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Jun 22, 2012 07:08 AM

Orlando Craft Cocktail Culture

I'm an Orlando local who loves craft cocktails. Half my vacation budget goes to visiting the country's bigger mixology spots. As I'm sure many of you know, the cocktail scene in Orlando is just beggining to grow.

I'm aware that one can grab a good drink at The Ravenous Pig, Luma and a couple of others but I'm hoping that that there might be some dedicated bars in the area that might get a bit more adventerous. Maybe genever, egg whites, niche amaros etc. If Tampa can support these sorts of bars we should be able to.

So I have two questions.

1.Does anyone know of any plans to open a dedicated craft cocktail bar in the area?

2. Is there any association, club, webring etc. uniting those of us who love cocktails and want to enjoy them with friends? I'm tired of whining about the low quality of drinking in our city. I'd rather work on improving it.

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  1. I believe the owners of The Table in the Dellagio on Sand Lake Road are opening a craft cocktail place next door to their restaurant. I also recommend a trip to Winter Garden to the Tasting Room which while a restaurant serves an impressive cocktail list with fresh seasonal ingredients and unique spirits

    1 Reply
    1. re: YosemiteSam

      Craft cocktail culture is when the bartenders know exactly how much
      diet Pepsi to pour into the Jim Beam, and do so veeeerrry carefully.


    2. Try Terrace 390 or the Grand Bohemian lounge.

      1. I've been looking for some great craft cocktails as well...I first became interested after visiting the Violet Hour in Chicago about 5 years ago. Having trouble finding anything that lives up to that place. We just moved to Orlando and we are planning on trying the Courtesy. Have you been?

        8 Replies
        1. re: rborowsky

          Welcome to town! Since this thread was posted I've actually become a regular at The Courtesy. Definately the best cocktail program in Orlando. It's not as high end/concept driven as The Violet Hour (few places in the country are), but I find that better for a go to bar (less production, and much more affordable).

          I'd recommend going on a weekday, or sometime early. They don't limit seating, so by 9:30pm on a Friday or Saturday it's a mad house. If you go early, the bartenders are happy to hang out with you, make something off menu or customize something to your taste.

          1. re: BRussell

            Thanks! I am excited to try it - Meeting a friend there next week! Any other recs?

            1. re: rborowsky

              "Eden Bar" at our local art house movie theatre, The Enzian, is a fun spot. I wouldn't quite call them "craft cocktails" there, but they can do a lot better than a bourbon coke and it's all outdoor seating, which I find is rarely combined with good drinks. Great outdoor hangout spot.

              The cocktail programs at two of the more beloved Orlando restaurants, "The Ravenous Pig" and "Cask and Larder" are solid, but don't justify the price in my mind.

              There's a new craft cocktail spot called "The Woods" near "The Courtesy." I'm headed there tonight so I'll let you know how it goes.

              1. re: BRussell

                Thanks! We have actually visited both Cask and Ravenous Pig. Both good times! Excited to hear about The Woods.

            2. re: BRussell

              How is the scene at The Courtesy now? Still a madhouse on Friday nights? I will be in town early November and definitely wanted to check it out. Would an afternoon trip be better?

              I also read an article about Pharmacy and Hanson Shoe Repair. How are they typically on a Friday night?

              1. re: Matt H

                The Courtesy is still a mad house. I would absolutely recommend Hanson's as they have the best cocktail and atmosphere in town. You need to call for the password and know that space is very limited. You may have to wait and have a drink in NV Art Bar below while waiting for other people to leave.

                1. re: Matt H

                  Late on the weekends Courtesy is still a madhouse, but in the afternoons it's still my favorite cocktail bar in town. Hanson's is another great place to check out, but your mileage will vary as far as the whole "faux Speakeasy" thing goes. That said, they do beautiful cocktails and the space is wonderful. I haven't been to Pharmacy, but I haven't heard a single good review from anyone who was seriously into cocktails. If you don't want to brave downtown The Matador is like a hybrid cocktail/dive bar that I spend a ton of time at. If you get the right bartender they'll be happy experimenting with off menu stuff with you all night, it's my go to Friday happy hour.

                  1. re: BRussell

                    Thank you both. I think I will focus on Hanson's. The password, special knock at the door thing is played, but can be easily overlooked if the product is stellar. I also like the idea that there is some level of crowd control as well.

            3. Tim at Siro (marriott world center)is a serious cocktail guy, try him on weekdays

              1 Reply
              1. Thank you again for the Hanson's recommendation. My wife and I stopped off for a few rounds Friday night and left impressed. Great space and talented bar staff. We sat with Rene at the bar and he was excellent.

                I had a Rum Old Fashioned, Sazerac and a "Danny Trejo" which is similar to a Oxacan Old Fashioned. All three were perfect. My wife enjoyed both her rounds also. Had a great time discussing craft cocktails with Rene and some bars we all love to go to in Boston and NYC.