Home Uncategorized Cocktails & Speakeasies: Top 10 Speakeasies in Central Florida

Cocktails & Speakeasies: Top 10 Speakeasies in Central Florida

by TheOviedoVoice


Orlando arrived a little bit late to the speakeasy get together.

We’re a number of a long time faraway from the Twenties when the Prohibition period pressured many institutions to maintain their existence secret.

The phrase “speakeasy” originated in England and Eire within the nineteenth century when unlawful ingesting institutions wanted secrecy. Therefore, prospects have been requested to talk quietly whereas inside to keep away from detection.

You may say it out loud today, and most significantly, wine and dine with out authorized penalties. And sure, some passwords are nonetheless required at sure places and there are even hard-to-find entrances at sone places. Nonetheless, Orlando has a really welcoming vibe for anybody wishing to take pleasure in a novel cocktail expertise.

“I feel what makes a speakeasy cocktail bar a speakeasy cocktail bar is a hidden entrance or a password or an absence of signage, one thing like that,” mentioned Rene Nguyen, proprietor of Hanson’s Shoe Restore in downtown Orlando. “As a result of it dates again to the speakeasies that existed in the course of the Prohibition period.”

Orlando didn’t catch on till The Courtesy opened in 2012. It’s thought of the oldest devoted craft cocktail bar in Central Florida. The road will get blurry between craft cocktail bars and speakeasies, which has a extra secretive really feel.

Orlando journal has included a mixture of each, together with some themed speakeasies that put a bit extra pop within the leisure and theater worth.

Our main aim is to focus on a number of the finest locations to get an amazing drink in Central Florida (and one cool outlier) when you’re within the temper for one thing extra unique than a light-weight beer or rum and Coke.
“We’ve got to rise to the event,” mentioned Gene Zimmerman, the proprietor of The Courtesy. “We wish to have a really distinctive touch-tone cocktail expertise if cocktails are your factor.”

As soon as The Courtesy popped, others adopted and the pattern has continued through the years.

Listed here are a few of our favorites.

The Courtesy

1288 N. Orange Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 | thecourtesybar.com

On the threat of being labeled a speakeasy elitist, Gene Zimmerman isn’t large on secret knocks and passwords.

“Hate that,” he mentioned. “I don’t need guidelines. I simply desire a drink.”

Extra particularly, a wonderfully crafted cocktail, which is the purpose and objective of The Courtesy.
Zimmerman and his spouse Diana established what’s thought of Orlando’s first devoted craft cocktail bar in 2012 at a downtown location. They moved in Could 2022, marking their very own territory simply miles away. “The tagline, our mantra, once we opened, is ‘the pleasure is ours, the Courtesy yours,’” Zimmerman mentioned. “We wish to maintain that ethos of hospitality first, with quality-based, a brilliant, tremendous shut second, and innovation.”

Strive the 4 Founders, a mix of scotch, barrel-aged cachaca, quinine aperitif, with pineapple and passionfruit bitters. Or a Good Shot, gingerbread spiced rye.

“If you’re distinctive, it has this really feel, like this visceral emotion that grabs you if you are available,” Zimmerman mentioned. “The odor, the look, the personalities, all of that, it’s like, that’s the place I wish to go. That’s what by no means will get tiring for me.”

Hanson’s Shoe Restore is a classy, password-entry speakeasy that serves craft cocktails. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

Hanson’s Shoe Restore

27 East Pine Road, Orlando, FL 32801 | 407.476.9446 | thehansonbuilding.com/hansons-shoe-repair

You want a password to get into Hanson’s Shoe Restore in downtown Orlando.

Some of us could take into account this cheeky and gimmicky. And though it’s simple to attach the dots to the Prohibition period when passwords have been a layer of safety from regulation enforcement, there’s a modern-day objective as properly.

“We do change it day by day,” mentioned proprietor Rene Nguyen. “However the good factor about having the password is it means each visitor that is available in there may be there in a purposeful method. They selected to be there. They didn’t simply stumble off the road. It’s not a foot visitors clientele.”

“What the passwords allowed us to do, together with the model of bartending that we do, the ambiance, the music, every thing that we’ve fastidiously curated during the last ten years, what it’s allowed us to do is curate this clientele base that’s simply superior.”

Established in 2013, Hanson’s is likely one of the authentic speakeasies in Orlando. The title comes from the earlier enterprise that occupied the area, “Hanson Shoe Restore Store,” when Andrew Hanson acquired it in 1894. The constructing dates again to 1884, and it’s regarded as the oldest constructing nonetheless standing in downtown Orlando.

It’s now a two-tiered cocktail bar expertise. There’s a bar downstairs referred to as Bauhaus and a stairway that results in Hanson’s, which requires a password. Clients can name to get the each day password.

It’s a good match wherever you find yourself. The capability upstairs is 35, together with the upstairs patio. Sitting choices embrace two two-tops and a stitching desk.

However after all, the principle draw is the cocktails, and Hanson’s has a wonderful choice of concoctions created by Nguyen. It’s been his child since day one.

“For me personally and what we do at Hanson’s, we don’t actually concentrate on opponents,” Nguyen mentioned. “We simply do our factor. We don’t take a look at it as a contest. We’ve at all times felt like we now have our ethos of what we predict our bar needs to be, and we simply keep on with that. It’s served us fairly properly.”

Devin Anthony Abreu Working associate at Mather’s Social Gathering. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

Mathers Social Gathering

30 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801 | 407.745.1185 | mathersorlando.com

Essentially the most difficult process when visiting Mathers isn’t deciding which classic cocktail to order. You’ll have to get in first. No password, however suffice it to say it could be a problem discovering the way to get inside when you step outdoors the elevator and onto the third flooring. The man sitting down on the typewriter could or could not offer you a clue.

When you’re in, you’ll wish to keep. Mathers hits all of the checkmarks for a wonderful speakeasy: Nice drinks (all made with recent substances); Ambiance and; A historic constructing that’s simple on the eyes. Mathers even includes a burlesque present each Tuesday and Saturday night time.

Mathers affords an immersive expertise. With sure exceptions. No TVs.

“We attempt to present an environment that helps remind individuals to remain within the second,” mentioned Devin Abreu, one of many managing companions and bar supervisor. “Our music ranges are designed to have the ability to be loud sufficient the place we are able to hear one another however low sufficient that our neighbor can’t hear us.”

It’s simple to disregard the sounds when there are such a lot of sights. A swinging velvet loveseat is an inviting picture op for lovers and others with loads of sharable appetizers. In case you have a candy tooth, you possibly can take a look at some classic sweet in a turn-of-the-century-style normal retailer tucked right into a nook.

Leather-based couches. Oriental rugs. Trendy, darkish wooden and uncovered brick replicate a mode from the constructing’s origins. Previously a furnishings retailer and a publish workplace, it additionally survived a hearth in 1884 that destroyed neighboring institutions.

The 4,500-square-foot area had lived in its incarnated kind since 2017, when brothers Keith, Romi, and Daniel Mawardi purchased the constructing and introduced alongside Abreu for his craft cocktail experience to design the menu.

“It’s a phenomenal concord of issues as a result of these guys don’t know (bleep) about drinks,” Abreu mentioned jokingly.

Enterprise is nice. The brothers are increasing places to incorporate Tampa and Jacksonville. However the authentic stays the usual.

“It’s for locals and individuals who journey to expertise a classic native bar,” Abreu mentioned. “Since you’re ingesting in a museum. This is part of historical past.”

Bounty Interior 2jpg

Courtesy of The Bounty

The Bounty

414 Flagler Avenue, New Smyrna Seashore, FL 32169 | 386.402.8861 | flaglertavern.com

The Bounty has a definite ambiance: Cozy, cozy, and approachable.

It’s why we included it as our favourite outlier.

The Bounty is tucked away amongst a cluster of seaside bars alongside Flagler Avenue in New Smyrna Seashore, on a second-floor perch above Flagler Tavern. On Sundays, the downstairs individuals come for the get together, the music, and the soccer. The individuals upstairs come for the crafted cocktails and the intimate expertise.

“I’ve been right here at one o’clock within the morning, and I’ve seen grandparents mingling with youngsters which might be simply turning 21, and so they’re speaking about, ‘What’s your favourite spirit? Do you wish to have a cigar with me?’” mentioned Kristin Chmielewski, the Bounty’s normal supervisor. “It’s only a actually fascinating area that brings individuals collectively.”

An fascinating area certainly. In-built 1928 as a single-family dwelling, the upstairs space has morphed into the one speakeasy on this little seaside city. It’s a small area indoors, restricted to 30 individuals. Nevertheless, an add-on deck brings the capability to 100.

However inside is the place the speakeasy vibe is—all of the wooden from flooring to ceiling is reclaimed from the unique constructing. There’s a functioning lifeboat hanging the other way up from the ceiling, a church pew, and a hearth that was the picturesque centerpiece of a marriage reception a number of months again.

In fact, we might be remiss if we didn’t point out the drinks. Throughout the holidays, there was a seasonal mix of cocktails, together with the Island of Misfit Cookies. The common drink menu contains the King Richard (named for a loyal buyer) and a one ounce pour that prices $500. The Bounty has its personal Buffalo Hint barrel.

Whereas open in the course of the day, the motion is at night time: “All of the lights go down. Every little thing up right here glows crimson. We placed on tremendous chill, like low-fi prohibition period, the ’20s, hip-beat music.”

One final thing: Search for the staircase on the primary flooring. The Bounty has no signage, which is a part of the mystique.

“It’s elusive,” Chmielewski mentioned. “We’re just like the unicorn.”

BANDBOX, a non-alcoholic bar, serves a rum strawberry drink referred to as a shrub. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)


1817 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32804 | 407.618.0434 | bandboxorlando.com

The BANDBOX is an acquired style. A speakeasy that serves non-alcoholic drinks is similar to a hamburger joint that solely sells veggie burgers.

Nevertheless it works. Splendidly.

Proprietor Kevin Zepf has created an inviting and intimate area off Orange Avenue in Ivanhoe Village on the outskirts of downtown. Step in, and also you’re a time traveler. You’re within the Twenties, surrounded by interval items, images, and memorabilia, together with hats and books. You may even purchase some memorabilia, which incorporates scented candles in a cocktail glass. There’s even a piano and picture sales space to seize the second.

It’s a comfy place with a good match. Capability is 10, which features a employees of two or three, relying on the night time. Do the maths, and you could have the place to yourselves on a double date (reservations are extremely really helpful).

The ambiance is ideal. All you want now could be a cocktail. You may order the Excessive Hat, a whiskey maple smoked quaint ($10), or Hassle in Paradise, a tequila ardour fruit margarita ($8), or perhaps a Thomson and Scott Noughty, a Rosé/Chardonnay ($7 a glass, $27 for the bottle).
Some drinks are totally zero-proofed; some wines have 0.5 p.c or much less of alcohol. There are additionally CBD drinks on the menu.

All of it provides as much as the imaginative and prescient that Zepf created in June 2022 when he opened the place.

“It’s the alternative of what Prohibition was, however in a spot the place you possibly can have an intimate drink or lounge setting which you could’t get wherever else proper now aside from a espresso store,” he mentioned.
It’s possible you’ll even get an opportunity to see character-themed performers on sure nights, together with Zepf, wearing a tuxedo. You’re welcome to decorate up as properly in interval apparel.

“We’ve got lots of people that perhaps gown up after they are available carrying Gatsby apparel,” Zepf mentioned. “We encourage that. We don’t do a gown code right here per se, however we do encourage of us to come back in, gown it up a little bit bit, in order that they really feel pretty much as good because the place round them.”

“It’s very stylish and fabulous.”


Otto’s Excessive Dive

2304 E. Robinson Road, Orlando, FL 32803 | 321.231.7902 | ottoshd.com

Otto’s is the proverbial new child on the town, having opened in December 2022. However truthful warning: They arrive to play.

It’s not your traditional speakeasy. We’re speaking a few crafted cocktail expertise (there are 32 to select from), nice meals, and a novel idea.

The imaginative and prescient for opening Otto’s is impressed by the grandfather of one of many enterprise companions, Giovanni Fernandez. His grandfather used to personal a bar in the course of the Nineteen Forties-’50s in Manzanillo, Cuba. The opposite enterprise companions—Justin Levaughn, Elise Sabatino, Sean Pagan, and Chris Munro—tried to recreate that vibe.

“Every little thing pays homage to the area,” Levaughn mentioned. “It’s a chunk of historical past.”

Come on right down to the Milk District and take a look.

These 32 drinks embrace the Cuban commonplace, the mojito, a rum drink that’s refreshingly cool in the course of the sizzling summer time months. However crafted cocktails are all about innovation, which is why you’ll discover the guava pastelito on the bar menu. Impressed by a Cuban dessert, the drink will get its uptick with a Plantation Isle of Fiji rum and Creme De Noyaux.

“These are all originals, not simply the classics,” mentioned Levaughn, a bartender by coronary heart who has labored at The Courtesy and The Ritz Carlton. “In fact, we make one of the best mojito you’ve ever had.”
There’s additionally a mixture of traditional Cuban music within the air to finish the eating and ingesting expertise.
Clients have walked away impressed.

“From the second I walked inside, I used to be in love with the vibe right here,” mentioned Demi A. in a Yelp overview. “It’s a Cuban-inspired bar with a stunning mid-century contact. I’m coming again to strive their espresso unquestionably. Fantastic first-time expertise.”

The Guesthouse. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

Sunroom & The Guesthouse

Sunroom: 1315 N Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803 | 407.630.6574

The Guesthouse: 1321 N Mills Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803 | 407.630.6574 | sunroomcocktails.com

Kristian Sirani has been across the cocktail beverage/restaurant block a number of occasions. He opened the BarBQBar in 1998. Took over the Sapphire Supper Membership and turned it into the Social and launched Sky60 and EyeSpy in historic downtown Orlando.

These visions have morphed into one: Situated on Mills Avenue, the block brings a two-for-one expertise for the reason that Sunroom is tucked subsequent to its sister bar, the Guesthouse.

“The concept was easy—a bar the place everybody and anybody felt welcome,” he wrote on the Guesthouse web site. “Inexpensive drinks in a enjoyable atmosphere.”

Sirani wears quite a lot of hats on the Sunroom: Bartender, Beverage Director and Common Supervisor.
His concoctions embrace “The Backyard Gloves,” which mixes smoky mezcal, bitter chartreuse, and a peppery Ancho Reyes liqueur with citrus juice and sweetener.

The place was bustling on a current Friday night time, principally full of 20-and 30-somethings getting their weekend began correctly. Clients there checklist the martini and old school amongst their favorites.

“They’ve one of the best drinks and scenic environment, and it pulls all people in,” mentioned Tom Frazier of Orlando, who was there on a date night time.

Honest warning: They restrict parking alongside the again, so you could have to go for avenue parking alongside Mills Avenue.

At The Sunroom, they provide personal leases and the temper lighting at night time creates a romantic vibe.
“Sunroom is the form of bar you wish to brag about but in addition wish to maintain a secret as a result of it’s simply so good!” Ashley S wrote in a Yelp overview. “We like to make a date night time out of it. Their drinks are so scrumptious that I decide a random drink and know I’m going to get pleasure from it.”

Cocktails and Screams

39 West Pine Road, Orlando, FL 32801 | 407.904.0124 | cocktailsandscreams.com

Boo-hoo. This could come as no shocker.

Cocktails & Screams is Orlando’s solely Halloween-themed bar. “Cease In For A Spell, And Keep For The Boo’s,” it says on the web site.

Established in 2018, the area affords numerous experiences for visitors, together with Sunday brunch and The Craft Speakeasy, each requiring reservations.

As you’ll anticipate, the drinks have a scary and spooky attraction. You may order “Franks Stein,” “Uncle Fester,” and “Sexy Satan.” And when you’re hungry, the brunch menu affords “The Dexter Morgan,” an homage to a TV serial killer. You may wash that down with “The Leather-based Face.”
Followers of the horror style have come away impressed.

“Cocktails and Screams might be one of the best bar in downtown Orlando,” mentioned Molly Lowman, a frequent buyer. “Superb music and enjoyable for a lot of age teams. Enjoyable Halloween/satanic theme. Picture ops are all over the place! And I really like the music—90s grunge, Pink Sizzling Chili Peppers, Evanescence.”

“Don’t miss your alternative to go to this place!” JoAnn E. wrote in a Yelp overview final November. “Essentially the most wonderful environment, delectable meals, and ingenious drinks! The bar director deserves a spherical of applause. He gave us a private tour, made our drinks himself, and launched us to the homeowners. I felt like household.”

Plan to surrender a number of additional digits in order for you a extra intimate expertise. A reserving within the Addams Household VIP room entitles you and your visitors (for a celebration between 6 and 10) entry for the night. The entire value of $666 features a $333 bar tab. Gratuity is just not included.

Simply keep in mind, the vibe is horror, with a shot of comedy.

“No matter expertise you could have, don’t take it to coronary heart,” a warlock says within the promotional video for the speakeasy. “Or we could have to tear it out of your fairly little chest.”

You’ve been warned!


The Treehouse

68 E. Pine Road, Orlando FL, 32801 | 407.883.4694

The Treehouse lives as much as speakeasy traditions.

You have to to search for the inexperienced door with the T-shaped deal with to get into The Treehouse in downtown Orlando. Shhh. Don’t inform anybody however your closest associates.

Simply go up the inexperienced stairs and step inside. You can be immersed in an entire craft cocktail expertise together with a wonderful choice of craft beers. You would possibly wish to sit down and savor a drink within the signature massive bathtub with the “Get Bare” neon signal within the background.

The Treehouse, which opened in December 2014, has a good however cozy really feel. Dimly lit, intimate area, and an amazing place to convey a small group of associates. The demographics run to the youthful facet, within the 20-something to the 30-something vary.

Thumbs up from locals, and people simply passing by.

“I’ve been coming to Treehouse for about two years, and it seems like dwelling,” Evan S. wrote in a Yelp overview. “That is my ‘go-to’ bar in downtown Orlando. The bartenders are wonderful and personable, and the employees are additionally pleasant. I’d advocate this institution to anybody and everybody who’s searching for a enjoyable night time in town!”

Therefore, why administration calls The Treehouse “Orlando’s coziest cocktail bar.”

Jewel Orlando

6400 Service Drive, Orlando, FL 32819 | 321.444.5306 | jewelorlando.com

Jewel is a super-sized speakeasy.

Situated within the Pirates Dinner Journey advanced that features Teatro Martini, Jewel affords a novel soundtrack to associate with the cocktails: Dueling pianists encompassing quite a lot of musical genres; Singers (together with “Ms. Wiggle Waters”) belting out traditional and modern songs; and viewers participation when music requests are made.

“We had such a blast right here!” wrote Ondrea in a Journey Advisor overview. “I hardly ever write evaluations, however this place deserves it! I totally loved the Teatro Martini present & deliberate to go away afterward. Nevertheless, after strolling via the Jewel to exit, the dueling pianos acquired my consideration.

“These guys have been hilarious! It’s a a lot better comedy act than the precise present! They did enjoyable singalongs & interacted with your entire crowd, drawing everybody in. They inserted their very own very comical lyrics to widespread songs. Finest date night time in eternally.”

However when you’re thirsty, Jewel has you coated as properly. Its drink menu contains the Home Basic Sidecar, and one of many Signature Cocktails, the Singapore Sling.

“That is my favourite place in Orlando to expertise Dueling Pianos,” wrote Jason S. in a Yelp overview. “The speakeasy vibe makes it such a extra enjoyable atmosphere than the touristy golf equipment. The piano gamers have been completely wonderful and very personable. That is such a hidden gem, and I extremely advocate Jewel.”

Jewel additionally affords a Roulette, Blackjack or Craps desk for charity gaming, with the proceeds going to rotating charities. Friends can commerce of their winnings for prizes.

Jewel is open Thursday by means of Saturday, 6:30 p.m. to midnight. The dueling pianos begin at 8:30 p.m. and reservations are strongly really helpful.

House | Spring Into Cocktail Season | High 10 Speakeasies in Central Florida

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