and club are all along Orange Avenue and every intersecting street to it. (Watch out for our next segment: Drinking in Downtown Orlando)

Ivanhoe Village (Laid Back and Funky)

Hanging out at the Lucky Lure after Paddleboarding    
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Hanging out at the Lucky Lure after Paddleboarding

This is one of the best places to enjoy a conversation over drinks. The area has a mix of charming bars, and none of them require fancy attire.

  • The Lucky Lure: Head over to this laid back open air surfer bar for views of Lake Ivanhoe and people watching. An interesting mix of locals convene here to socialize over beers, shots, pool and popcorn. Feel free to bring your dog. Related: Paddleboard Lake Ivanhoe and grab a beer at the Lucky Lure with Get Local

  • The Imperial: If you are a fan of Asian antiques and a mellow mood, the Imperial is an experience unlike any other. The classy atmosphere, great wines, and tastefully selected craft brews make this bar my personal favorite.

  • The Thirsty Topher: Tucked away in an industrial park, this unassuming bar has earned its place in our hearts. This converted warehouse hosts a healthy rotation of craft beers (draft and bottled) and wines served up by truly personable staff.  Belly up to the solid wood bar and enjoy your brew with the locals in this rustic bar.

Live music at Will's Pub (Source)

Mills 50 (Gritty)

This area is known for a rowdy indie scene full of loud music and great craft beer.

  • Will's Pub: With great specials, a giant selection of craft beer and plenty of liquor to carry you into the night, Will’s Pub is the place to be in this district. Fair warning: they boast a “carnal formula of loud-ass rock ‘n’ roll and free-flowing beer,” so come prepared. 

The Milk District (Blue Collar Beer)

Named after the giant T.G. Lee milk factory that rests in front of this strip of bars, the Milk District is a dominated by a mix of blue collar folk and an indie crowd. 

  • Sportstown Billiards: If there’s a better place to shoot billiards in Orlando, I haven’t found it. Sportstown Billiards has a floor full of beautifully manicured billiard tables, quality cues, and once again, great craft beer. On top of that, they also have arcade games, ping pong, and darts. This place is a local favorite, and generally has a fun loving crowd mingling in the smoky atmosphere.

  • Spacebar: For more arcade games and craft beer, head over to Spacebar a couple doors down. It's loud, but the retro games are cool and the beer is good.

Audubon Park Garden District (Hipster Heaven)

Live music in the courtyard at the East End Market (Source)

Have I mentioned Orlando loves craft beer? The intersection of Corrine Drive and Winter Park Road hosts several great options.

  • Redlight Redlight: Arguably the forerunner of craft beer in Orlando, Redlight Redlight is a beer lover’s house of worship. This unassuming bar boasts 26 rotating drafts, over 250 bottles, and 2 beer engines for cask-conditioned ales.  

  • East End Market: If you’re looking for a laid back, new age vibe, head over to this unique neighborhood market. Nibble on some seasonally featured goods, and relax with a glass of wine or craft beer in their beautiful outdoor courtyard. 

  • Big Daddy's: If you want to kick it in a rough and rugged dive-bar atmosphere, Big Daddy’s has just what you need. Here you'll find a healthy mix of blue collar locals singing their hearts out on the karaoke stage, playing pool, and shooting darts with a Beam and Coke in hand.

Aku Aku in Thornton Park (Source)

Thornton Park (Casual Class)

A wonderful blend of class and casual, the historic neighborhood of Thornton Park offers diverse options along its pedestrian-friendly brick roads.

  • The Falcon: For art, craft beer and wine, I highly suggest heading over to The Falcon. Here you can enjoy fantastic local art while sipping a fine beverage in a relaxed environment.

  • Graffiti Junktion: Just across the street from The Falcon is a laid back local hot spot, Graffiti Junktion. This open air bar is a great place to hang out and watch football or enjoy some cheap drinks.

  • Aku Aku: For cocktails, walk a few blocks west. Here you will find Aku Aku, a neat little tiki bar that dishes up some delicious cocktails in a fresh atmosphere.

The Theme Parks

In the attractions area, Downtown Disney, Universal City Walk and International Drive provide nightlife opportunities for those wanting to stay close to the parks. We encourage visitors to venture outside of this area for authentic Orlando culture, but if you decide to stay around the parks, these areas are still a lot of fun.

By: Mike Black

By: Mike Black

What's your take?

Did we miss your favorite bar or area? Let us know in the comments!