Orlando is a city of neighborhoods; each with their own distinct character and appeal. To truly enjoy Orlando, venture off International Drive and explore the diversity of Orlando through its neighborhoods.
The Milk District
Centered around the landmark T.G. Lee Dairy, site of one of the largest milk producers in the state, this hip, bohemian stomping ground features a variety of popular bars, casual eateries, boutique shops and live music venues.
Sportstown Billards –Established in 1958 in Orlando’s Milk District, Sportstown Billiards was responsible for launching Central Florida’s craft-beer craze in the late 2000s. Serving over 250 craft beers, a full menu of bar fare and an expansive array of arcade and board games, Sportstown is more than a pool hall. Tables can be rented by the hour, and there’s also ping pong, air hockey, basketball shootout, darts and foosball. http://sportstownbilliards.com/
Beefy King — Serving the BEST Roast Beef sandwich for over 40 years! Offering a variety of mouthwatering Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey, Pastrami, Corned Beef, Bar BQ Beef and Bar BQ Pork all served hot, fresh and made to order! http://beefyking.com/
Tasty Tuesdays– A solid rotation of 12 trucks convene for Tasty Tuesday, with over 30 food trucks each month. While trucks serve food at the weekly meet up, The Milk Bar, Spacebar, Sandwich Bar, and Etoile Boutique all open their doors to guests at the event. Trucks convene rain or shine, so bring an umbrella if the weather is bad or enjoy the indoor seating. Visitors are encouraged to grab plates from multiple trucks and give everything a try. Share amongst friends and family to get a taste of all the different culinary options offered. Tasty Tuesdays are located in the Milk District. Trucks are parked in the back lots of 2424-2432 E. Robinson Street between Bumby & Primrose.
Milk Bar– Great little beer bar in the Milk District. They have a couple video game consoles that are available to play for free and are a nice distraction if you’re waiting for someone to arrive. Bar tenders aren’t snobs, but knowledgeable and friendly.
Bull & Bush—oldest authentic pub in Orlando. Cold beer and warm atmosphere, best darts in town. http://www.bullandbushorlando.com/
Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar– Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar was conceived as a college-town coffeehouse. The coffee is top shelf only, fair trade and organic or rain forest alliance. Coffee is roasted in house. All of our gourmet soups are drummed up fresh in our kitchen. Lots of veggie and vegan choices as well as non-veggie foods. Serving breakfast and lunch foods all day including great quiches, grilled wraps and panini that will keep you coming back for more. Try the ANZAC COOKIES. http://drunkenmonkeycoffee.com/
Once considered a winter resort. Today, it is the Home of Rollins College and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Natural Art. Winter Park also is a nature lover’s destination. Here you will find more than 70 parks. So, sit in the shade and enjoy a beautiful Central Florida afternoon.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum– Set on the Rollins College campus overlooking beautiful Lake Virginia, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum offers an intimate and unique experience in Winter Park. Among the more than 5,000 works ranging from antiquity to contemporary, we hold the only European Old Masters collection in the Orlando area, a sizable American art collection, and the forward-looking Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, shown both at the museum and at The Alfond Inn, a few blocks from campus. http://www.rollins.edu/cornell-fine-arts-museum
The Geek Easy —Connected to Orlando’s premier comic book store located by Full Sail University off S.R. 436, The Geek Easy is a bar, lounge and venue catering to the geek in everyone. Like a sports bar for nerds (without sports), this meeting-place and watering hole grew from a humble hang-out into ground zero for nerdy nightlife. Home to weekly karaoke and trivia nights, the bar has a full calendar of events and menu of specialty drinks, beer, sake, burgers, sandwiches and sweets. http://mygeekeasy.com/
Morse Museum– The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, decorative art. http://morsemuseum.org/
Cask & Larder—best plate is the Nashville Hot chicken—southern fried chicken sided with cornbread, mac & cheese. Order at breakfast to have it served on top of a waffle. www.caskandlarder.com
The Coop– Serving up hospitality at every table, Chef/Owner John Rivers offers comfort food classics made from scratch daily. Passed-down recipes and seasonal ingredients come together in the form of iconic dishes from Southern Fried Chicken, Low Country Shrimp & Grits to Mississippi Mud and Lemon Icebox pies. Try the Southern Poutine. www.asouthernaffair.com
The Ravenous Pig– Chef owners James and Julie Petrakis have garnered national acclaim for culinary creations inspired by the best seasonal foods that Florida has to offer. As one of Florida’s first restaurants to champion local farmers, fishermen and artisanal purveyors, the Pig’s menu features such year-round favorites as Canaveral Shrimp ‘n Grits, Pork Porterhouse, Gruyere Biscuits, Steak Frites and its decadent Pig Tails with Chocolate Espresso Sauce dessert. Fresh Florida seafood—flounder, cobia, grouper, clams and shrimp—takes its place in the spotlight according to the season, as do veggies, greens and eggs supplied by a select group of small farmers. Pastas and charcuterie are handmade daily. Specialty desserts like Plant City Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp and Zellwood Corn Crepes with Florida Blueberry Compote provide fitting ends to perfect meals. www.theravenouspig.com
Jerimiah’s Ice—40 varieties of Italian ice, gelati and soft serve ice cream. http://jeremiahsice.com/
Park Social, Retro Cocktail Den– While patrons will need a password to get in (available by calling 407-636-7020), there’s no Prohibition-style fluff inside. Instead, it’s a full-on ’70s swinger pad, complete with kitschy-cool lamps and your grandmother’s furniture. Fondue, sushi, lamb kabobs and more can be found on the tapas menu, and the full bar offers a deep selection of single-malt whiskeys and throwback favorites like Harvey Wallbangers on tap. http://parksocialwinterpark.com/
Vandy Pacetti-Donelson is a Library Media Specialist. She is a Florida Native, library advocate and Board Director for the Florida Association for Media in Education (FAME). Find her online at www.eliterateandlevelingup.com or follow her on Twitter @VandyPD.