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Orlando’s neighborhood hangs, comfy dives and places to kick back

Bars and lounges where you can kick back while you throw one back

Photo: Independent Bar, License: N/A

Independent Bar

64 N. Orange Ave., 407-648-5441

Located at the start of downtown’s heart, BBQ’s porch provides great people watching, and while the quarters are tight inside, if you can land a booth, you’re in for the sort of warm, inebriated night typically reserved for backyard hangouts.

Big Daddy’s
3001 Corrine Dr., 407-644-2844

It’s either your dream or your nightmare: a karaoke night with an attentive audience who will hang on your every squeaky note as you cough out your rendition of “I Touch Myself.” But that’s what you get at Big Daddy’s, which recently serves stiffer drinks with a new liquor license.

Burton’s Bar and Grill
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.

Claddagh Cottage
4308 Curry Ford Road, 407-895-1555

Laid-back neighborhood pub run by Jimmy and Kathy Mulvaney, who keep the ale flowing, fortified by traditional Irish stick-to-your-ribs fare like a variety of pastry pies filled with savory, meaty gravy inside buttery crusts. The Guinness will be properly double-poured at this authentic and casual spot soaked in Irish charm.

39 N. Orange Ave., 407-648-0100, finnhenrys.com

A little more neighborly appreciation of sports can be found downtown at Finnhenry’s, where a halo of TVs displaying an array of sporting events rings the central bar. The pub is a throwback to old public houses of yore, sporting cozy high-top tables and tons of bar seating.

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. 

The Hideaway Bar
516 Virginia Drive, 407-898-5892, thehideawaybar.net

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