Orlando bars where fun is always on tap

Video game bars, bowling and drinking, drag queens and more

1205 N. Mills Ave., 407-796-2522, bartcade.com

What this small spot lacks in space, it makes up for in personality: outgoing bartenders; video game-inspired art on the walls; and a well-curated selection of classic arcade games. Grab a bottled craft beer and set up shop for the rest of the evening at the Night Moves pinball machine or challenge a friend to match wits at Street Fighter.

CityWalk at Universal Orlando
6000 Universal Blvd., 407-363-8000, citywalk.com

There’s almost literally something for everyone here – serious live-band karaoke at Rising Star, fruity drinks and a beachy vibe at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, dueling pianos at Pat O’Brien’s, an ultra lounge vibe at Red Coconut Club, dancing at the Groove nightclub, all in one location that also includes restaurants, a movie theater, a live-music venue and Blue Man Group.

Boardwalk Bowl
10749 E. Colonial Drive, 407-384-0003, alomabowlingcenters.com

This massive entertainment complex is not just a bowling alley – it also houses an arcade, mini golf, a restaurant, Coasters Sports Bar (which hosts Bonkerz Comedy Club on Thursday nights) and the Carousel Lounge, with nine pool tables and plenty of TVs so you can catch the game while you bowl or shoot pool.

Colonial Lanes Lounge
400 N. Primrose Drive, 407-896-1443, coloniallanes.net

Duck into this dark, sunken bar adjacent to Colonial Lanes bowling alley in between frames. Or bowl a few after downing a drink at the bar.

Dancers Royale
5221 E. Colonial Drive, 407-281-0120, dancersroyaleorlando.com

Orlando is not known for its strip clubs, and there’s a reason for that – this town has strict rules about all-nude dancing. But Dancers Royale does feature topless dancers, and the place is couples-friendly. Thursday night is ladies’ night, which means half-off drinks for those bearing two X chromosomes.

Dave & Buster’s
8986 International Drive, 407-541-3300, daveandbusters.com

It’s an arcade! It’s a sport bar! It’s a pool hall! This entertainment-oriented bar/restaurant is basically a Chuck E. Cheese for adults.

The Firkin & Kegler
12850 Waterford Lakes Parkway, 407-629-2665, fkorlando.com

If you’re looking for something to distract you while you wait for the final scores, Firkin and Kegler in Waterford Lakes has bowling, pool and arcade games to help you forget your stupid, stupid picks. Sports are projected onto screens above the alleys, so you can stay up to date. But it gets crowded quickly, so keep a friend posted within arm’s reach of the bar.

Hamburger Mary’s
110 W. Church St., 321-319-0600, hamburgermarys.com

This gay-friendly burger joint is a lively, campy downtown hangout. On Tuesdays, play Hambingo with Orlando fave drag queens Miss Sammy and Carol Lee; on Wednesdays play trivia with Doug Bowser, and on Sundays, experience a drag show at brunch. Cabaret shows, fun and games, drink specials and more, served up alongside a hearty menu of sloppy burgers, fried foods and more.

8967 International Drive, 407-426-7555, icebarorlando.com

The largest permanent ice bar in the United States is right here in Orlando and features 50 tons of carved ice. Coats and gloves are provided, or if you’re feeling fancy, you can rent furs to wear inside for $10. Once you’re done cooling your heels, warm up in the adjacent Fire Lounge, where resident DJs spin the hits.

Kings Bowl
8255 S. International Drive, Suite 120, 407-363-0200, kingsbowlamerica.com/orlando

High-end amenities, like automated scoring computers, elaborate lighting and private rooms with their own lanes, make this bowling bar-restaurant more than just another bowling alley. Kings serves an extensive scratch-made menu and unusual alcoholic offerings.

Plaza Cinema Café
155 S. Orange Ave., 407-982-5444, cobbtheatres.com

The only movie theater in downtown Orlando, the Plaza Cinema Café offers a full beer and wine menu, so you can imbibe to your heart’s content while catching the latest flicks.

2428 E. Robinson St., 407-228-0804, facebook.com/spacebarorlando

An arcade bar was just the addition the Milk District needed, so you could say that Spacebar truly filled a gap on the strip. With a broad selection of craft beers in cans and bottles, you’ll enjoy the out-of-this-world-themed pinball machines or a heated battle of Marvel vs. Capcom for both a good brew and a good time. Music nerds - keep an ear out for their Bring Your Own Vinyl nights you won’t want to miss.

Downtown Disney, 1494 E. Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, 407-938-7467, splitsvillelanes.com

This massive Downtown Disney bowling alley features two floors, 30 bowling lanes and five bars, as well as billiards, a restaurant and a patio.


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