Hanson’s Shoe Repair
27 E. Pine St., hansonsshoerepair.com
Everybody loves Hanson’s for its remarkably well-done speakeasy theming and its dedication to making amazing craft cocktails, but seriously – have you been out on their rooftop deck? It’s a little bit rustic, very chic and comfortable, and it’s currently one of our favorite outdoor bar spaces in town to sip a perfectly mixed craft concoction.
Drink this: The menu changes frequently, but you really can’t go wrong. Unless you only drink vodka, because they don’t serve it here at all. – Erin Sullivan
Barley and Vine Biergarten
2406 E. Washington St., barleyandvineorlando.com
The patio at Barley and Vine is one of our town’s newest hangout spots, but it instantly feels like home. With picnic tables that look as if they’ve been plucked from backyards around town (but are actually handcrafted by the bar’s owner), it’s an ideal spot to bring a crowd of friends or to go alone to get some summer reading done while sipping on the bar’s huge selection of craft beers. They cook out on Sundays, so show up to claim free food from a different chef each week. The bottle selection is exciting, but don’t neglect the beers on draught. Since the bar is still new, the tap lines are clear as a summer’s day.
Drink this: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.
– Ashley Belanger
1913 N. Orange Ave., savoyorlando.com
Sure, you could stick to the ice-cold air-conditioned excess of giant flatscreens and loud music and go-go boys dancing on boxes inside – and who could blame you for wanting to catch up on closed-captioned episodes of Jeopardy? – but just out back, behind the darting eyes of men who want certain things, Savoy boasts a lovely patio area perfect for more casual drinking and conversation. The owners have recently juiced up the joint, removing some of the cruise-y cruise ship chandelier vibe, and the staff is super-nice (meaning hot). Anyway, summer drinks are made for hidden patios like this.
Drink this: A screwdriver, of course. – Billy Manes
802 Virginia Drive, santiagosbodega.com
A large and welcoming brick patio filled with tables, some umbrella-topped, makes this Orlando outpost of the popular Key West tapas bar a prime summer-evening spot. The location near the corner of Virginia and Mills offers just enough street life to feel pleasantly urban; the conversations
at the tables around yours waft by in an array of various accents; and the sangria is justifiably famous. (It’s also a bit pricey, but the extensive wine list will satisfy most tastes/wallets, and there’s beer and mixed drinks as well.) If it’s not too hot to eat, Santiago’s tapas menu is one of the best in town.
Drink this: Sangria. – Jessica Bryce Young
4201 S. Orange Ave., julieswaterfront.biz
You’ve probably driven by this place a million times without giving it a second thought. It’s a nondescript, old-Florida sort of spot, right on Lake Jennie Jewel. The front room is nothing to write home about, but step out onto the back deck. Just do it. It’s rickety, it’s charming, it boasts hand-painted murals of tropical Florida foliage on the walls, and it’s right on the water. Though Julie’s is located right on busy South Orange Avenue, you’ll feel like you’re not in town at all when you’re sipping a cold beer and remembering why you put up with Florida summers.
Drink this: Cold iced tea is just fine,
since the alcoholic beverages are limited. But we’ve been known to order Landshark lager by the pitcher while staring at the lake. – ES
1235 N. Orange Ave., thehammeredlamb.com
With all the entrepreneurial sprouting going on in the Lake Ivanhoe hood (Ivanhood) as of late, you could find any number of places to luxuriate with libations in the steamy summer outdoors. But if you want to be surrounded by ridiculously attractive people of both genders – seriously, we had a hot-guy panic attack there recently – who might be gay or straight (but who cares really, because eye candy), then the Lamb is your best bet. The outdoor patio situation evokes garden dining in New Orleans and sports a view of Lake Ivanhoe and Gaston Edwards Park across the street. Light bites are available as well, and you may need them after a few train shots. That’s right: Every time a train goes by, you get a free shot. Your summer is complete.
Drink this: Effen cucumber vodka and club soda with a cucumber slice up top. – BM
1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, enzian.org
Few outdoor bars are as scenic as Eden Bar, sidled up on the Enzian under the shade of their Southern Live Oak canopy. Whether you’re stopping for a drink or waiting for the doors to open to take in an independent film, Eden Bar is an enticing atmosphere with a happy hour that runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. That means you can soak in a blood orange Manhattan ($6) or knock back a PBR ($2) to budget your summer drinking (along with discounts on select appetizers). Plus, on Wednesdays, the Enzian screens free outdoor movies, which this summer includes Super Troopers, Grease 2 and Demolition Man.
Drink this: Mexicali mojito. – AB
The Lucky Lure
1427 N. Orange Ave., facebook.com/theluckylureorlando
The Lucky Lure is the truest expression of a “summer drinking spot” we can think of: Housed in a narrow old metal shed that used to be boat storage, the bar has that classically ramshackle, indoor-outdoor feel of the best beach bars. The stream of Orange Avenue traffic and Lake Ivanhoe in the near distance will have to stand in for the ocean here, but as you lean your elbow on the long street-facing ledge, enjoying the summery breeze and wide selection of bottled beer (or maybe a margarita or two), you’ll barely notice the absence of sand in your flip-flops.
Drink this: A margarita. – JBY
Local Roots at East End Market
3201 Corrine Drive, local-roots.squarespace.com
Audubon Park’s newest it spot is East End Market, where you can shop for locally sourced foods, dine on lovely things at Txokos Basque Kitchen or pick up good reads at Bookmark It. But one of our favorite things to do at the market is (of course) to meet with friends there for a drink. Local Roots operates a craft beer and wine bar at the market, and though the bar is a lovely place to sip your drink, we really think you should take your pint out to the gardens outside, where you can sit at a picnic table and take in the scene, or wander into the courtyard to listen to check out the plants. It’s already been our spring hang – now it’s going to be our new summer hang, too.
Drink this: Swamp Head Big Nose IPA. – ES
The Courtesy Bar
114 N. Orange Ave., thecourtesybar.com
With just a few tables out front, the Courtesy might not seem like a natural inclusion in this roundup of summer drinkers, and it’s true, the interior is more beautiful than the railed-off patio right on Orange Avenue. But at the top of the evening, when you’re ensconced in one of the super-comfy tractor-seat stools and watching the passing parade of party girls and boys traipsing by, there’s no better place to hang out. Especially when you’ve got one of the Courtesy’s special summer cocktails in hand: Try the Pedro Piper, a chili- and lime-spiked tequila concotion, for a spicy start to the night.
Drink this: Pedro Piper – JBY
Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 Winter Park Road, stardustie.com
Stardust Video & Coffee, with its Northwestern inclinations and overcast disposition, would not appear out of place on a small city street in the heart of Portland. It’s this escapist element that makes Stardust a long-time favorite of tired Orlando natives and creative types alike. That said, the patio (or, should we say, sidewalk seating area) is decidedly Floridian – vines climb the walls and ceiling erratically, limp hanging flowers mirror our lethargy as we succumb to the summer, and various creeping shrubs and potted trees shield patio dwellers from the harsh Floridian rays. There’s a sort of lawless tranquility to it – a unique quality that grants visitors a liberating reprieve from the structure of everyday responsibilities and burdens. Soak up the ambience or write a few pages of that novella you’ve been putting off while enjoying a classic iced coffee (or a cocktail or craft beer – they have plenty of those, too).
Drink this: Cinnamon-apple Italian soda.
– Lauren Ball
The Parliament House
410 N Orange Blossom Trail, parliamenthouse.com
OK, so the Parliament House has basically been the big gay queen of the outdoor drinking scene for decades, with multiple points of entry lining its motor-lodge concourse and swimming pool. In olden times, the Sunday T-Dance would attract all of the green-skinned Saturday survivors for hairs of the dog and, well, general carnival-like sticky felicitations. There’s still some of that, but things have calmed down a bit as the bears and the twinks and the people who like to look at them have advanced in age (and with the advent of Growlr and Grindr and all the misspelled gay hookup phone apps). Still, there’s little to compare to the weekend-night outdoor drinks by the pool when your disco card gets too full, especially if, like, Bananarama or Debbie Gibson or Tiffany are performing on the outdoor stage.
Drink this: There’s a lot of Bud Light going around, but we’ll stick to a Skyy and cranberry, double tall. – BM
124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, prato-wp.com
The inside of Park Avenue’s Prato is lovely, all rustic-chic and cozy, but in the summertime – especially in the evenings – the outdoor seating is where it’s at. The big glass doors open to the sidewalk, and the little tables cozy up to one another in a very European café sort of way. Bring a friend (or a date – this is definitely that kind of place), people watch and sample out-of-this world craft cocktails.
Drink this: Cetriolo. Cucumber vodka, agave nectar, lime and basil. Refreshing and perfect for summer. – ES
Have a favorite outdoor patio perfect for summer drinking? Tell us about it in the comments.