Our favorite Orlando beer joints

These bars may not have the craft cachet but provide the perfect backdrop for just drinking a beer

Yes, we know: Redlight Redlight has a stellar craft-beer selection and a totally gorgeous new space in Audubon Park. Cask and Larder and Shipyard Pub both brew their own awesome, award-winning small-batch suds. Oblivion Tap Room is to craft beer what the Vegan Death Metal Chef is to vegan cuisine. But here's the thing: Sometimes, we don't want to think about whether it's 60-minute or 90-minute or whether we'll detect the fruity notes in our hoppy beverage. We just want a beer, and we want it to be cold, reasonably priced and served in a pleasant environment. We'll be covering plenty of craft-beer bars in this issue, but we wanted to take a moment to point out some of our favorite non-craft beer bars, too. Below are some of our favorite places to just drink beer. They may not have craft-beer cachet, but that's OK by us. Cheers.

Tom and Jerry's
1117 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-6519, tomandjerrys.info
Across from the giant Holler dealership in what's currently a massive construction zone is the unassuming, easygoing Tom and Jerry's, perhaps the most casual bar you'll find in Winter Park. On draft are the usual suspects – Bud, Miller, Yuengling, Stella – and when you order one during happy hour (which lasts five hours), the bartender sloshes it in front of you, gloriously frothing over your pint glass for a cool $1.50. Don't mind the mess, because the no-fuss attitude of T&J's is what notoriously draws local media personalities on the regular to let loose and get a little sloppy. While the couches, booths and bar stools are inviting, it's the porch area, where you can play darts and pool, that provides the most enticingly low-key aspect of the bar, especially just before sunset. – Ashley Belanger

The Lazy Gator Bar at Black Hammock
2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Road, Oviedo, 407-365-1244, theblackhammock.com
The lakeside environs of Black Hammock scream "Old Florida" loud and clear: With its moss-covered cypress trees, airboat tours and alligator exhibits, this bar is all about being at one with nature while having a good time. It's one of those laid-back (and hard-to-find, because it's in the middle-of-nowhere Oviedo) places with a "come as you are" vibe. You won't find many fancy kinds of beer here – more the likes of Bud, Miller and Michelob (go for the 20-ounce option). But it's the down-home attitude that makes the beer drinking at Black Hammock so enjoyable: Live blues and Southern rock bands play on weekends, pool tables and dart boards are available inside the bar, and it's got prime outdoor lakefront seating with spectacular sunset views over Lake Jesup – not to mention you're pretty much guaranteed an alligator sighting. Enjoy a cold one, but watch your fingers and toes! – Aimee Vitek

The Celt Irish Pub
25 S. Magnolia Ave., 407-481-2928, harpandcelt.com
You like wood? Like lots of it? How about some awesome beer? Well, the Celt bids you "céad míle fáilte" and it's the closest downtown Orlando gets to a genuine Irish pub experience. Pound a plate of Irish nachos, slide over a few pints of Guinness, and you won't want to be anywhere else for the rest of the evening – probably because your legs will stop working at some point. This traditional Celtic haven feels like home from the moment you walk through the door 'til you part ways and stumble on home. – Adam McCabe

Wekiva Island
1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, 407-862-1500, wekivaisland.com
Remember when you were a kid and you'd go on vacation with your family? Remember how, inevitably, the dads would always gravitate in the evening toward the dock to casually cast their lines in the water and drink beer? Wekiva Island reminds us of those lazy evenings. Sit at the bar, situated at this old marina-meets-fish-camp-meets-Jimmy-Buffett-style hangout on the Wekiva River, or get your beer in a plastic cup, sit on the deck and let the water mesmerize you while you soak up some sun and sip some suds. It can get a little crazy on the weekends, but when it's not slammin', it's relaxing, therapeutic and downright Floridian. – Erin Sullivan

The Caboose
1827 N. Orange Ave., 407-898-7733, facebook.com/thecaboosebar
The reason people love dive bars isn't (just) because they're cheap. (We should state here that "dive bar," is, for us, a term of extreme affection.) No, the thing about a dive bar is that there's no barrier to entry, so there's no telling who you might meet. You go to a place with bottle service, you know exactly who you're going to meet. The Caboose, smack in the middle of Ivanhoe Village, is definitely the cheapest bar in its immediate neighborhood, and its eclectic clientele reflects that – specials like nickel beers or one-price all-you-can-drink happy hours draw in the fixed-gear-bike crowd, who mesh perfectly with the Nascar-watchers with eyes glued to the TV screens, who have no problem with the cheap-sangria-drinking girls or the neighborhood shopkeeps shooting a quick game of pool. Did we mention that the beers on tap are cold, American and cheap? Just the way we like it. – Jessica Bryce Young

Burton's Bar
801 E. Washington St., 407-425-3720
But for the scare that it was going to close back in 2007 – potentially shutting the door on one of downtown Orlando's longest-lived liver-hardening establishments – Burton's has continued to be Thornton Park's only daytime-drinking bar with nighttime hair-of-the-dog tendencies. However, there has been a palpable evolution from the old Budweiser-at-3-p.m. crowd in recent years, as the ironic act of slumming it in the middle of a tony brick-paved neighborhood has gained steam. These days (and mostly nights, really) you'll find a sort of frat-boy/sports-bar crowd mingling with some pretty girls and some rough boys around the pool tables and large-screen televisions, all with cheap beers in hand. It's clearly no-frills and faintly divey, but then it always has been. And that's a relief. – Billy Manes

Sportstown Billiards
2414 E. Robinson St., 407-894-6528, facebook.com/sptstown
Whether you're playing the game or playing spectator, when it comes to leisure activities, like pingpong or pool, it only seems right to play with a beer in hand. Sportstown Billiards, a dark watering hole tucked along the funky commercial strip known as the Milk District, certainly keeps the competitive crowd occupied – and beer is the name of the game here (there's beer and wine, but no liquor). Not only do they have an extensive list of craft beers on the menu and ridiculously cheap beer specials (like $1.50 PBRs on Tin Tuesdays), this place also houses a horde of pool tables, corn-hole areas, arcade games, skee-ball and every board game in between. You could totally hole up for the entire night with a few brews at a place like Sportstown, where fellow bar patrons are more worried about who's got the next shot than the name on the label of your beer bottle. – AV

The Hideaway Bar
516 Virginia Drive, 407-898-5892,thehideawaybar.net
Dog-friendly patio? Check. Fried fish sandwiches? Check. Full liquor, should you feel the need for a shot to go with that PBR? Check and check. The Hideaway on Virginia Drive is the quintessential casual sports bar – it's not Miller's Ale House-intense, but there is a rabid Miami Dolphins allegiance that you won't miss. The Hideaway is also that rare sports bar where artists, hairdressers and theater folk feel right at home – located walking distance from Lure Design, Halo Salon-Spa and the new home of the Varietease troupe, the Venue, the Hideaway is just as comfortable with its Andrew Spear murals and occasional hipster Worst Music parties as it is with shouty sports fans on a Sunday afternoon. – JBY

Johnny's Fillin' Station
2631 S. Ferncreek Ave., 407-894-6900, johnnysfillinstation.com
South Orlando's mecca of burgers and beer is just about as representative of what Orlando really is as anything out there – and not so much the dolled-up aspirations of what it wants to be. On any given evening, you'll find the bar regulars and regular bartenders (all know each other's names, of course) propped up against the bar. Beer selections run the whole gamut in price and quality here. In the dress-down restaurant area surrounding, folks from all walks of life – polite families to raucous bartenders to gossiping co-workers – gnaw at beef patties and are routinely drowned out by the digital jukebox and endless sports on overhead televisions. More than likely, your server will be a pretty woman with some sass, because that's a model that seems to work. Makes the beer taste better! – BM

Wing Shack
4650 E. Michigan St., 407-381-4798, wingshack.com
Wings and beer. They go together like … well, wings and beer. And when you want wings and beer, you generally want a few more things to make the experience what it should be: cold lager, an affable and lively crowd and a bar that's homey enough that you can enjoy both with relish (not self-consciousness). Wing Shack is, pretty much, the quintessential non-chain sports bar/wing joint, and when we're in the mood for two things – wings and beer – it's our go-to. – ES

Graffiti Junktion
900 E. Washington St., 407-426-9503, graffitijunktion.com
There's something magical about Graffiti Junktion in Thornton Park. Where else can you find such an explosively diverse combo of culture? Need a bro-tastic bro-fest bar for sports-viewing? Done. Hipster hangout for the artsy-fartsy types? Sure! Feeling fabulous? BAM, it's a gay bar. The beer is cheap, the food is great, and you may even meet a few new pals along the way. Graffiti Junktion also harbors some of the nicest bar staff in town. If you're in the area, it's a local luxury that you can't afford to miss. Eat, drink and black out around good friends! – AM

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp
8199 State Road 520, Cocoa, 321-632-4199, twisterairboatrides.com/cabbage.htm
Lone Cabbage is much closer than it seems – just head east on Colonial Drive, and you'll quickly learn why this spot is so favored among those who stumble upon it. The bar is set up almost like a picnic area in a state park, and the primary clientele includes bikers and families headed out for airboat rides. If you avoid the lure of the dock and sit instead at a wooden table along the pier, you get a tranquil view of the tall reeds lining the St. Johns River with the sun on your back and a freshwater breeze. Attentive, friendly staff in T-shirts and jeans notice when your beer gets low, treating every straggler who wanders in with an unabashed and automatic familiarity. Careful, though, it's easy for beers to add up in that way they tend to do at family BBQs. – AB