Handcrafted cocktails and cool ambiance always make for a hot time. Join Instagram influencer and guest blogger Christina Petsos as she bellies up to some of Orlando’s most popular themed bars (The BANDBOX pictured).
Orlando is the sort of destination where anything can come true if you can imagine it — and that extends to extravagant themed bars designed to entertain visitors and locals alike. I absolutely love a fun themed bar, so I have rounded up a list of some of my favorites that are worth checking out all over town. Bottoms up!
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Featuring over 70 tons of hand-carved ice, ICEBAR Orlando on International Drive is easily the coolest bar in town — literally. They offer packages based on your preferred experience to include drinks inside the ICEBAR and/or FIRE Lounge, plus food.
Discover: International Drive
You are provided with a coat and gloves to enter this winter wonderland, but bring a hat if you require more coverage. Once inside, you will find the whole entire bar is made of ice — including the furniture. The drinks are served in ice cups, and you can even take a “Shotski” with your friends. The shot glass is mounted on a ski and you take it like that, which is so fun.
If the cold gets to be too much, warm up in their FIRE Lounge. It offers a large selection of signature cocktails with dry ice, fire and smoke bubbles. I got the Tropical Whipped Bikini and my friend got the Mango Dream, both great. For food, we ordered the Truffle Fries and the Chimichurri Steak Flatbread. I was addicted to the fries and would get five orders of them if I could. This is definitely a bar you need to experience at least once in your life!
The past year saw an increase in the popularity of mocktails, and The BANDBOX in Ivanhoe Village Main Street near downtown was here for it. They opened in early 2022 as a non-alcoholic bar with a Prohibition era speakeasy theme.
Discover: Ivanhoe Village Main Street
The BANDBOX offers non-alcoholic cocktails, beer and wine, as well as a lovely food menu. It is a small, intimate space that allows seating for only four people, usually in groups of two. (Accordingly, reservations are a must.) There is a theater in the back that shows movies in black and white, along with a photobooth. The BANDBOX also sells various mixology books and bottles you can take home with you.
If you still want to check it out but cannot get a reservation, you can come in to look around and grab a drink to go. This is a beautiful bar and perfect for date night.
Aloha Beautiful Tropical Karaoke Bar
Who doesn’t love a karaoke bar!? I know I do, and that’s exactly what Aloha Beautiful Tropical Karaoke Bar is in downtown Orlando. You will hear all kinds of songs and singers here from good to, well… intoxicated.
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The drinks are tiki themed and strong. They have one with fire that is taken as a shot, but you will have to ask about it as it is not listed on the menu. Other drinks that I like from this bar are the Kiwi Mojito and the Surf Puppies.
The Hawaiian theme is very well done with a beach hut for a bar and wooden swings in front of the stage. They also have professional hula dancers who perform throughout the night. The Hawaiian culture has always fascinated me, so I thoroughly enjoyed these touches. So, pull up a chair, have a few drinks, and sing a few songs. If you want to participate in karaoke on the weekends, make sure you put your name in fairly early, as it does get very busy.
Cocktails & Screams / The Craft
All Halloween, all the time. Cocktails & Screams is open all year long and reminds us we don’t have to wait till October to celebrate Halloween. With fun craft cocktails and talented performers, this downtown Orlando nightspot has been one of my most frequented bars for years.
Discover: Halloween in Orlando
The venue features a horror movie atmosphere with favorites like The Addams Family, Elvira, The Haunted Mansion and more. (Quite frequently you can find Michael Myers roaming around here or sneaking up on you!) They have themed drinks with dry ice, fire and sparkles. They even offer a giant jack-o’-lantern drink that is perfect for sharing. Cocktails & Screams also serves food, including brunch on Sundays. And during October, they have a special Halloween event every night.
What’s more, the back of Cocktails & Screams is home to a speakeasy witch bar, The Craft, which I think is one of the coolest drink experiences in Orlando. It has a voodoo feel and is decorated beautifully. Back in the day you used to have to solve a riddle to be able to go in here, but it has since gotten so popular you now just need to make a reservation. An expert mixologist will help you decide what drink you will get based on your preferred flavor profile or a theme of your choice. During my most recent visit, I told the mixologist I wanted a Hocus Pocus-themed drink and was presented with a lovely cocktail sporting gin and flowers, perfect for me.
Discover: Orlando Speakeasies
From the owners of other successful Orlando nightspots comes this ‘80s- and ‘90s-themed bar that is one of the newest must-visits in Orlando. 1UP opened a few months ago in downtown’s Church Street District and is already taking the city by storm with a life-size Barbie Dreamhouse, creative drinks and unlimited free arcade games. Yes, free games!
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Located inside this nostalgic wonderland is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza bus that sells pies for just $5. You’ll find some of your favorite throwback games here like PAC-MAN, Galaga and more.
The drinks range from bright and sparkly like the Malibu Barbie, to cocktails with a dry ice infusion like the Flux Capacitor, to fiery concoctions like the Flamin’ Moe. This bar will definitely take you back in time to your younger days.
One of the newest reasons to visit College Park Main Street near downtown is Honolulu Harry’s, which is a Hawaiian-inspired restaurant and tiki bar. I highly recommend checking them out.
Discover: College Park Main Street
They serve all their drinks in a variety of tiki mugs, with the pirate being my favorite. The best drink I tried was the Key Lime Pie — they even put graham cracker crust on the rim.
I was also blown away by the food here. There is a large selection of small plates and a few options for entrees. The Butter Board is definitely worth ordering. I also really enjoyed the Fish Dip and Spam Fries, which you cannot find just anywhere.
Previously a courthouse with a Subway is this beautiful hotel themed bar on the first floor of the historic Angelbilt Hotel in downtown Orlando. Bellhop is also open during the day as a coffeeshop.
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Bellhop is a visually stunning bar that I truly was in awe of — classy and swanky with a vintage feel. The details are very well thought out and colorful.
I enjoyed Mia’s Chronicles, which is a gin drink with Ancho Reyes Verde, giving it a pleasant kick. My friend tried Making My Way Downtown, which is a sweet tequila drink. Both cocktails were super tasty and beautiful.
I love exploring all the themed bars Orlando has to offer and there certainly are plenty more. Some honorable mentions are Trader Sam’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs®, and Hanson’s Shoe Repair and Ann Teague’s Lamp Supply in downtown Orlando. All of these venues are fantastic and worthy of adding to your Orlando must-do list.
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