Orlando's Best Cocktail Lounges

No longer just a mouse town, Orlando has seen a renaissance in recent years with world-class sports facilities, museums, shops and dining venues sprouting up around town. Of course, no world-class city is complete without world-class cocktail lounges, too. With one of the busiest convention centers in the country, Orlando offers business travelers plenty of cocktail lounges to choose from, within easy reach, to boot. Here are 5 cocktail lounges, serving up everything from classic hand-shaken martinis to over-the-top libations, to check out in Orlando’s Convention Center district.

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David's Club

David's Club
Hilton Orlando
David’s Club at the Hilton Orlando is directly connected to the Convention Center, so trade show attendees can beeline it across the skywalk connector and go from the day’s final appointment to sipping on some of Orlando’s most creative cocktails in a matter of mere minutes.

Restaurant chef Kevin Spencer and the Hilton’s director of food and beverage Jonathan Raz have joined forces to create a slew of first-of-their kind, scratch-made cocktails. Most notably is their potent Bottom of the Cereal Bowl, which features a trio of Bacardi rums, blackberry brandy, “sous vide” raspberry simple syrup and half-and-half, all shaken over ice and served with a garnished rim of powdered Fruit Loops.

Other house favorites include the Bacon Reserve cocktail, which showcases the perfect marriage of bacon and whiskey. The decadent cocktail meshes Woodford Reserve bourbon that has been sous vide (“cooked under vacuum”) for 1 hour with brown sugar and orange zest. The hand-shaken beverage is served over a Macallan ice sphere and topped with chocolate-covered bacon.

Spencer's for Steak and Chops

Spencer's for Steaks and Chops
Hilton Orlando
Sharing the lobby floor with David’s in the Hilton Orlando is one of Florida’s most highly rated restaurants, Spencer’s for Steaks and Chops. Its bar is the go-to-spot for martini lovers.

In between feasting on prime beef in a modern steakhouse setting, sample Spencer’s slew of scratch-made cocktails, from the classic Manhattan to the more contemporary Farm Flip martini (Bombay Sapphire gin, fresh lemon juice, sous vide raspberry simple syrup and an egg white).

Sip, kick back and enjoy as lounge goers are serenaded by a live jazz pianist, on Friday and Saturday nights.

Rocks Bar

Rocks Bar
Peabody Orlando
Classic ambience greets patrons in this lounge bar, which is housed inside the $450 million renovated Peabody Hotel. Overlooking I-Drive, Rocks has mastered the art of infusing fresh, exotic ingredients with rare, small-batch liquor to create cocktails that are part libation, part art.

Case in point: the Rocks Burning Cocktail. The signature house cocktail utilizes the sweetness of sugar to mellow out the fire of Serrano peppers, while extracting the acidity of the Florida citrus, to create a drink with an easy-to-recognize kick that is soothed by the final ingredient -- lots of vodka!

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre
Cuba Libre
Named after one of the most popular mixed drinks to ever cross the Caribbean, Cuba Libre exudes Latino flair. The bar scene is at its best on Saturday nights when the main room erupts in live music, Salsa dancers and a DJ playing popular salsa, bachata and merengue tunes. In addition to concocting the perfect cuba libre (rum and coke), the restaurant’s menu features 11 different types of mojitos such as the grilled pineapple mojito and watermelon mojito.

Rum connoisseurs will rejoice in the lounge’s extensive rum list, which features spiced rum made from a blend of aged rums and hand-picked spices. For patrons looking to keep the night alive, Cuba Libre also features the swanky upstairs lounge Gloss, with dancers and a live DJ spinning top-40 hits.

Funky Monkey Wine Company

Funky Monkey
Steve Ebanks
Since opening in January 2008, Funky Monkey Wine Company has become a popular spot for cocktail aficionados and novices alike. The wine list ranges from the most complex zinfandels to easy-to-drink chardonnays. The knowledgeable and friendly sommeliers can recommend an interesting rose wine for the steamy Florida climate, and are happy to talk shop with wine experts or give a wine introduction to newbies.

In addition to its impressive cellar choices, Funky Monkey offers some of the best bar bites in town, including decadent cheese plates and fresh sushi.

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